It’s that time of year where we are not only inundated with ads about how to achieve a bikini body, but also how many women seem to ‘find the courage’ to wear a bikini.
When a woman who does not have a supermodel figure wears a bikini, she is considered ‘brave’. Should you wear a bikini? Is it brave?
Wearing a bikini is not brave.
Fighting cancer, going to war, giving birth, breaking up a good ol’fashioned street fight in a hick town. Those are acts of bravery. Wearing a bikini to the beach? Not so much.
I totally respect the fact that wearing a bikini in public for many women may feel like it has the same psychological implications as the aforementioned acts of real bravery. I understand that your fear of judgments from other people can send you into a mental tailspin.
The reality is that you are going to be around complete strangers that you will never see again, who could care less about you (that guy that walked by you and glanced at you for 0.005 seconds is not going to remember you 10 seconds from now). Or perhaps you are around friends and family who you fear may judge you – in that case, shame on them.
But, the real problem is in our use of language.
The problem with using the terms ‘brave’ or ‘courageous’ to describe your beach experience is that it feeds this idea that only women of a certain size should be wearing a bikini.
That if you don’t fit that mould and you decide to wear a bikini, you are achieving something worthy of a medal of honour. The more that we fertilize this idea, the more that we promote there is something wrong with us in the first place.
A bikini is a piece of clothing. You put it on. You go to the beach. If you end up saving a beached whale George Costanza-style, then you can call yourself brave.
I respect that women break through major mental barriers to wear their bikini. I am so proud when my clients tell me that they wore a bikini for the first time in years. But, I don’t think they are brave. I think they are finally in a place where they don’t require other people’s approval to be themselves and that is awesome. I commend them for the work they put in to letting go of harsh self-judgments.
At the end of the day, wear the bikini because you can and because you have limited time on this earth to feel the sun on your skin. And because the weather said so.
Let’s stop giving women badges of honour for wearing a bikini. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if it was just normal and not some newsworthy event?
What do you think? I’d love to know your thoughts – sound off in the comments below!