As soon as March hits, bringing with it a wave of no-longer-freezing weather, we start to see the campaigns encouraging us to ladies to “get bikini body ready” and the suchlike. Although this year we’ve seen a fair amount of backlash to this notion (just check out the feminist campaign against the advertisements on the Tube this year!), nobody’s saying enough about the emotional and physical impact of this media stimulus when summer has ended. Why should we be encouraged only to change our bodies during the summer months? Why is no one reminding us that body confidence is about what you feel about your body, rather than some bloke eyeing you up on the beach? What do we do if we feel disappointed that we haven’t lived up to these “expectations” imposed upon us as Autumn descends?
Well, for starters, we need to abandon this idea of “bettering ourselves” for summer, just so that we think we can look better in those short shorts. Instead, why don’t we campaign to simply feel good in our own skin, which is something that is important to us all year round? Nobody likes feeling any amount of self-hate, which is why this is so important. The reason why I chose these pictures is to remind myself that the girl in all of the photos is the same person, they just simply highlight different aspects of her. I need to accept my good with my bad and follow my own advice about encouraging body confidence. So, here are my tips on how to start your own campaign for body positivity:
1.) Set aside a fortnightly pamper night for you and your friends and/or family. This is the perfect opportunity to give yourself an extra little bit of TLC and make yourself feel special. Roll out the facemasks, hairmasks and nail polishes and sit down for a good ol’ session of Gossip Girl.
2.) Wear pretty underwear. It doesn’t have to be expensive – even Primark does a really elegant range these days – and it definitely doesn’t have to be for any man in your life. Wear something that makes you feel sexy and confident, because you know when you look in the mirror at the end of the day (or night) you haven’t spent all day in those out of shape pants you bought years ago and haven’t yet gotten rid of, but instead are wearing something that makes you proud of you!
3.) Style yourself however you want. Let’s face it, even when the media isn’t trying to tell us what to wear, our parents, communities and even friends are. So what if you want to dye your hair pastel pink and get a lip ring? Or like to snuggle up in warm woolly ponchos in the Autumn? If you like it, wear it – don’t be somebody else’s mannequin.
Finally, take all of my advice with a pinch of salt. These are just things that I find really work, but we’re all different. Just remember that simply because summer is over does not mean that you’ve somehow “failed” if you haven’t changed yourself “enough” – you are who you are, and once you learn to respect that, everything will change around you and you won’t have to.
What do you think?