Body positivity is not one-size-fits-all

Asia Thomas, Staff Columnist

Leah Baron

It’s 80 degrees in March, and schools around the country are beginning spring break season. Daily beach photos flood Instagram feeds, and it can be difficult to fight the urge to compare oneself to every picture, story or reel available at the swipe of a finger. 

When living in New Orleans, winter clothing becomes more and more unwearable day by day. Whether you’re tanning on the Berger Family Lawn or simply walking to class, you’re likely having to show a lot more skin than you did a month ago. With bikinis, shorts and tank tops constantly in the surroundings, maintaining a positive self-image can be difficult for anyone. 

The comparison stemming from both social media and peers can be the biggest threat to self-image, especially during the summer. It is so easy to fall into the trap of looking at other people and then turning around to compare them to yourself. If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. 

Having let my own struggles with self-image cloud previous summers, my biggest advice is to not allow one day’s negative feelings about your body to have the power to ruin potential memories that could last for years. 

Counteracting these emotions, however, is no easy task, and social media feeds are not always the best help. “Hot Girl Summer Ab” workout videos sound great in theory, but using these forms of workouts may only harm your self-image in the long run if the results are not what you wanted.

Working towards self-love and positive body image is a process, and with summer steadily coming closer, the desire to rush to quick-fix techniques  is understandable but not sustainable.  

Maintaining body positivity is most easily achieved when you are comfortable with the ways in which you go about it. Exercise and healthy eating are only a couple of ways to boost self-esteem and mental health. The increasing temperatures do make way for plenty of fun exercises such as going for walks and swimming, but these measures are not for everyone. 

We all have different relationships with our bodies, and therefore we can’t expect to strengthen these relationships in the same ways. 

Keeping a high self-image in summer temperatures can start simply by wearing the clothes and swimwear you like, feel confident in and want to wear. We are our own worst critics, and that is reflected in self-image as well. Most often, our outward insecurities are only noticed and criticized by ourselves and can hold us back from doing the things we want and enjoy. 

So, wear that bikini and feel good about it. The weight of having the ideal “bikini body” only adds to already impossible beauty standards. Every single body is a bikini body. And as Pinterest-like as that may sound, it’s true. Water activities, pool parties and beach trips should be fun, and a bikini is just an accompaniment.  

Outside of that, you don’t have to feel like there is a bikini mandate that drops once the weather reaches 80 degrees. Body positivity doesn’t look the same for everyone.  Increasing self love can include rejecting the idea that you have to show off your body. Dozens of new one-pieces and other forms of modest swimwear drop every year and are perfect for all the adventures of summer. 

Hold your head up high and wear the clothes that make you happy this season. Your worth is not dependent on the way your body looks, and I hope that gives you comfort and positivity as we head into the depths of summertime. 

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