We had no idea so many women had this swimsuit fear, but we’re glad things are changing

Thanks to the hard work of body image activists, heightened visibility of different body types, and the UNDENIABLE sexiness of “fatkinis,” we’ve experienced a huge shift in the definition of “bikini body” in recent years.

But to paraphrase T.Swift, when it comes to beach body pressures, we’re not out of the woods yet. Case in point: a new study commissioned by Planet Fitness found that one-third of women would rather GO TO THE DENTIST than wear a bikini. Like, think about what a trip to the dentist entails: all the horrible drilling and scraping noises. A hygienist making small talk with you while your mouth is full of metal tools and you can only gurgle answers. Getting shamed for admitting that maybe, sometimes, like once a week when you’re really tired, you don’t floss. For 33% of Americans, THAT is still preferable to slipping on a two-piece swimsuit.

Obviously the style of swimsuit you wear is up to you and it’s totally fine if you just personally don’t feel comfortable wearing a bikini. Heck, maybe you even really like going to the dentist! But if that discomfort is stemming from hating your tummy or a fear of that cute lifeguard might think, it’s worth examining more closely. Another stat from the same study that might help: 76% of people admit they are more critical of their own appearance in a bathing suit than that of others. In other words, no one else at the beach is judging you as harshly as you are.

All that love and acceptance and “you go girl” vibes you feel when you see another woman rocking a two-piece? Give yourself some of that, too.

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