Body Positive Vibes for the Summer: Every Body Is a Beach Body
It’s summer, y’all, and you know what that means; the days are getting longer, the shorts are getting shorter, and the pressure to have a tight bod is reaching its annual high.
That’s right, it’s the season of the “beach body,” when we’re bombarded with pictures of too-good-to-be-true, Photoshopped-to-perfection, sparkly sun-kissed bodies, accompanied by 21-day plans to get “bathing-suit ready.”
Upon exiting the soft and cozy layers of thick-knit sweaters and puffy coats and digging out your tanks and shorts, it can be hard to remember that every body is already a beach body.
Luckily there are Body Positive warriors and role models who can remind us of the power of celebrating and loving our bodies exactly as they are, instead of forcing our bodies to change shape in order to feel “good enough.” Do you know how much energy you would be wasting doing diets and sit-ups that could instead be spent soaking up those rays while reading an amazing book?
Being Body Positive, or BoPo (we love this abbrev!), means refusing to agree with cultural norms that say that if your body isn’t thin, toned, tall, and fully able, then there is something you need to “fix” in order for your beauty to be acceptable.
Now that’s a message we can get behind!
Whether you have Body Positive role models already or this is a totally new world to you, here are some BoPo activists who are celebrating the movement on Instagram:
1. Megan Jayne Crabbe
Megan Jayne Crabbe (@bodyposipanda) is well-known for her BoPo posts on Instagram that champion the healing journey of living post-eating disorder. Her frankness about her experiences (and her belly rolls!) makes her oh-so-lovable and a total inspiration!
2. Kelvin Davis
Kelvin Davis (@notoriouslydapper) is the creator of the BoPo blog “Notoriously Dapper,” which celebrates the style and swag of men of all sizes. The BoPo movement isn’t only for women, since beauty standards can affect us all. We’re so glad that men are also learning to embrace their bodies and own their style.
3. Jessamyn Stanley
A total boss and yogi activist, Jessamyn Stanley (@mynameisjessamyn) is changing what people picture when they imagine a yoga body. Her unapologetic attitude about her strength and worthiness empower others to live out loud and embrace their curves.
4. Troy Solomon
Troy Solomon (@abearnamedtroy) uses humor and confidence to contribute to the BoPo movement on his Instagram. He made a splash on the scene with his movement #BearItAll, asking people from all over the Internet to share their insecurities to encourage the “immense power in embracing insecurities.”
The YA community has also embraced the BoPo movement, and we love it! There are so many authors who are fearlessly creating characters and stories that both shed light on the tough topics of eating disorders and body image and celebrate bodies that come in all shapes and sizes. Here are some of our favorite BoPo books:
1. Holding Up the Universe
By Jennifer Niven
A heart-wrenching story about what it means to see someone—and love someone—for who they truly are.
Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, and for love.
Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. So he tells himself to play it cool.
Until he meets Libby. The more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. . . . Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.
Dubbed Dumplin’ by her former beauty queen mom, Willowdean has always been at home in her own skin. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.
Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.
Eleanor . . . red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough . . . Eleanor.
Park . . . He knows if she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises . . . Park.
Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.
Fifteen-year-old Virginia Shreves has a larger-than-average body and a plus-size inferiority complex. She lives on the Web, snarfs junk food, and follows the “Fat Girl Code of Conduct.” Her stuttering best friend has just moved to Walla Walla (of all places). Her new companion, Froggy Welsh the Fourth (real name), has just succeeded in getting his hand up her shirt, and she lives in fear that he’ll look underneath.
Then there are the other Shreves: Mom, the successful psychologist and exercise fiend; Dad, a top executive who ogles thin women on TV; and older siblings Anaïs and rugby god Byron, both of them slim and brilliant. Delete Virginia, and the Shreves would be a picture-perfect family. Or so she’s convinced. And then a shocking phone call changes everything.
Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in fragile bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the thinnest. But then Cassie suffers the ultimate loss—her life—and Lia is left behind, haunted by her friend’s memory and racked with guilt for not being able to help save her. In her most powerfully moving novel since Speak, award-winning author Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia’s struggle, her painful path to recovery, and her desperate attempts to hold on to the most important thing of all: hope.
Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love. No matter how many times her twin sister, Cassie, tells her to woman up, Molly can’t stomach the idea of rejection. So she’s careful. Fat girls always have to be careful.
Then a cute new girl enters Cassie’s orbit, and for the first time ever, Molly’s cynical twin is a lovesick mess. Meanwhile, Molly’s totally not dying of loneliness—except for the part where she is. Luckily, Cassie’s new girlfriend comes with a cute hipster-boy sidekick. If Molly can win him over, she’ll get her first kiss and she’ll get her twin back.
There’s only one problem: Molly’s coworker, Reid. He’s a chubby Tolkien superfan with a season pass to the Ren Faire, and there’s absolutely no way Molly could fall for him.
Every year on her birthday, Ashley Perkins gets a card from her grandmother—a card that always contains a promise: lose enough weight, and I will buy your happiness.
Ashley doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with the way she looks, but no amount of arguing can persuade her grandmother that “fat” isn’t a dirty word—that Ashley is happy with her life, and her body, as it is. But Ashley wasn’t counting on having her dreams served up on a silver platter at her latest birthday party. She falters when Grandmother offers the one thing she’s always wanted: tuition to attend Harvard University, in exchange for undergoing weight-loss surgery.
As Ashley grapples with the choice that little white card has given her, she feels pressured by her friends, her family, even administrators at school. But what’s a girl to do when the reflection in her mirror seems to bother everyone but her?
Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her the Duff, she throws her Coke in his face.
But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.
Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.