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Recently I shared a photo on Instagram that a friend took of me at Typhoon Lagoon for a special event Disney threw for their Gold & Platinum Passholders. In the photo I was wearing a swimsuit (because, duh, water park) and it was captioned, “Not a size 2 and in a swimsuit.” I didn’t even think twice about sharing a photo of myself in a swimsuit publicly, because, to me, it wasn’t a big deal. At least a thousand people had seen me in that swimsuit IRL at Typhoon Lagoon, and quite frankly, I felt downright gorgeous in that suit.
A few days later, a woman I know in real life who had seen the post mentioned to me how “brave it was” of me to “post a photo in a swimsuit.” It caught me so off guard that I just ignored it and changed the subject. How sad it is that we live in a culture where women are so disgusted by their own bodies that another woman wearing a bathing suit publicly is considered “brave.” To me it hadn’t been an act of bravery, I hadn’t even thought twice about it. Single moms are brave. Women who re-live every detail of their rape in a trial so their rapist goes to prison are brave. Females who enlist in the male-dominated military are brave. Those are just some major examples; women show bravery every day in small ways too. Wearing a bathing suit should not be considered one of them.
We live in a society where size 2 models are splashed across the glossy pages of fashion magazines, wearing clothes that seem to have been made to fit only their bodies. Eventually size 2 became too large for some, so a size zero was added to the mix. ZERO. Literally NOTHING THERE.
The fashion industry has contributed to our warped perception of ourselves so much so that going into a fitting room at Zara used to send me off into a full-fledged anxiety attack, when the things that looked amazing on the waif model on their website hung in a less than visually pleasing way on my own body – until I learned the following phrase: “This just isn’t cut for me.” BOOM. Once I let this little tidbit sink in, it took all the fault off my own body and put it onto the garment. There was nothing wrong with my body, I was simply trying on a garment that was cut for a different body type.
If we spent more time learning about dressing for our body types and less time pointing out the perceived “flaws” on ourselves, imagine what could happen. These days, thanks to companies like Modcloth, flattering clothing for curvy women, fuller figures, and larger busted women is readily available. There are more and more styles being produced by designers and companies who care deeply about helping real women feel confident in their clothing and in their own skin. It took me a long time and lot of fitting rooms to learn what types of clothing flatter my figure – and which don’t. When I spotted aforementioned swimsuit on the ASOS website (another company that carries a full range of sizes), I hit “add to cart” so fast I almost broke my finger. And when I pulled it out of its plastic shipping bag and tried it on, I felt so glamourous I wanted to wear it around the house – an experience I had NEVER had trying on swimwear before. So ladies – love what you have. There’s nothing wrong with you. And somewhere in the fashion-atmosphere there is even a bathing suit you will feel powerful in. Trust me.