Summertime Brings the Pressure of Body Image

Summer’s sun is up, high is the sky, beating down on the sandy beaches. It is that time of year again, a time of self-hate, self-consciousness, pressure to look good, and trying to have bodies like celebrities. This is summer’s pressure. 

When summer rolls around teenagers get this sometimes overwhelming pressure to have a “summer body” or “bikini body” just to look good laying out on the beach or by the pool.

“I think that the pressure is on in society. [For women] the dream body is like a 20’’ waist, 40’’ hips, you’re always tan, no stretch marks–you have perfect skin basically,” said SMHS sophomore Reina Fritz. “The pressure is definitely on with models and stuff and all these bikinis but I think we should all learn to be comfortable in our own  bodies because everyone is beautiful.”

Social media is fake, and it is toxic. This absolutely does not help with the issue of body image during the summer. Picture after picture of a “slim-thick” celebrity that has been airbrushed to hide every single flaw, appear on our screens everyday; ones in bikinis and bathing suits during the summer. Our society has conditioned people, teenagers, to be ashamed of normal things like belly rolls, stretch marks, cellulite, the list goes on. 

In 2019, a Harvard study found, at least 50% of 13 year old girls have said they were significantly unhappy with their body and only one out of three, 17 year old girls, had not been on a diet. Long term effects can come from thinking like this and comparing yourself to others. These include: depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.

It may feel like you are the only one being stressed out because you do not look like celebrities or are confident in your body, truth is, everyone feels it at some point, especially with summer coming up and the past year’s pandemic.

“As a result of the pandemic, many adults as well as teens have gained weight due to the stress, social isolation, and feelings of deprivation from outside activists,” said Don MacMannis, Ph.D. Psychologist and Clinical Director of Family Therapy Institute in Santa Barbara. “Many will soon obsess about weight loss, and the trend toward short shorts doesn’t help!”

The way to overcome this pressure is to love yourself and be comfortable and confident to wear the clothes, bathing suits, etc. that you want to wear.

“I think that I personally don’t feel the pressure to get that ‘summer body’ because I feel comfortable in my body,” said SMHS sophomore Rylie Tuttle. “I think that everybody should learn to love themselves just as they are because they are beautiful in their own skin and just exactly the way they were made.”

By the time it is summer, hopefully others will be confident and comfortable in their own body, too. Recently people on Tik Tok have been fabulous examples of this. 

There are Tik Tok trends going around where people are showing what makeup, texture, insecurities, and bodies are like in real life, not on social media or in studio lighting. The TikTokers that participate in these new trends have a great amount of confidence and are so confident in themselves and their bodies that they show their “insecurities” on a social media platform! Furthermore, most of the people doing these trends wear a bathing suit or bikini in the Tik Toks because they know a lot of people experience body consciousness during the summertime. Another Tik Tok trend has half of someone’s face in a filter and half not in a filter as the person voice-overs (“how it is normal to have texture on your face”, “the beauty in our ‘flaws’” and more).  While social media can be hurtful, other good things can come from it too like these trends and their goals to make people know that their bodies are normal and beautiful, not shameful.

Along with fun games in the sun brought by summer, body image pressure is brought as well. It is important to discuss this and be aware of it. Always know you are beautiful just the way you are. Instead of focusing on all the “flaws” society has conditioned you to hate, focus on the stunning features you, and only yourself have, like Reina and Rylie said, be comfortable in your own skin and love yourself.