6 Striking Portraits Show Beach Life in Ghana

Photographed by Nana Kofi Acquah.
What is a "bikini body"? In the U.S., the phrase often evokes thinness, a flat stomach, and toned limbs. We get this message from many sources: magazines, movies, and — perhaps most troubling — from our peers. Since summer makes us all the more aware of these standards and how our bodies "measure up," Refinery29 set out to explore how women in the U.S. and abroad feel about their bodies (on the beach and off).

We sent reporters and photographers to six international beaches to report on the global experience of being a woman on the shore.

Here, six women on La Pleasure Beach in Accra, Ghana tell their stories.

It's your body. It's your summer. Enjoy them both. Read more Take Back The Beach stories here.

1 of 6
Photographed by Nana Kofi Acquah.
Tashi Makeda

"I don't think about how I look when I'm at the beach — I just like to be in the water. The body is just a shell, and everybody has a body. We are not supposed to look the same. People might judge me, especially because I have tattoos and an eyebrow piercing, but I just allow it and smile over it. I don’t have any problem with my body."
2 of 6
Photographed by Nana Kofi Acquah.
Christabel Frimpong

"I feel comfortable and cool, and I like the way I am. I'm wearing what [everyone else on the beach] is wearing right now, so why should they judge me?"
3 of 6
Photographed by Nana Kofi Acquah.
Fatima Abdul Karim

"I'm from Mali, visiting relatives here. I feel 100% confident right now. My legs look nice. I don't know what size I am; I just try on clothes and if any of them fit, I buy them."
4 of 6
Photographed by Nana Kofi Acquah.
Judith Mensah

"I just went through my things and felt like wearing this to the beach with my family. I feel confident right now, because I am happy. [There are some things] I don't like about the way I look: My face has pimples, and I have stretch marks at my armpit. But, I like my thighs, legs, and stomach — they are beautiful."
5 of 6
Photographed by Nana Kofi Acquah.
Divina Mensah

"I think a lot of people are judging me right now. Some tell me they like the way I look, and others secretly make fun of me. But, God created everyone differently, so I can’t judge anyone. And, I'm okay with my body."
6 of 6
Photographed by Nana Kofi Acquah.
Rosemary Kusi

"I would rate my confidence level at 50%, because I'm not bold enough. But, I don't feel pressure to change my body — I love the way I am. [If anything, I'd want to] gain a little weight in my hips and ass. People love hips and ass, and the more you gain weight on your body, your beauty also increases."