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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at West Chester chapter.

The short answer is that everybody has a bikini body. But the assigned meaning to the term dates back to 1961, encouraging women to change their bodies to be up to society’s standards. 

As a teenage girl, my brain is constantly filled with thoughts about how I look, what others think of me, and what I can do to improve. Warmer weather is tough because everyone on social media shows off their perfectly toned bodies in real life. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with showing off your body, everybody should feel confident enough to, but society has created a toxic stigma revolving around “summer bodies”. Popularized by a weight loss company, the term “bikini body” was associated with ads from the company, alongside the phrases, “High firm bust, hand span weight, trim firm hips, and slender graceful legs” (The Obe Hub). Most people have ideas similar to the ones stated in the ad when thinking of the term; It urges us to think that we have to change our bodies to prepare for the summertime. But diet and weight loss culture, which value losing weight above everything else, didn’t begin with bikini bodies. The first diet book was released in 1558; the rest was history. 

Diet culture has recently become more popular than ever. According to Equip, 45 million Americans diet annually, spending $30 billion on weight loss products. The popularity of weight loss and dieting companies only further feeds the idea that we must alter our bodies to feel worthy and presentable. This type of stigma around having to eat little to nothing to look your best does nothing except encourage and develop eating disorders, mostly affecting teenagers and young adults. 

Many young adults and teens turn to social media for pictures and videos to help validate the way they feel in their skin. Unfortunately, social media does not help ease the feeling of needing a “bikini body”, and only further encourages eating disorders. With resources such as Photoshop, FaceTune, and FaceApp, many people, including social media influencers, utilize these apps to make their bodies look unrealistic and “perfect”. The internet is overwhelmed with an influx of workout videos, dieting recipes, and “thinspo” (pro-eating disorder habits). This type of content uploaded to the internet daily, even when it is not summer, creates toxic habits within users who consume these posts. It’s difficult for people to remember that everything on the internet is not real, which is why these harmful posts have such a strong impact on young girls. This influx of “thinspo” culture will only continue to lead young girls into a spiral of body dysmorphia, unhealthy obsession, and struggles with eating disorders.

So next time you are scrolling through social media or hear the term “bikini body”, remember that this term is simply a concept made up by a society meant to put women down and make them believe that their bodies are not perfect the way they are. Mostly everything on social media is edited in some way, so don’t let the seemingly impossible-looking bodies discourage you from feeling comfortable in your skin.

Brooke Darst

West Chester '26

Brooke Darst is a Communications major with a minor in Journalism at West Chester University. With interests in sports, mental health, entertainment, and the arts, she hopes to spark conversations and spread her ideas through writing.