By the way, you already have a bikini body

Pardon the derrière shot, but it needed to be said.

Around this time of year, every year, countless magazines and websites run stories about getting one’s “beach body” ready. (It’s also known as the “bikini body,” but you knew that.) These stories are inevitably about workouts, reducing belly pudge, and — in certain circles of the internet, anyway — achieving a thigh gap. Sometimes, there are lists of the best and worst beach bodies.

All of it drives me crazy. KUH-RAY-ZEE!

Here is an example. Recently, through a search for something wholly unrelated to dieting or bikini-wearing, I landed on the Women’s Health website, where an interstitial ad asked me if I wanted to sign up for a 21-day “bikini body plan.” I defiantly clicked the small text that said, “No thanks. I already have a bikini body.” In your face, I thought. (I tend to over-celebrate small victories.)

Look, I’m not naive enough to think that wearing a swimsuit is always fun for everyone, or that people shouldn’t pursue their own idea of fitness. Body image is a complex subject, and as a thin woman, I am aware of my size privilege. Still, this body-shaming language is ridiculous. It’s unhealthy. And I am really, really ready for us to reject its message.

So. The next time you encounter the whole “beach body” messaging, remind yourself of this: You already have a beach body. Don’t let anyone trick you into believing otherwise.

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