I feel us Brits have been spoiled to a great extent with the soaring temperatures and as known to most in relation to house humidity, ‘sticky weather’ over the past few days, so much so that it’s almost guaranteed it won’t last and by next week any sign of approaching summer will be restored to winter like hibernation mode. All it takes is some beaming sunshine to bring people out of their lairs, for the ice cream by the lake/booze and burgers on the barbecue insta photos and happy mirrored sunnie selfies but unfortunately, hand in hand with that comes the body police because apparently, we still live in a day and age where moralizing comments spout from the mouths of condescending individuals about the way we choose to dress.
Anything past 20 degrees in England means we WILL get over excited (actually, anything above 16 degrees usually means the crop tops are out and the bare legs to follow). It’s only normal to sweep the dust off and bring out the skimpier clothing because when it gets hotter, you get sweatier, and the less clothes you need to bear the often overpowering heat. Right? Right. Only some seem to think the mythical rules solitary apply to a certain one dimensional appearance, the kind that meet their self-proclaimed shallow standards whilst everyone else has to bow down to their demands. And you know what? If there’s an aspect of oppressing and intimidating I loathe so much that I feel the need to talk about it openly, it’s body shaming.
It makes perfectly logical sense to use the nice weather as a chance to express your inner fashionista. For me, I know digging through my wardrobe and then going out shopping because I’ve realised I own next to no summer appropriate non-black garments is a regular occurrence every year and I’m sure that’s the case for many others. Naturally, we’ll opt for the items that reveal at least one part of our body – flaws and all – and actually we’ll be okay with this because A) it allows you to think out of the box when you fancy a style switch, B) it’s a rare occasion to be able to show off your best assets without freezing to death and C) we literally don’t care what anyone thinks. We’ll start off with slut shaming, shall we? The constant insulting digs at women who like to reveal a little cleavage and men labelled as narcissistic if their shirt is whipped off and their defined abs are unveiled. Reality check – it’s old fashioned and quite frankly, boring. Clothes do not define you as a person, they don’t highlight your qualities and speak about your achievements in life but if you’re comfortable and you feel sexy when the sun is shining and the mood is uplifted then go ahead and rock it.
Then there’s fat shaming, the obvious main issue here because as equally hurtful skinny shaming is, conventional beauty standards just don’t seem to convey derogatory when a skinny girl is in a bikini. The whole ‘dress for the body you have, not the body you want’ statement is horrific. I can see it now, the rolled eyes at unbuttoned shirts and prominent belly flab, the gasp in horror at thick thighs in shorts, the instructive observation, a tutting sound and a shake of the head to follow “no way should they be wearing that when they’re that size, they need a pair of leggings to cover up” as though they’re next level Beyonce with a degree in vogue. I’m nowhere near at ease with my not totally slim but not totally fat body and struggle with feeling conscious so I know just what it takes to pluck up the courage to venture outside dressed differently to the usual without great worry and I can’t stand to read or hear snide remarks regarding the way someone looks without my blood pressure rising. Some are more sensitively reactive than others (quite frankly, I applaud and envy those who stride with their head held high not letting any torment affect them), you don’t know what it took to overcome their insecurities whilst the recurrent surveillance confirms their confidence fears.
How dare you tell another human being (with feelings may I add) to cover up or constraint to hide themselves away just because they don’t measure up to your supposed rights and wrongs? Why are people allowed to make others so distressingly uneasy whilst they push the enforcing societal norms upon them? Do you not understand how patronising this sort of response is? I’m sorry it’s so painful for you to catch a sight of cellulite, I’m sorry the view of scars, marks and even bum cheeks make your eyes burn and a muffin top is so offensive. Is that the worst possible circumstance? That you’re uncomfortable with someone else’s decision making in what they wear, not that said person is content and carefree. It speaks in marginal volumes about objectifying society when unattainable, photo-edited magazine a-listers used to sell sex and the latest diet are classed as ideally fine but the real world displeases us. As the saying goes; if you don’t like it, don’t look.
At the end of the day, fashion choices are just that; fashion choices. They’re not limited to a certain constellation nor are they a solid purpose to criticise. Whether it’s an excuse to show off your cracking body, sections of your perfectly imperfect body you’re damn proud of or purely because you want to stay cool – dress for you and you only. Do what you want, make the most of the glorious weather, go all out and buy a swimming pool if you must, just don’t apologise and let anyone stop you from doing your thang!
Are you enjoying the sneak peak of summer without judgement?