Content warning: This article discusses sensitive material, including eating disorders and body dysmorphia.
Hip dips, love handles, stretch marks, cellulite and a bit of fluff on your belly. While often thought of as physical flaws, these characteristics are completely normal, yet so many women are self-conscious of them. A survey by Psychology Today found that 71% of their female participants were dissatisfied with their abdomens, 66% with their weight, and 60% with their hips. This was a bit of a pleasant surprise for me — not because women are self-conscious — but because it’s nice to know I’m not the only one who feels that way.
Now, abdomens and hips are on full display when wearing bikinis, which poses a bit of a problem for the majority of women who are self-conscious of those areas. For the longest time, I refused to wear bikinis for this exact reason. In fact, I avoided the beach at all costs and covered my body with a rash guard and towel when I was forced to go. I’m happy to say that I no longer endure this struggle, as I now enjoy the beach and even wear bikinis. This change didn’t happen overnight, but it wasn’t as difficult as you might think. My entire outlook transformed upon watching bikini try-on videos from some of my favorite lifestyle YouTubers: Ava Jules and Luna Montana. These two young women didn’t practice poses, take a few dozen pictures, then post the best one on Instagram. No, they instead posted YouTube videos where nothing could be hidden or photoshopped. Watching their try-on videos after learning about their struggles with body image transformed my confidence completely, and can do the same for you.
Let’s start with Ava Jules. In her video “bikini body confidence, self-love, & how I became confident in my body,” Ava gives advice that she’s learned through her struggles with self-confidence. She reminds viewers that your body isn’t supposed to be perfect and that buying flattering bikinis is important for your confidence. Ava has a way of really making you feel loved and cared for as she helps you through your bikini body struggles. I recommend this video and Ava’s bikini hauls (“a *cheeky* bikini haul try-on summer 2020 (hawaii edition)” and “my huge *cheeky* bikini collection try-on 2020”) if you feel your body isn’t bikini-ready, as Ava will provide the motherly comfort and support you need while also showing you how her own imperfect body can look killer in a bikini.
Next is Luna Montana, the ex-ballerina turned dance teacher. In multiple videos, she’s spoken openly about her past struggles with body dysmorphia, eating disorders and self-confidence as she once strived for the “perfect ballet body.” After a full recovery, she posted a tell-all video (“accepting weight gain as a ballerina”) in which she shared diary entries, the toxic influences on her confidence, and videos and pictures which show how her weight has changed over time. Having dealt with body dysmorphia myself, I can relate to her story so deeply, and I know so many others will as well. Knowing what she’s been through makes her bikini try-on video (“swimsuits that make me feel confident”) even more inspiring, assuring that confidence is achievable for anyone.
One thing these two women have in common is that they aren’t skinny by today’s media standards. In fact, they possess some of the “physical flaws” mentioned earlier. By posting bikini try-on hauls, these women show that their bodies are not flawed, and that they shouldn’t be ashamed of them. When they show their authentic selves in these videos, it reminds me that I can proudly wear a bikini without fear that my body is different or bad. These women tell us, “I’m beautiful, and you are too!” To further exemplify how powerful these videos can be, Ava Jules actually inspired Luna Montana to post her try-on bikini haul. These YouTubers are inspiring thousands of young women to feel unashamed of their bodies, while also inspiring each other. I can only hope this chain of self-confidence continues as more and more women realize their bodies are bikini-ready and always have been.