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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at VCU chapter.

With the summer season approaching, more and more people are starting to agonize over how they are going to lose the weight that they gained during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some people believe they need to lose weight if they want to have an attractive “summer body,” and while this feeling may stem from their own insecurity, it is also rooted in fatphobia. 

While a desire to lose weight to make your body more attractive could be seen as merely a personal preference to some people, it is important to recognize that this preference subliminally communicates that you believe that your weight is directly correlated to your value.

You believe that you weighing more decreases your value and makes you less attractive, which is problematic. Given that you exist in a society that praises people who weigh less and oppresses those that weigh more, it’s not that surprising that you may feel this way, but not challenging these beliefs means that you are just contributing to the very prevalent fatphobia in society. 

There is no “right” way for anyone to look during the summer. The beauty standards set by society tell us that our bodies need to look a certain way for us to be attractive, but that’s not true. With the rise of the body positivity and fat liberation movements, more people have started to be accepting of bodies that are unlike the ones they have been socialized to believe are attractive, but many people still evaluate their own beauty according to the societal standards they’ve dismissed when evaluating everyone else.

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Photo by Szabolcs Toth from Unsplash
When someone begins working out more, it should only be because they want to start being more health-conscious, not be because they feel like they need to lose weight to appear more attractive. This emphasis on acquiring a “summer body” when the weather starts to get warmer can cause people to have a negative body image. Each person’s body is different and beautiful in its own way. We shouldn’t be policing the way that other people’s bodies look or questioning if our own looks okay just because it doesn’t parallel what we’ve seen the media portray as the ideal body type.  

A “summer body” does not have to be skinny, devoid of curves, cellulite or stretch marks. The way that your body is naturally is acceptable, and you will look just as good in your summer clothes with the body that you currently have as you would if you lost weight. There is no correlation between someone’s weight and how attractive they are, and we need to stop evaluating ourselves and other people according to society’s standards. 

Being confident with the way that you look is not easy, and it will require work, but if you do have some internalized fatphobia that you need to unpack, just be conscious of the things you say. Even if you feel like you need to lose weight, don’t advertise that feeling to other people because it can make them feel self-conscious and as if they also need to lose weight to be attractive. Insecurity does not give us a pass to harm others, unintentional or not.

Your body and everyone else’s looks perfect the way that it is, and nothing needs to change. The people around you and society may feel like you are not enough, but you are. Your body in no way determines your worth or value, and you will still look phenomenal this summer no matter how much you weigh. 

Britney Simmons is a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University who is majoring in Mass Communications with a Concentration in Print/Online Journalism. She has loved reading and writing since she was a child, and is an animal lover. She loves to travel whenever possible, and you can usually find her binging some new series or napping.
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