Where did the phrase bikini body come from? And what exactly does it mean? Any woman can wear a bikini — as these plus-size gals recently made clear on the website xojane.com — though the phrase implies that doing so requires some kind of license or validation by a third-party certifying body.
I’ve never worn a bikini because, like many women, I don’t feel I have ‘the body for it.’ At the same time, I’ve never really made much of an effort to either a) get the body I feel is necessary to wear a bikini or b) grow up and put a stupid bathing suit on without all of the annual ‘I’m not worthy’ angst.
A recent survey (via The Daily Mail) by Shape magazine indicates that the ‘bikini body’ is something many women consider to represent the gold standard of perfection — so much so that they’d be willing to give up sex for a month in order to experience the thrill of having a certifiable bikini body.
File the finding under ‘Surprise, surprise’ but the survey revealed that more than 80 percent of women feel pressured to lose weight, tighten and tone in the summer. All that anxiety about cellulite, love handles, roly-poly upper arms and fatty knees has many women wishing they could strike a deal with the devil, giving up the benefits of intimacy for the fantasy of self-confidence.
While arguably the survey reveals just how coveted bikini-wearing status is among women, what the survey really indicates is the fact that most women don’t want to wear a bikini as much as they want to feel confident in their own skin — so confident that they can show it off and for one glorious afternoon not worry about rolls, dimples and wiggly bits.
The bikini is just a symbol of that blissful freedom that can only come when we let go of the ideal of perfection. When we lie back on the sand and soak up the sun, giving absolutely no thought to our wiggly bits, our rolls, or our fatty knees.
In the end, you don’t have to give up sex to have a bikini body, but you do have to give up on all that ‘I don’t have the body’ angst.