Plus-size blogger Gemma-Louise Bond is speaking out against "swimsuit fear" and the body stigma that leads to it. As she writes in a recent Facebook post, "The internet largely portrays slim girls in a 2 piece bikinis and it literally hurts my heart. That will never be me and so many young women are driving for a perfection that's unattainable."
It's absolutely true. In fact, 73% of women told Refinery29 in a survey that wearing a swimsuit or bikini to the beach was their biggest cause of stress when it came to their bodies.
"I really worry about the younger girls in my life that feel self conscious having fun in the sun with their friends," Bond said in her post. So she decided to put images out there that these girls aren't seeing in traditional media, of her size 14 body having fun at the beach.
"I have never in my life taken a picture in a swimsuit and put it anywhere, never mind for over 10,000 of you! I want to be a different sort of role model — whether that be for you or your daughters who might read my blog," she wrote.
"I have back fat, big boobs and stretch marks galore. But my body has carried me through 25 years of ups and downs including multiple surgeries. I grew up with a wonderful role model in my mum — someone who always looked amazing in a swimsuit no matter what size because of her attitude and confidence."
It's that same attitude that Bond is trying to showcase for other girls, and an attitude that has thankfully been catching on. In the past few years, other women and girls have taken to social media to share their messages of facing swimsuit fear and coming away victorious. Earlier this summer, a 13-year-old girl "conquered her fear" by wearing her first swimsuit publicly at the beach. And a mum who was wearing a bikini at the beach with her young daughter took the opportunity to give her a positive association with stretch marks, by explaining them as "glitter stripes" and pointing out their beauty.
These women, like Bond, are creating a new picture of who looks good in a swimsuit (hint: it's everyone) and we couldn't be happier.
"So for my own sanity (and I hopefully for some of yours), enjoy your life," Bond wrote. "The only one that cares about your swimsuit selfie is you. Rock what you got."
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