Body Positivity, Bikinis and Modesty
One of the trends I’m seeing in the Body positive world is the encouragement of women to not be afraid to show off their bodies, at any size or weight; to wear those bikinis and give themselves permission to be unabashed in exposing the newly accepted and beloved bodies they worked so hard to attain.
And that is great!!!
But it’s also not that simple.
Just as I would never want to be shamed or pressured into NOT wearing what I want to wear due to my size, age or varicose veins or stretch marks, I also do not want to feel like I have to show off my curves either! Can’t we just be modest if we want to be?
Heck yes we can.
Sometimes I don’t want to wear a revealing dress or swimsuit – not because I’m ashamed of my body or worried what people will think but just because I would prefer to wear something more modest or conservative that day. Or maybe it’s because I just don’t feel comfortable exposing that part of my body that day. And yes maybe it’s because sometimes I don’t want to wear a bikini because I’m having a bloated or bad body image day. We all have them, yes even body image coaches (even body image coaches get the blues).
It’s not because I loathe my body and that I’m embarrassed to show it to anyone but rather because it’s my choice to stay covered up if it makes ME feel most comfortable in my own skin that day.
While we as healers and body image mentors continue to support women, men and teens to marvel in and appreciate their earthly vessels, we should also always meet people where they are at and for any reason. There isn’t some finish line body image prize that you get by being willing to wear a bikini. Wearing or not wearing one doesn’t define for you or anyone how you feel about your body.
If you want to show off your bod, by all means show it off brazenly and joyfully. But if you want to be modest, I honor and respect your sovereignty to wear, be, move, love and eat however and whatever is best for you. Everyone should. Because how we adorn our bodies, be it piercings, tattoos, ample clothing or scant clothing, tube tops or turtlenecks, two-pieces or swim-dresses, maxi-dresses or short skirts, stilettos or flats, is entirely up to you and what makes you unique and embodied.
You need not owe any explanation to anyone. And yes, that includes your age too. If you are 78 and want to wear a bikini, then you go with your bad self. If you’re 21 and want to cover up – I honor and respect that.
Let’s stop with the pervasive judgement, in either direction, about what we wear or don’t wear.
If we truly want to be encouraging and body-positive let’s take a fully non-judgemental stance on how people want to show up in their own skins and let us all be on our own path of healing and acceptance.