Got your bikini bodies ready, ladies? If you have a body, the answer is yes.
But while swimsuit season is now upon us, a lot of women won't be seeing their body shape reflected by the incoming onslaught of ads. The lack of swimwear choices, for one, plus the continuing negative connotation associated with anything "plus-size" (also known as real-size) threatens to keep some non-size zero women from the beach.
But not this year — not if Swimsuits For All has anything to do with it. The empowering swimwear company has been tackling that first obstacle for some time, and now it's having another crack at the second.
Robyn Lawley, plus-size supermodel, and Gabi Gregg, fashion blogger, along with plus-size models Shareefa J and Jada Sezer, have created a swimsuit calendar called "Sexy At Every Curve" as part of the Swimsuits For All line. They even created their own version of the latest Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover. We've got to say, they might have the SI creative team beat on this one.
Image Credit: Swimsuits For All
In a promotional video which accompanies the shoot, the models talk about how fashion and the media propagate the idea of the "perfect" skinny body. These stereptypes teach young women that they don't look right, which can lead to confidence issues, eating disorders and social anxiety.
"I think it's sad that the representatives of women in mainstream culture are usually so small, just because we have such a diversity of sizes in the real world," Gregg said. "What happens is that so many women see those girls and they think they have to look like them."
Lawley — who's made the cover of Vogue, Cosmopolitan and GQ, and worked for major brands such as Ralph Lauren — has long been outspoken on the issue of body size in the fashion industry. She runs a blog called Robyn Lawley Eats and has a cookbook in the works. Remembering how she used to have to wear underwear at the beach, because she couldn't find a bikini to fit her body shape, Lawley said, "I thought this had to change, and I had to change it."
When Gregg released a line of "fatkinis" for Swimsuits For All last year, they sold out instantly and the company was unable to fulfil all the orders, having underestimated demand. One Jezebel commenter wrote, "This has always boggled my mind, that apparently fatphobia can trump capitalism. Because almost nothing trumps capitalism!"
But thanks to campaigners such as these models, and others trying to teach body confidence, the rules are slowly changing; it's no longer unheard of to see curvy women in magazines, for example. A group of Finnish designers recently released the "Monokini," a swimsuit designed for women who have undergone a masectomy. Bodies come in all shapes, sizes and skins, and women should not feel pressured to conform to an unrealistic idea.
Image Credit: Swimsuits For All
"I'm so glad to be part of something that portrays a really healthy image for young girls so they can feel confident when they're growing their lumps and bumps, to know that it's normal and that not everyone has to be a stick insect and not everyone has to be big," Shareefa J said in the video. "You can just be you, and that's fine."