Embrace Summer

by Natalie Gornstein, LICSW

The Body Image documentary “Embrace” has been widely screened in the US and beyond since it last appeared on our blog. Taryn Brumfit’s message of body acceptance is being heard around the world. I watched the movie twice and like many others left the theatre thinking, “this is great, but now what? How do I carry this message into my everyday life?”  Despite feeling empowered by the cause while sitting in a theatre filled with like-minded women (and a few men!), I had a difficult time remembering what I just felt so passionately about  once I walked out into the big bad world of body shaming. 

This year for Valentine’s Day, Brumfit published a list of “50 Ways to Embrace.”  The full list can be found here: https://bodyimagemovement.com/50-ways-to-embrace/

My personal favorite, especially this time of year, is #43 – “To get a bikini body, put on a bikini.”

What a novel concept! It doesn’t say anything about losing weight before trying on or wearing that bikini, there is nothing about not wearing a bathing suit even when its 100 degrees and one is at the pool, nor is there anything about wearing a bathing suit that one doesn’t like but covers up “problem areas.”  It simply says to put on a bikini.

We all know that for many women putting on a bikini is not a simple thing to do. But what if all that time and energy spent thinking about how we look in a bathing suit could be directed toward enjoying the experience of swimming, playing, laughing? Could we try it just once and see how it goes?  I see many women in my practice who want to help their children develop a healthy body image and end the transgenerational experience of body shame. One of the best ways to encourage this is showing body confidence.  So this summer, put on that bathing suit. It doesn’t have to be a bikini, any kind will do. Put in on and play in the water, sun, sand….hopefully you will be putting a smile on too.