Bikinis and Body Image

 

Tomorrow, I'm taking part in a bikini photo shoot! 

This from the woman who didn't even own a bikini until last year! 🤣

I’ve become involved with a project run by two friends which aims to promote images of women of all shapes and sizes in swimwear, as opposed to women conforming to societal ideals. Obviously, this is something I whole heartedly support, because I am a Body Positive person. Hell, my business is called My Body Positive, so of course I’m ok with it.

Except I’m not. Not exactly anyway…..

We’ve been going to these regular meetings where we chat about what brings us to the project. For me, It’s very much about me wanting to help women get over any issues they have around their bodies. Because I’ve done a lot of work on this myself. Sometimes, I find it really hard when women talk about how bad they feel about their bodies, when it’s such a waste of headspace, and when I know I can help!

As an aside, we feel bad because we absorb all the cultural message we see about how a body ‘should’ look. When we change our mindset around all of this and understand what is behind our body dissatisfaction, we can choose to think differently. We can filter out the messages that made us feel bad and concentrate on treating our bodies well because we care and respect ourselves.

 Image credit Body Image Movement 

Image credit Body Image Movement 

So, why am I not ok with the photo-shoot on Saturday?

  • I am secure in my body.
  • I wear a swimsuit with no concerns.
  • I no longer hold the towel around my body until I am right next to the pool!!
  • I walk around naked (at home!).

I want to ‘walk my talk’ and take part, because I know it’s important. In fact, friends of mine in the Body Positivity world do this quite regularly, so I feel like I need to as well! I am a Global Ambassador for Body Image Movement after all…..so feel like I have a responsibility to address these issues. And to address my issues when they pop up from time to time. Because they still do…

In the last few days, people have been posting images of themselves in their swimwear on the Facebook group.

Which I’m totally cool with (and admire).

But, I’ve not done that myself and I don’t plan to either.

Yesterday there was a question on our bikini shoot planning group asking what size swim suit people would need. My size isn’t available, because there are no bikinis in over a ‘large’ (12-14) at the moment.

'Large'…… is a size 12-14, when the average size of a UK woman is a size 16.

Think about THAT!!

I’m an 18 or a 20 depending on various factors (shop, fit, style).

I’m not having a pop at my friend and her business. I know the sizing range available will change, as the business develops because she is committed to making her swimwear available to women of all shapes and sizes. But, this reflects a wider issue for SO MANY women. Just the other night, one of my clients was posting about feeling bad about her sizing in clothing and how it’s hard to get clothes in her size. And she’s not ‘plus’ size either.

For me personally, there is an issue underlying all of this and I’m going to tell you what it is.

I’m feeling vulnerable.

What I’m scared of isn’t the bikini bit, or even the photos. It’s the fact that the other ladies are all smaller than me. A lot smaller. I am in the minority with my size. And people aren’t used to seeing people of my size in images without many clothes on. So I don’t know what that is going to feel like. And the photos are going to be there for posterity.

Don’t get me wrong- I KNOW, that Body Image issues affect nearly all the women I come into contact with every day. It doesn’t matter what the woman looks like, she will be worrying about something and feeling bad because of it. Once I understood that it, really helped me turn my self-critical, inner voice down…. But, even if I’m ok with my body (AND I AM) society is not.

Society teaches us to think that larger people are not healthy, that they ‘need to lose weight’ that they eat too much and exercise too little. It’s not true, of course, but that’s what they think. I’m wary of that judgement, not from the women in the shoot, but from the rest of the world.

Mind you, if we never see images of larger people, then we will NEVER have an acceptable body in society’s eyes, and we will continue to feel marginalised, frowned upon and stigmatised. So, I’m doing it anyway….. because ALL BODIES ARE GOOD BODIES, especially mine (and yours)💕!! xx 


I am a Mindful Eating and Body Image coach and offer Bristol based workshops and 1-2-1 coaching in person in Bristol (and anywhere else, via Skype/Zoom) 

Let me know if you would like to join my next group of workshops that start on 17th May....or if you'd like some 121 coaching.