You got your sunglasses? Cool ok. Sunhat? Gotta remember that! How about your sunscreen? Do you need it? No? Yes? Ok, no problem. You’ve got your bikini on? A swimsuit more your style? Fantastic no worries. Congratulations, you are now beach body ready.
The term ‘Beach Body’ made its true debut into the controversy world in 2015 when a Protein World advert painted the wall of the London Underground, “Are you beach body ready?” plastered across the yellow background in threatening black lettering. A scantily clad, slim, toned model, the expectation of a beach bod, front and centre. While an effective advert for a weight loss product, it is to be questioned whether visually shaming people into believing they don’t fit into a social expectation is really the way forward. Despite hundreds of complaints and planned protests, UK ad watchdog saw no issue with the advert, it did not breach the guidelines of what they view public appropriate.
Plus size brand Navabi transformed the advert in 2018, into a body positivity campaign. Models of varying sizes and body shapes featured across the same yellow background. The slogan “We’re beach body ready” in bold lettering next to them. A reminder to all that their is no shame in the way you look.
But even into 2019 we appear to be facing a continuation of the issue. As the sun pops in on the odd occasion, us brits get in a mad panic about preparing for the beaches despite being mid-way through February. Weight loss ads rear their ugly heads. Many blogs and website publish articles like “Get your beach body in under 3 weeks” or “Quick tips for looking good on the beach this summer”. Now, wanting to lose weight and get fit isn’t frowned upon, but a lot of clothing brands take it upon themselves to encourage weight loss and certain standards of body shape. Which often result in body shaming behaviour, making many believe they can’t look good without shedding the pounds.
Last week, London mother, Hailey Sinclair came under fire after an article published by The Mirror titled “Mum defends decision to get 10 year-old ‘bikini body ready’” hit audiences. It detailed how Sinclair, 43, has been taking 16 year-old daughter, Maisie, to the gym twice a week since she was 10 in order to get rid of “puppy fat”. The article was an instant controversial hit. Many viewers expressing that 10 is to young an age to start making children focused on what they look like. While Hailey defends her decision, insisting her daughter’s aims are to be healthy not skinny.
Many people support her decision, comments as such: “Why should she have to defend stopping her child becoming obese. Nothing wrong with it, shame others don’t follow her lead.” littered underneath the article.
Fitness, with children in question, is a touchy subject. While encouraging a healthy body it is also essential to encourage a healthy mind. A few gym sessions here and there can soon turn into obsession. With children especially, this can damage their growth into adulthood.
Its important to remember that summer isn’t a competition. Don’t compare yourself to those around you, work on confidence in your own skin. Then you can start enjoying the warm weather.