With the onset on summers every year, all the lifestyle magazines on the newspaper stands and the lifestyle websites on the internet churn the same story over and over again and in doing so, they condition the minds of women all over the world with the concept of the ‘perfect body’. “Do you have your beach body ready yet?””10 exercises to get the perfect beach body” and many more headings make the rounds all summer long. Magazines constantly offer tips about how to lose weight “in days,” appear slimmer “instantly,” and hide our “imperfections” without actually knowing anything about us, much less our appearance. What if someone does not want a beach body? What if someone lives in a land-locked country? What if someone is suffering from serious hormonal issues which make it difficult for them to reduce weight? Nobody seems to care about that. These issues of body shaming and the need to ‘fit in’ are the very consequences of a capitalist society which we cannot escape
How did the term ‘beach body’ even come into being? It seems obvious enough to me that the kind of body that one would not be ashamed of to be seen having at a beach (i.e. when wearing very little clothing) can simply be termed as a beach body. What exactly constitutes a ‘beach body’ will therefore tend to vary depending on cultural expectations of ‘acceptable’ or desirable body shapes and also on how much stock a given person lays in those cultural expectations. The problem arises right here where we are fed the perfect images of a female enjoying the summer sun on a beach as she lays down on her back with her washboard abs visible and her thigh gap in place and they expect people to accept this image as the only desirable one. The constant need to lose weight in order to get a boyfriend, a job, people’s attention/appreciation, self-esteem, confidence, etc., seems to be the most bizarre thing that I have come across in recent times. Why can it not be acceptable for a woman to walk into a beach with her full body and not be ashamed of it? Why is it so that another woman with the ‘perfect’ body present on the beach has to pass condemning looks to the other one? This is because the mass media has repeatedly produced the idea of the ‘perfect’ body for a woman innumerable times and if someone does not look exactly like the other females around her, she is the outcast.
The saddest part is that many companies are making money out of this shameful act of guilt tripping. I am so tired of the message that women have to make some kind of effort in order to be socially acceptable. Is this kind of guilt tripping and body shaming really the best way to sell these products?
I think that telling people to change is probably the wrong way to go about the fact that being fat is unhealthy (which it is).There’s still a kid inside everyone that hates being told what to do and I think that is partly responsible for the overweight rallying cry. I think that rather than focusing on the negatives of fat, and using scare tactics about the dangers of fat, it should be framed in the benefits of achieving a healthy weight. The internet trolls, especially are going about it all wrong.