Trigger warning: weight loss/diet culture, themes of body dysmorphia
Just because summer is on the way doesn’t mean monolithic beauty standards, restrictive eating and negative habits have to be.
Words by Stevie Palmer, staff writer
For many people, the start of spring means it’s time to get ready for summer. ‘Hot Girl Summer’ coined by Megan Thee Stallion, was originally a phrase meant to symbolise the summer feeling of going out with your friends, having fun, partying and being exactly you. However, like all the best things in life, the phrase was engulfed by society and more specifically, toxic influencers under the sway of the beauty industry and diet culture to transform it into a phrase meaning being a hot girl in summer (hot by their standards anyway…). This phrase that was once about embracing yourself, feeling confident in your skin and in turn, having the best summer of your life has instead become a driving point for many people to alter the way they look in the run up to summer, in order to fit the beauty ideal of having a perfect ‘beach body’.
This is not only explicitly about hot girl summer, but more so societal trends driving people to drastically change and to look a certain way for the summer. I hear year after year people moaning about their clothes from last year no longer fitting them, or the fact they need to start ‘crash dieting’ and ‘hitting the gym’ in order to feel good for summer. My issue here lies not so much in the wanting to look a certain way, but more the feeling that’s attached to it.
This idea that in order to have a ‘good summer’ and to feel good on the beach or in certain clothing, you must first look a certain way.
My issue with this is that it reinforces the idea that there are good and bad bodies, and that to have a ‘bad’ body during the winter is fine, because you can cover it up, and hide it away, but in the summer, it is no longer acceptable to have fat, stretch marks, hairy pits or unpainted toenails. This is simply not true, whoever you are, whatever you look like, you are perfect exactly as you are. It’s such a shame that the beauty industry decided to capitalise on people’s insecurities and natural predispositions to compare ourselves to others. Don’t let them use you and the insecurity they instil within you to fund their environment-killing, soul-crushing campaigns by buying into this ideal that you have to look or be a certain way to be accepted, to be a ‘Hot Girl’ this summer.
Every body is a beach body.
And before anyone is mistaken, I am by no means raining down on the parade of people who decide to exercise or diet to feel good. My issue is with fact some people feel as though they HAVE to do these things, they have to exercise when they’re tired, or crash diet to not painstakingly look in the mirror every day, because the tyranny of the beauty industry and its oppressive ideals has broken them into believing they, as they are, isn’t good enough. When looking good enough was never a measurement of human worth in the first place. If you, like me, have had enough, I implore you to go and buy a new wardrobe of new clothes that fit you, to sit on the beach and eat that ice-cream and for god sakes, go and have a good summer free from the worry you don’t look good enough, because I assure you, you already do, exactly as you are.