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.