This post was originally published July 11, 2011. I killed my site by accident this winter, and lost all the amazing comments on this post. Leave some new good ones, eh?
So, I need a better internal editor. The model I have now tends correct my mouth too little too late and then I have to go tail between my legs and apologize for popping off about something. My intentions are good. Almostalways, I swear.
One of my friends wrote about some of her goals on her facebook page, one of which dealt with her desire to look her best in a certain kind of bathing suit. Her goals sparked a lively discussion about who should wear what suits to which pools at what ages and in what shape. Most of the commenters were women, and most of us were happy to share our experiences with a giggle. But underneath this conversation one could almost feel the insecurity, the creeping junior high student in each of us, wanting desperately to fit in and look right and be “normal.”
Then I went and opened my mouth. Now, to be fair, I’d already talked to my friend about her goals; I had always encouraged her to wear what she wanted at any age, at any weight, that she’d be beautiful no matter what she chose because she is, by her very nature, a lovely, thoughtful, creative woman. When I dropped my big ole opinions into the stream of other thoughtful, creative women, it was like a rock sinking with a splash, sending out reverberating ripples that meant something different to each woman.
Here’s the truth. Feeling like we look great in clothes is hard enough. Stripping us down to some stretchy bits of lycra makes us a touch more uncomfortable. Even those who’ve managed to maintain a girlish figure seem to find pockets of cellulite. We locate rolls of flesh in places no swimsuit can cover. Backfat, underboob, and chub rub become alarmingly real and alarmingly public.
On top of this, we’ve got age and baby carrying under our fluctuating belts. And not only that, which we gladly accept, but we’ve got an entire industry devoted to knocking us down, kicking us aside and telling us what to do. Models seem thinner and younger every day and now we have actual articles mandating when women“should” stop wearing certain things. They are not just coming after our swimwear, ladies; no, they are aiming their judgy little judgments at our shoes, our hair and our skirts.
And this I’ll not abide.
Maybe it’s just a childish knee-jerk “you’re not the boss of me.” Maybe it’s just wanting to thumb my nose at these so-called arbiters of taste and style. But I refuse to let someone else decide how I’ll be most comfortable by the pool, or the grocery store, or in a meeting.
But. I realize that not every woman has this annoying habit of getting fired up about crap like this. My friend with the facebook page debate calls it confidence and sass. Some people might call it bitchy or bossy. I call it being honest. Tomato tomahato…..
So I’m going to shut off my internal editor (she’s kind of sucky anyway) and give you:
The Swimsuit Manifesto:
- Thou shalt make your own swimwear choices*
- Thou shalt rely on your own levels of comfort when making these choices
- Thou shalt NOT avoid something you like because some stranger pointed a finger at you
- Thou shalt rock the swimwear of your choosing
- Thou shalt respect the swimwear choices of others
- Thou shalt respect thyself as more than a number on the scale or the age timeline
- Thou shalt ignore or disparage (or both with vim and vigor) magazines, articles, websites and talking heads who mandate your swimwear choices
- Thou shalt respect your beauty, for lo, it has been given unto thee already no matter what you wear
- Thou shalt walk around the pool without the sucking in of the gut
- Thou shalt sit and bend and move as befits a person who is at a pool, ie: use your joints
- Thou shalt smile at the pool or beach because the pool or the beach is fun and you like it