I'm Not Celebrating Bikini Season This YearKit Steinkellner

I love summer hard but lately it seems like “summer” has been conflated with “bikini season.” And I hate bikini season, hate it, HATE it. Even though the two are supposed to go hand in hand, “bikini season” is the antithesis of “summer,” the Voldemort to summer’s Dumbledore.

Summer is all about awesome weather and outdoor music festivals and it being light outside ’til 9:30PM or something ridiculous. “Bikini Season” you would think would be about what kind of two-piece you’re going to laze around by the pool in this June-through-August. (Boy-cut bottoms? Bandeau top? Something with a lot of weird fringe?) But no. “Bikini season” is not about what bathing suit top you wear (or what bottoms you wear). It’s about what’s underneath that top and bottom. More specifically, it’s about trying to make you as a girl feel paralyzingly self-conscious and insecure about your body, while also trying to make you feel extremely judgmental about every other girl wearing a bikini. I call shenanigans hard on “Bikini Season.” It makes us all feel bad and yet year after year we honor this Queen Bee Mean Girl of annual traditions. Why do we do it? Why don’t we just up and stop?

I want to make the distinction here between “bikinis” and “bikini season.” Bikinis are fine, they’re great; if you’re comfortable and happy in your bikini, wear that bikini all summer long. But “bikini season” is not the same as “wearing a two-piece swimsuit.” “Bikini season” is a two-worded monster who guilts you into having Photoshop-quality standards for your own body and the bodies of other women. It forces you to feel pressure — all spring long — to make your stomach and thighs look a certain way. Then, all summer long, it forces you to freak out that your stomach and thighs don’t look a certain way, as you secretly eye other women’s bodies for comparison. It’s bad.

So I’m not celebrating Bikini Season this year. Okay, I don’t think I EVER celebrated Bikini Season, but this year I’m not acknowledging it as a thing. No good can come from a season that makes so many girls feel so badly about themselves. I’m wearing my strapless one-piece that makes me feel like Esther Williams in an old-timey movie about musical swimming pools and I’m not going to have a three-month long panic attack about how much my stomach sticks out or what the backs of my thighs are doing. I’m going to wear a swimming suit and feel like a rock star having a rock star summer.

If you are a hundred and ten percent comfortable in a bikini, by all means tie up all your straps into little bows and get down with your bad self. But if bikini season is stressing you out, feel free to join me over in one-piece season or whatever-you’re-comfortable-wearing-to-the-beach season. Figure out whatever you have to figure out so you can kick back and have a gorgeous summer.

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  1. To me, as a person who always preferred one-pieces and tankinis REGARDLESS of weight…it’s always the same question:

    1. Why does the world assume every woman wears bikinis?

    2. If we don’t, why do most assume that we have a tummy scar, that we’re not happy in our own skin or from an extremely conservative family?

    As somebody who’s tomboyish by nature and never cared about what the society thinks, I feel uncomfortable when people examine me and assume I suffer from this and that.

    That said, I think I like this article. And your blog theme.

    • Addendum: one thing is wrong about this. FEELING THE PRESSURE. Why?

      I really, really wish more people wouldn’t be scared of the society. If they mock you and you’re an adult who has developed some resistance, it’s their problem, not yours. It makes them look bad, not you.

  2. I love this. I feel like women should be allowed to feel comfortable in their skin no matter what size they are. All my life I have been called skinny as a twig that is easy to snap, chicken legs, ironing board, you name it, i’ve been called it! And being naturally very skinny can sound like a good thing, but with no boobs and bum sometimes (actually a lot of the time) I feel under scrutiny, (especially when people tell you to get something to eat.. and I eat just fine!) and it’s as upsetting, especially trying on every size bikini and still having no boobs under it, but i’ve learned to make peace with my body. I think that everybody should be allowed to feel comfortable in the skin that they’re in and not have to live upto anybodys expectations of photoshopped unrealistic women. Skinny, curvy, short, tall, no boobs, big boobs, we should be happy, i’ve learned that, and i’ve learned to be happy with my natural size, no matter what that is :) And anybody that thinks otherwise is shallow. We should stop looking at other people, and look at ourselves! After all, if you can’t love yourself first and foremost, who will?

  3. With all due respect, you are the one who put into words “You must be x,y, and z for bikini season”. By expressing your need to be a certain size at your certain height before wearing a two-piece, you are doing the very thing that media does best: providing specific measurements to ensure your entry and legitimate participation in “bikini season”. Congratulations on the hard work it took to get to a place where you’re caring for yourself. But, by emphasizing that *now* you’re the right size to be in a bikini, you’re doing the very thing you protest about.

  4. I comment when I appreciate a article on a site or I have something to
    valuable to contribute to the discussion. Usually it’s triggered by the fire displayed
    in the article I browsed. And on this post I’m Not Celebrating Bikini Season This Year.
    I was excited enough to create a thought :-P I actually do have a couple of questions for you if it’s allright.
    Is it only me or do a few of these remarks come across as if they are left by brain dead visitors?

    :-P And, if you are writing on additional sites, I’d like to keep up
    with anything new you have to post. Could you list every one of all your
    community sites like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

  5. If you ask me, I just like wearing retro-inspired bathing suits in general. I’m hoping to own a pretty one piece suit for my collection!

  6. As a very body positive, curvy, young woman, I take slight offense to this. While I do think that the words “bikini season” may have some negative connotations attached to them, I think it’s also important to acknowledge the individuals who are very excited for bikini season. As a person who has constantly struggled with body weight and body image issues, I am actually very excited for two piece time. Why, you may ask? Well, I am 5’2″ and have hit a maximum weight of 147 pounds. Call it body shaming, but I was truly unhappy and constantly felt sick because I was not taking care of myself. For MYSELF, I decided to change. I began watching my diet, not starving myself because I still ate foods I loved, and I also took advantage of my gym membership that I had neglected for 2 straight years. As of now, my family and friends have noticed a change in me. I have lost about 12 pounds, and have never felt more happy and energized in my life. I cannot wait to wear a bikini during bikini season because I have worked so damn hard to get here. Now, I understand that the media is very harmful with these words, but in the context of self-love and body positivity, bikini season kicks ass. Nowhere in those two words does it explicitly say, “You must be x,y, and z for bikini season”. In this matter, you have a choice; believe what everyone else is believing, or give it a positive spin. Now, pardon me while I rock Bikini season!

    • With all due respect, you are the one who put into words “You must be x,y, and z for bikini season”. By expressing your need to be a certain size at your certain height before wearing a two-piece, you are doing the very thing that media does best: providing specific measurements to ensure your entry and legitimate participation in “bikini season”. Congratulations on the hard work it took to get to a place where you’re caring for yourself. But, by emphasizing that *now* you’re the right size to be in a bikini, you’re doing the very thing you protest about.

  7. I really like how the author states that she is choosing not to acknowledge ” Bikini Season” this year, yet she just wrote a whole article about it. If it really bothers you, than ignore it. To each his, or her, own.

  8. I was with you until you said you were going to wear a one piece. Women need to start wearing two pieces despite their “flaws” to end the bikini season you describe. We need to be the example of what women who are not models look like and promote body confidence. If body confidence is low because if what you see in media and at the beach or pool, then let’s change the input. Everyone has or thinks they have flaws. Show the world that you don’t need a perfect body for a bikini,

  9. Here’s the hard truth of this – people are insecure because they don’t like their bodies. They also envy of the bodies of other people. For girls, being at the beach with all the other girls in bikinis lets them know exactly how their bodies look and compare. It’s a flat out reality check if they are honest with themselves. It exposes their insecurity and they can’t deal with it.

    This article is a waste of time. “Bikini season” is a monster that lives within your own head. You can either choose to succumb to the pressure or ignore it. But please, don’t act like you are the victim of some menacing force. No one forces you to go to the beach in a bikini. Guys eye each other and feel pressure to look great as well. If we thought girls liked how we looked in speedos, we’d all be wearing them and not complaining about “speedo season.”

    If you feel uncomfortable in a bikini, don’t wear it. No one is forcing you, too. If you feel insecure, deal with it. I’m losing my hair but you know what, I hit the gym, feel great about myself, and the hair will only be hair. We create our own hell, and really

  10. Being insecure about your body does not mean, nor has ever meant, being unhealthy/over weight/under weight. There are perfectly healthy young girls and women, like my self, who do wear bikinis but because we’re sizes 10 – 12, not the size 0 promoted in magazines, people actively come up to us to tell us how “brave” we are. The problem is with the magazines telling people they need to look a certain way in order to feel “proud” and “sexy” to wear something and that, if you don’t look this certain way, it’s a bit weird that you’re wearing them. So, I have a weirder idea than yours, why don’t we stop body shaming in magazines during bikini season, and promote all body types, in stead of the smaller sizes and that if they want to wear a two piece swimming suit, they can.

  11. Not excessive I meant exercise

  12. I have an even weirder idea. Why not instead of being so insecure of your body and worry about how you look, go to the gym, lift some weights, run a mile, and keep your body healthy. Girls need to learn how to keep their body’s and minds healthy with excessive and good diet. Don’t go have that donut or taco bell when your period hits or something upsets you. Learn self control. Bikini season is meant for girls to have fun and show off their beautiful bodies. If you are put down by the pressure of looking good in one then you have two options. 1. Work for the body you want, and keep it. If you don’t want to work for it, then wear a one piece. Simple as that.

  13. You could look good in a bikini,. you could hate a bikini,. but what it comes down to is you. It’s actually a healthy practice to try to be fit and look good instead of promoting hate for something so ridiculous. If you hate it, fine. Don’t wear one. The only thing you should be telling people to look like, is themselves. Do what they feel is happy. Other than that, this post is pointless. “Bikini season” isn’t pushing anyone towards “photoshop perfect” bodies. If you are, you need to wake up. This is life, and you don’t need to look like a supermodel.

    Look at the US. Does it have enough overweight people? I wonder why.

  14. For a site that is attempting to promote the exact opposite of what this post is saying, I am quite shocked. Being concerned about something like ‘bikini season’ and what you look like is a sign of something not being right upstairs.

  15. I have a weird idea. Why don’t you wear what you want instead of complaining it’s “bikini season”? Are you not aloud on the beach unless you are wearing a two piece? Will people think less of you if you are in a one piece? I feel like the majority of men could care less what you wore to the beach (or anywhere else for that matter). All I hear from this is “I am too weak to ignore what the media says I should look like.” I hate to sound so condescending but you should stop trying to find excuses and love who you are!

    • Alex Biandis, I don’t think her point is to complain on her own behalf, but rather raise awareness for readers to examine their true feelings about the matter. As social creatures we depend on and even crave society’s approval. It’s instinctual. I know that many people would argue that you don’t have to be “mainstream” or “obey the media” to be happy, but even those views are part of a social subculture which provides the same sort of system and support. We crave approval from our peers because from a survival standpoint it’s better to be part of a group. These feelings make it hard to distinguish when self judgment and “trying to fit in” becomes unhealthy. A better way to change this destructive behavior is to raise your voice to challenge society’s standards and make others aware of when social standards have become unrealistic or unfair. You may be fine dismissing what the media says, but many others (young women especially) don’t have the self confidence to feel that way without support.

  16. Must be different for guys, that’s my favorite time of year. One quick trip around the beach and my eyes want to pop right out of their sockets. I don’t mean to be this way but society and the media has spoon fed me this crap since I was a child. The other one that gets me is the way women dress to work out. Have you seen the short shorts! Woo hoo, are you working out or going to the club, why do your hair and makeup to go to the gym half naked? Then I’m the bad guy for ‘objectifying’ women. Sorry, but you did that all on your own.

    • Shane,
      Yes, society and the media has “spoon fed” you this, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept it. The first step in breaking this socialization is awareness. So for instance, be aware that a woman can wear whatever she wants, anywhere and does not owe you an explanation. Be aware that your comments contribute to a society that does not see women as people, but as objects. Objectification leads to sexual assault and violence towards women. Lastly, BE AWARE that as male you have more power then you are aware of. This may seem like a harmless comment, but it is not.

      • I agree a woman can wear whatever she wants, whenever she wants, as long as you agree actions have consequences. You can’t participate in a system then go and complain about how terrible it is. Every time I ask women why it is they shave their legs and armpits and wear makeup its because ‘I just like to’, ‘it makes me feel better’ and will not admit that they are sexually objectifying themselves. Do you know who is hairless? Prepubescent girls. People are conditioned by society, media and their parents and still try to claim free will. “The first step in breaking this socialization is awareness”, I think my post demonstrated quite well that I am very much aware, however this awareness has not increased the attractiveness of females I find unattractive. You seem to be reading a lot into my post thinking it is a harmful comment and nothing more than an affirmation of the author’s sentiment.

    • Shane,

      That’s incredibly unfair. Your comments are a huge reason as to why girls feel so uncomfortable with their bodies as are comments from other girls. Some don’t realize that wearing smaller clothes may actually make them look worse but for some reason it actually makes them feel sexy and thats their prerogative. I understand it may not be something you want to see but it’s completely unfair for you to be so judgmental. It’s also not really yours (or anyones) place to throw blame around. I come to this website and read these awesome articles to gain self confidence and I realized that on accident. This article specifically made me feel a lot better about wearing a one piece, this will be the first summer I choose to wear one. I went from being extremely pleased after reading this, to almost hurt. Please just be mindful of what you say.

      • Jamie, sorry if my comment was somehow hurtful. Judgement is human and natural and an evolutionary adaptation to threat and mating, everyone does it, no matter how many times they say they don’t. It is something I want to see, it’s incredibly arousing, but I’m not at fault for the way I feel, nor is there anything wrong with it. Self confidence does not come from reading articles. Explanations for feelings or behaviors are not meant to place blame but to increase understanding.

  17. This is a brilliant article. Ive never felt comfortable in a bikini before this year. I used to be fat and I absolutely hated the summer months. I’ve worked hard for the past year to lose weight and be happy and healthy. So yeah, I now feel comfortable in a bikini but I loathe the idea that that’s the reason people think I did this. I did it for me, not so that I would be more acceptable to society. Wear whatever you feel comfortable in no matter what time of year it is :)

  18. Yes!! I’ve been advocating for this for so long! No one has a right to see my partially nude body without my consent. Also, heavy waves are so much easier to navigate in a one-piece. ;)

  19. LOVE this!! I’m opting for a retro 40′s style 2-piece, high-waisted number this summer. And a huge floppy hat :D