As most Instagram users know, summer is prime time for bikini posts. Some days it seems like the entire Instagram feed is girls strutting their stuff in a bikini. Throughout the summer, I have heard various comments about bikini posts. Some say the girls look desperate for a man’s attention, others think posting that bikini picture tarnishes the woman’s image, and lastly I have been told bikini pictures strip a woman of being a feminist.
However, I do not agree with these viewpoints on bikini posts. Posting a picture in a bikini is not only brave, but it shows great confidence. Women’s sole purpose and decision making do not revolve around mens’ reactions; even though from a young age we are taught to cover our shoulders so as to not arouse the boys in class. Society loves to tell women what to wear, how to look–and now with the emergence of social media–what to post. I cannot speak for all women, but perhaps there is a different explanation for why that bikini picture was posted to her profile.
Maintaining Positive Body IMage
Self esteem and a positive body image have been hard for young women to maintain in a society that economically thrives on making buyers feel insecure. Products are advertised with promises like “impurities begone!” from Neutrogena, “Love. Without the handles” from PopChips, and “the perfect body” from Victoria’s Secret.
Slowly, without noticing, buyers internalize these ads and believe that any skin blemish is ‘impure’, broad hips or ‘love handles’ are unattractive, and women need to have large breasts, a flat stomach, and a curvy waist to have the ‘perfect body’.
These standards set by our society are impossible to obtain. That being said, I like to think of the influx of bikini pictures on Instagram throughout the summer not as women trying to catch the attention of men, but as women feeling good in their own skin.
Build women up, don’t tear them down
Within the last year, female doctors were harassed for posting pictures in a bikini. They were told it was unprofessional. Like those strong women, I believe that posting a picture in a bikini by no means diminishes our professionalism. If a man were to post a shirtless picture on a beach he would receive hundreds of likes and no one would think anything more of it. So, why is it that when a woman posts a comparable picture she is desperate, unprofessional, and acting against feminism?
Society needs to learn to embrace women and their bodies of all different colors, shapes, and sizes. To the women who are brave enough to post a picture portraying their self esteem and confidence: I see you, I support you, and you look amazing.