Winters in New York are brutal and go on way too long. By March, as the frigid city thaws out into Spring, I'm usually stoked for longer days, warmer temps, and an excuse to trade in my chunky Winter sweaters for lighter flowy blouses. Summer seems like the light at the end of a dark, cold tunnel . . . with one notable exception: the bombardment of advertisements and emails trying to sell me on the idea of a "bikini body."
As someone who works in media, I get about a hundred PR pitch emails a day. And while I find it pretty lame that fellow journalists often take to Twitter to groan about these emails — sure, it's annoying, but publicists are just trying to do their jobs — there is one version of the PR pitch that I can't delete fast enough. "Expert: How to Get Your Summer Body Now!" read one. "Getting in Shape For Swimsuit Season" read another. With publicists pitching workouts, diet books, supplements, plastic surgery treatments, sketchy "experts," and other unhealthy means of losing weight, nothing is more aggravating than putting these all under the umbrella of achieving a "bikini body."
And it's not just these PR pitches I get on the daily; group fitness instructors tout the importance of working out to achieve a "Summer body." There's faux inspiration all over Instagram from influencers talking about getting "bikini-ready," and there are bikini-body workouts available online (we are even guilty of it!), all driving home the pressure to look a certain way before you can even enjoy the Summer.
But here's the thing: I already have a bikini body. Sure, I haven't worn a two-piece swimsuit since Spring break my sophomore year of college (one of the many things I no longer do 10 years later), but my imperfect body is still a bikini body. Every body is a bikini body, whether we choose to wear one or not. People at every size should be free to wear whatever they want, wherever they want, especially to the beach or pool.
Whether I choose to cover up with a caftan or rock a bikini, I'm going to enjoy my Summer. I'm going to go for runs in Central Park. I'm going to drink overpriced Aperol Spritzes on hotel rooftops. I'm going to bribe my friends with a pool to let me crash one afternoon, and I'm going to take the train out to Long Beach. My body will not prevent me from enjoying any of these activities.
Yes, I work out five days a week. I eat a healthy, whole-foods-based diet, drink over eight glasses of water a day, and get at least seven hours of sleep a night. But none of that has anything to do with looking a certain way or trying to fit into a specific mold. Women's Health banned the term "bikini body" from its magazine covers in 2015. It's time everyone else followed suit.