In the hotter months, I like to go to the beach. Not because I’m a strong swimmer (in fact I am a terrible swimmer), but when I do try to go swimming, it can be very uncomfortable. Peeling off my layers of protective clothing, clothing that makes my legs look the way I want, forever and strong. Shirts that make my tummy flat and slim. When all I have on is my two piece bathing suit, I feel my skin, soft, not flat. Muscles beside fat. Bones poking under skin. I don’t feel nearly as good.
Because the summer is when our society puts away its 100x stronger magnifying glass and replaces it with its 10 0000x stronger magnifying glass. The problem is really easily demonstrated by the media. When was the last time you saw a model sporting something you would actually fit well? When was the last time you saw an ad of someone eating that wasn’t thin? When has society battled these idea in a way that supports everyone? When was the last time you heard someone say that your body works only for you?
Probably, if ever, not in a very long time.
During the summer months, society takes out an extra loud megaphone to scream in our ears the ways we can “get thin fast in 10 days” and “how to achieve the perfect ‘beach bod’ in less than a week”. Most of us know they’re fake, but they still are super problematic and detrimental to both our mind and body AND spirit.
- NOT EVERYONE CAN BE THIN. And that’s perfectly okay.
Most of us know that people have different skin to protect them from different weathers, same with body dimensions.
People who (historically) lived in colder climates, or climates where there was/is less access to food, have typically a slower metabolism. Think of it this way, when you’re out shopping and you don’t/can’t get to the store again for a while, you stock up. You fill your fridge, freezer and pantry with food to last. Well, your body does the same thing. Except with energy, energy in the form of fat.
Pretty cool eh?
- ACCESS. Who has access to the food their body needs? Classism is at play.
Most people here, on the Northern American continent are far from “living the dream” (acknowledging we do live in a pool of privilege). How ever with the disparities between incomes in our Canada results in targets for the food industries lesser quality products, when it is cheaper to buy a case of Kraft dinner than a salads, it’s obvious what becomes the more appealing option. Even after only eating KD for weeks. A single mother of three put it this way once: “At the end of the day you have to give [your kids] something to fill their stomach, even if it’s just Kraft and a cut up hotdog”. Stretching the food budget by buying more for less, this is really the world we live in.
So shaming people who have to make these tough choices, on a daily basis? That’s pretty crappy thing to do.
- DIETS AND PILLS ARE EXPENSIVE. This is where classism comes into play, again.
In the words of Benjamin Franklin: “time is money”, for people with lower incomes, this can be especially true. Saving money cost both time and energy.
The stress of living with a lower income is enormous, so trying to fit in exercise plans, the stress that can come with sticking to it, including if you’re unsure about housing, work, kids, etc. can be quite unbearable.
So an option free from as much stress can be dieting, not even talking about skipping meals, diet pills. Diet pills generally offer the appeal of a quick and less stressful option to lose weight. The industry has been targeting people with lower incomes for a long time now, people don’t realize that this capitalization is detrimental for all. Creating an environment that actively oppresses everyone and with a special focus on individuals with multiple intersecting oppressions, is actively contributing to many harmful things within our culture today. The idea that all natural health being directly tied to thinness is and never has been accurate, so why are lying?
- THIN ≠ HAPPINESS. Bodies are Beautiful
Some bodies are naturally thin, some are naturally fatty, some are naturally curvy, some bodies are naturally pear shaped, or round, or triangular.
And you know what it doesn’t matter, because it’s yours. Bodies are a representation of the environment your ancestors were from, where you’ve lived and where you’re living. That’s a pretty cool thing. You deserve to celebrate your body’s story, the story of a billion things coming together to create a person, you.
So go embellish it in ribbons and jewels because you are beautiful, handsome and always rad or maybe your body is just too good for those diamonds and rubies. . .
- YOUR BODY IS TAILORED TO YOU.
There is never a need to tailor your body to the clothes or ideals that our societies puts forwards for us.
Your “beach bod” is your body at the beach (you don’t even have to wear a bathing suit).
Eat what your body needs to eat, eat what will make both you and your body happy, fulfilled and make you feel good.
Relinquish guilt, it may feel like your guilt, but the truth is that it shouldn’t even exist.
I didn’t really know how to end this list. So I chose the number 6, it’s a double 3 which is a good number, so 6 is double the goodness. Double the goodness is what we need in this world right now.
But I really just wanted to write this to say is that all the things you say about yourself, if someone said that to a friend, you’d probably want to sock them in the noggin (not that violence is okay, but you know, a desire is a desire). So why are we allowing businesses, society and other people say these things about your family, friends, strangers, teachers, co-workers, children, and you? That’s not okay.
One of the best way to fight that is sticking your fingers in your ears and hitting the beach, in your perfectly yours body. Because contrary to what some may believe, you are you. Scars, stretch marks (or tiger stripes), cellulite, 6 packs, skins. bones and blood, that’s yours, and people should take you in the way you want them too. You are a gift to this world, a gift from the universe to the space and communities you inhabit. Create your own standards for your body, and flaunt them, clothed or stark naked. And leaving in the wise words of Pop Eye “I yam what I yam” accept it and celebrate you.