By Izzy Silver, MEDIAGIRLS Editorial Volunteer
As the summer rolls around, some of us settle into the comforts of the sunny season at home, while others of us venture out to unknown, unfamiliar places. The trees, flowers, and plants are in full bloom; Mother nature has practically sent us a personalized invitation to come outside and enjoy the fresh air. Outdoors or indoors (for those who prefer their air-conditioning), summer should be a time to relax a little. For me, it means throwing on my favorite summer jeans and perching myself on a big wooden bench in my backyard, where I happen to be writing this right now.
More often than not, however, we girls and women are told to equate the summer with more heat and less clothes, a time where we should flaunt our bodies that we have supposedly been working to shape and refine during the colder months. Hence magazines and web tips inundating us with the “Find your best beach body” during the winter, and then the “Bikinis that will flaunt your beach body” in the summer. Ads, billboards, TV shows, you name it: They tell us that this season is a time to focus on the external. Look at my body! Yay look at how much fun I’m having with my toned abs!
If we buy into this belief, that summer is all about “beach bodies,” then we deny ourselves a much-need break from school-year stress. The summer months will slip away without giving ourselves a well deserved chance to even check in with ourselves. The messaging certainly doesn’t allow for the reality that maybe some summer days we will feel down, or stressed, or lonely or angry. Or just maybe we don’t want to show off our bodies.
By all means, put on a bikini if you like (we’ve got nothing against wearing what makes you feel good!). But many girls will agree with me that this is not because we are super excited to put our bodies on a huge display to be judged by others. It is no surprise that many of us may feel that our bodies don’t match up to what magazines want it to look like. It can be hard to fully let it sink in that not only is it okay that we don’t have the beach body that media wants from us; it is good.
Every one of us has a different body, and instead of focusing on dumb expectations, we can notice how incredible it is that we all have our own shapes and sizes. (And how amazing our sun-kissed skin feels). With different shapes comes a variety of ways we like to make ourselves feel beautiful. Whether you’re wearing a bikini, sweatpants, a tee shirt, or a sundress, remind yourself that it’s your way, and own it!
Instead of letting media define this season as one where we parade around in skimpy outfits, let’s take all agree to take summer back. Let’s grab more moments to let ourselves just ride the waves of summer, and allow ourselves to sit and enjoy the sunshine. There shouldn’t be any guilt about waking up a little bit later when possible, or just taking a few hours to read a good book.
This can be the summer that we all challenge ourselves to filter through the people who pressure us to attend crazy summer parties, or make the heat an excuse to wear the sexy clothing that the media so loves to sell us on. Instead, let’s use this summer to take some well needed free time to do what we want to do, and get in touch with just how we want to do it.