Bikini Pic Breakdown

by Ryan Benson

Illustration by Sally Sasz

It is March. I know this not only because I write it on the top right corner of pages and pages of lined-paper daily (skooooooool amiright), but because my Instagram feed recently acquired a new motif: bikini pictures. Ahhhh, yes. Spring break means many things (strawberry daiquiris, Netflix, forced family fun), but perhaps the most ubiquitous thing spring break means to our social-media-enslaved society is, you guessed it, bikini pics.

There's always a lot of talk surrounding pictures of women and girls in swimsuits. Rarely this talk is positive. My mom thinks bikini pictures are "tacky" and "inappropriate." My dad warns me that if I post one it may prevent me from getting job offers or acceptance letters to certain colleges. Some of my friends deem swimsuit photos "slutty." These reactions to women in swimsuits not only infuriate me, but they incite me to ponder looming questions in  my, and many other girls', lives. I mean, when women celebrate their bodies why do we (meaning, like, everyone, like, society) feel inclined to view them as inappropriate or promiscuous?  Why can my brother post a picture in a swimsuit and my dad think nothing of it, but when I post a picture in a swimsuit my future is suddenly on the line? Why do we scrutinize bikini pictures, searching for flaws in our friends and peers? When a girl posts a picture of herself in a swimsuit, why can't we all just appreciate the fact that she feels comfortable enough with her body to show it off? 

A swimsuit picture is not just a picture, it's a proclamation. It's a girl saying, "This is my body. Yes, believe it or not, my body is that of a woman. I am a woman! I like my womanly body. I'm comfortable in it." That, my friends, is what I like to call phunkyphresh self-confidence. Yes, self-confidence is unspeakably phunkyphresh, indeed. So I propose we all make an effort to stop shaming women for having, dare I say, confidence! Let's cut the lambasting and scrutiny and make an effort to cultivate confidence in all women, eh? Why don't we stop looking for flaws in others? Why don't we come to terms with the fact that many women, in addition to having outstanding brains and very warm hearts, have boobs and vaginas! Now that would be doing society a major favor, amiright? 

Finally, I'd like to see a little more variety in body type of bikini pics. If you have abs of steel, that's awesome! Post a pic, flaunt your stuff, do your thang. But if you don't have abs of steel (I know I don't), you shouldn't let that hold you back from publicly proclaiming your body's awesomeness. If you have curves, a little love-handle action, some cellulite here and there (hey, I know I do), then take ownership of that! Use the hashtag #phunkyphreshbod on your swimsuit pics this spring and summer and tag us on Instagram (@youthbyryan) to spread the word about "Bikini Pic Breakdown." 

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