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Every Time A Character Nailed Our Bathing Suit Insecurities

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    We already know that the bikini can play a pivotal role on screen. In fact, there are times when everything you need to know about a character can be summed up by the two-piece in question. Consider, for example, the vibrant suits in Spring Breakers that embody the girls' need to feel noticed.

    But it's not always that simple. There are those who use the swimsuit not to pander to the male gaze, but to call out the bullshit, problematic feelings that often come with being half-naked in the first place. So, we've put together 11 examples of moments when movies and TV reassured us that we're not alone.

    Not every example is going to seem empowering at face value. There are some moments that will undoubtedly make you say, "Well, why is this in here? This character's not delivering the bikini takedown I was promised!" But in those instances, we encourage you to consider the bigger picture. Is Olive's swimsuit segment in the Little Miss Sunshine pageant feminist? Well, not really. But the scene itself illustrates just how batshit crazy those toddlers-in-tiara contests can be.

    Ahead, your insecurities about beach season, as depicted through the trials of 11 completely fictional women.

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    0 of 11

    She’s All That (1999)
    Laney Boggs and her probably-boyfriend Zack are hitting up the beach. This is fine. They live in California, where teenagers can just go to the beach whenever they want. Laney’s a cool gal and doesn’t necessarily need the validation of her peers, but that doesn’t mean said peers aren’t going to comment on her bathing suit if they feel like it. She takes off her overalls to reveal a simple, black one-piece suit. Dean, the resident jerk, can’t help but flying his douche flag about it. “Check out the bobos on super freak,” he says to Zack. “You know from up here, she almost looks normal.”

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    1 of 11

    Miss Congeniality (2000)
    She doesn’t have breasts or thighs! The last time she was this naked, she was coming out of a uterus! Gracie Hart has a lot of reasons why she should be more covered up for the swimsuit portion of the beauty contest — and they all feel like they’ve been pulled straight from our worst thoughts about ourselves.

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    2 of 11

    As Told by Ginger (2001)
    Ah, the coed pool party. What a tweenage nightmare! You feel like an alien in your own body, all you care about is being cool, and 80% of the kids your age are just plain mean, as they have not yet experienced the whopping backslap that is karma. First of all, if you were even THINKING of wearing a one-piece to this thing, don’t. Courtney, the popular one, tells Ginger and her friends, “You’ll definitely want to be wearing a bikini. I wouldn’t be seen without one!” But there are a couple of cruel girls who have plans to play a prank on Courtney that involves taking off her bikini top and, like, totally embarrassing her! This scene is straight out of every 12-year-old's insecurity nightmares, even though sisterhood prevails in the end.

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    3 of 11

    White Chicks (2004)
    Megan and Heather are upset after reading about starving kids in Africa. “Why can’t I be that skinny?” It actually brings Megan to tears. In this scene, they seem kind of insane. Obviously, that's not an appropriate reaction. But many of us have looked at magazine pictures and subsequently wished our bodies looked different. This scene heightens that feeling to a ridiculous level to remind us just how silly that idea is.

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    Eurotrip (2004)
    Jenny actually seems really secure and comfortable in her bikini here. It’s everyone else who's shaky. Watch how she becomes an instant object for all the guys to run after, just because she’s wearing a bathing suit. It’s a reminder that women are so often subject to gross behavior, and that unwanted attention can be reason enough to wear a full-on parka to the beach sometimes.