Summer body expectations are no longer in style

Julissa Rangel

Many young girls are faced with impossible expectations and feel that they have to fit into the ideal summer body image.

With the inevitable summer heat of California comes impossible expectations for young girls being able to fit into bikinis and failing to do so results in them being shamed for not having a “Summer body.”

The ideal “Summer Body” isn’t something most are born with. So many suppositions are put on girls causing body-image issues, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, suicidal tendencies and over-exercising, all capable of damaging mental, emotional, and physical health. Girls today are encouraged to eat smaller, more “healthy” portions and expected to exercise vigorously. We’d like to think that girls in their 20’s who can easily find help are the only victims, but a Common Sense Media study released in 2012 revealed that grade school aged children began dieting in attempts to resemble popular cartoon characters or toys.

Although some might believe that the term may be motivation to get fit, “Summer Body” is nothing more than a societal scam. It drives people to thinking they need to change things about themselves to seem attractive and fit into clothing they’d otherwise never wear. Summer bodies are something we need to stop preaching about if we genuinely want children to love and appreciate themselves. It’s unrealistic to expect that girls don’t touch a single carb because they’ll immediately get obese, their metabolisms come to a halt, and they’ll immediately develop diabetes. They’re stereotypical traits, and not ones that necessarily describe all full-bodied people. Unless you’re a doctor who was asked for their professional advice or opinion, there is no reason for you to so rudely impose on people who didn’t ask for it.

Having bought into so many fads that have influenced the way I live upsets me the most about the concept of being “Summer ready.” I never had anyone my size to look up to. It’s just now that a plethora of inspirational, plus-sized, body positive women have gained popularity and have encouraged their fans to embrace their “flaws”, to love their body, and most importantly – to love themselves. It’s taken fifteen years, but I’ve come to the conclusion that everybody, including myself, has a summer body regardless of what anyone thinks.

Although learning to love your body and yourself is a long process, it’s worth every minute of it, believe me. It’s past time to begin encouraging our girls and boys to believe the same.

“I am still in the process of (learning to love) my body,” said freshman Angie Rumbo. “I think everyone still is because there will always be a little thing that will bother you about yourself, but I hope to get to that point in my life where I completely love my body.”