Don’t give in to summer beauty standards


Illustration by Maria DiGiorgio

Feeling confident in summer clothes can be a challenge as society puts pressure on people to fit unrealistic beauty standards.

We are told stomach fat needs to be sucked in when taking photos, that stretch marks are not a natural part of life but rather something to cover up. Women’s hair that grows naturally on legs must be shaved; men must have bulging muscles. These messages are ingrained into our world and into each of our minds from a very young age. Yet, it is virtually impossible and entirely unrealistic to have society’s “perfect” body. The beauty standards and insecurities that come from them are constantly put on display, especially as it begins to reach summer and the warm weather. 

With the influx of bathing suits, shorts, tank tops and flip flops within  our everyday wardrobe, many people find themselves overly self-critical now that more of their skin is showing. In the media, we see only one type of body marketed as a “summer body”: thin and usually white, with no excess stomach fat or thicker thighs. The models we see gracing our television screens and magazines do not reflect the reality of the human body. Some of them are edited, while others use flattering angles and conventionally beautiful people. People like the Kardashians get surgeries to change what they look like, while cultivating a following that worships them for their appearance. These issues have existed for generations, but social media has exacerbated this issue, as our everyday feeds are covered with posts of strangers and friends in picture perfect poses. 

Unrealistic beauty standards exist for everyone; they are not defined to one gender or group. Women are told they must be almost childlike (hairless, light, small, thin) while men are told quite the opposite. They must be “manly” with toned skin, a six pack, and a “rugged” appearance. No matter who you are, it is easy to get swept up in the idea that you have to change your body for summer. Many people think that warmer months ahead means it’s time to pick a new diet and start going to the gym seven days a week. While those aspects can contribute to a healthy lifestyle, they need to be achieved through proper motivation and a healthy mental state along with being in shape physically. They should not come from a place of wanting to change what you look like to conform to society’s convoluted standards of beauty.

It’s much easier said than done, but we must allow ourselves to love our bodies. We have to embrace the imperfections, because that is what makes us human. There is no one size fits all for beauty. Everyone has a “summer body.”