Summer has crept upon us like a stealthy tiger. Sunscreen's stench, sunlight's sizzle, and sunburn's sting have seemingly wiped our memory of the brutal winter that uprooted many a New Yorker. However, the inviting months of June through August usher in not only increased temperatures and skimpier clothing but also grotesquely unavoidable propaganda.
An alarming array of body-shaming messages explode ubiquitously throughout media outlets as soon as snow melts. "Slim Down In Seven Days!" magazine covers scream. "Are You Bikini Ready?" blog posts belittle. Such blurbs and their accompanying articles provoke the subconscious to create a misconstrued perception of which bodies are forbidden from wearing bikinis. Society fails "to support self-assuredness in young women and promote body-positive imagery," as neuroscience expert and NYU professor Dr. Stacie Grossman Bloom and other panelists at the Women in The World Summit discussed.
Health, fitness, and well-being should be practiced year-round, not just in the imminent period prior to summer splendor. By recognizing that the first and only step to becoming "Bikini Ready" is to simply put on a bikini, we can release the stressful and impossible notion of overnight physique transformation. Besides, we as women have much more to focus on than the space between our thighs. '"Step away from the mirror,"' urges Northwestern University psychology professor Dr. Renee Englen. '"We have other things to talk about."'
Summer is for loving one another and one's self. Neither tabloids nor billboards can relinquish your freedom to wear whatever you wish to the beach, be it a bikini or a brown bag. Soon enough, summer will have run it's course, and we'll be searching for a parka that won't concur mental images of the Michelin Man. Rejoice in the current moment with a sweaty smile and slather on the SPF. Your confidence is the sexiest suit you can wear.