REJOICE! Because we're all officially done with the beach body 4 years ago

REJOICE! Because we're all officially done with the beach body

With summer fast approaching there's an awful lot to consider.

Yup, many of us will be stocking up on sun-creams; investing in new bikinis (or actually, just using the ones we bought four years ago); whipping out the breezy clothing from the back of our wardrobes, and, of course, showing far more skin than we’ve been used to for the past few months.

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We care about our looks; hense skin-care and beauty products in Ireland are worth more than €200m to our economy.

There was a time I even used to attend the gym (lolz). I noticed how in the beginning of January the place would be bustling. Fair enough, I too can feel rather pudgy after Christmas so it’s nice to get back to your energised, lighter self. But when excessive exercise continues all the way up until summer holidays I do wonder, is there still a stupidly immense pressure on women to look a certain way by the poolside?

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There’s no doubt, women have made tremendous progress in persuading society to accept them just as they are but clearly we have a bit more to go.

Personally, I see nothing wrong with someone wanting to look their best, it’s only natural—but I draw the line at engaging in complete torture to get yourself there. If you’re going to try and get fit, do it for yourself, so as you have more energy, or so as getting from place to place is a much less tiring ordeal, or so as your heart and lungs thank you—not for anyone else.

There’s one way I undoubtedly know society puts pressure on women to fit into our cultural perception of beauty. When I was a little girl, I had no idea that one day I would have to look a certain way to feel confident—back then, I just was.

When I was by the poolside I had my little Esmeralda swimming togs on, my blow-up donut for the pool and I was good to go. Holidays were so simple. I had no concept of how society expected women to look a certain way—beauty standards didn’t exist in my world and being me was enough.

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I had not yet experienced judging glances nor seen pictures of beautiful women along with the phrases that helped enforce the impression that they were the most beautiful in the world and that this was something the rest of us should aspire to. This would change in my teenage years, when being awkward and struggling with confidence was a phase I just had to work through.

Thankfully, the surge in women standing up for themselves (hurrah!) and working to get across the message that any shape is a fabulous one, helped me become the more confident person I am today.

We have fantastic role models for sure. Think of American model Ashley Graham, or Irish blogger Rebecca Flynn of Body Positive Ireland. Women like these are an inspiration. They all advocate being happy and accepting one another over buying into the beauty mould many would prefer we all tailored ourselves to.

@swimsuitsforall giving me life with sexy swimsuits, no matter age, shape or size. #SummerIsHere #SwimsuitsForAllSummer17

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Something that comes to mind is women having to shave, wax, and pluck before revealing their bodies to the world.

Personally, I must admit I do like the sleek feel when I’ve waxed, but in relation to seeing holiday-makers by the beach… I couldn’t care less if I saw some giant bush having its day in the sun—what difference does it make to me or mine? Absolutely none. If I see a woman who is 'too large' or 'too skinny,' why should it bother me? I'm a firm believer that if we're happy and content with ourselves, we'll be accepting of others too. Our own insecurities are one of the factors helping the negative views of other women's bodies prevail.

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I’m so grateful that this 'beach body' phenomenon is dying, however slow the process. As women we simply need to continue supporting one another and if our views differ… great, it’s more interesting that way anyhow. But respect is key. This summer don’t judge and simply let yourself have the absolute craic no matter how many ripples and wobbles help make up your glorious body.

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