Updated: Oct 26, 2020
By Michelle Guan
Image via Samantha Slin.
Every summer, a phrase often said is, “I’m trying to get a summer body.” This term is referring to society’s perception of the ideal physique –– a flat stomach, muscled arms, and toned legs –– during summer, implying that people should strive to look a certain way and show their bodies off by wearing minimal clothing during that specific season. However, the idea behind a summer body is extremely detrimental because it perpetuates an incorrect perspective of a healthy body, and endorses fitness for only three months of the year instead of all twelve.
The expectation of having a summer body causes misconceptions about a healthy body, such as implying that the main goal for working out is achieving the “perfect” body. There isn’t anything wrong with working out, but you should work out to become healthier and have a body that you are proud of. Furthermore, some people may think that the stereotypical summer body is the only way to be healthy; this may lead to negative habits, such as restrictive dieting, excessively exercising, and self-body shaming. Everybody is different, so no one should feel obligated to change their physical self for the sake of obtaining the “perfect summer body”. Instead of promoting a certain body shape, society should recognize that everyone has different standards for feeling good about their bodies. It shouldn’t be implementing a specific type of body for everyone to attain, because any type of body can be a summer body.
Encouraging a summer body for three months of the year is harmful because it is mainly focused on the superficial aspects (how one looks and is perceived based on their body during the summer). We should strive to be healthy the entire year and motivate others to exercise and eat wisely. By doing this, we can eliminate the pressure to look exceptionally good during a certain time period by focusing on being healthy all the time. Being healthy isn’t about being “summer ready”; it’s more about nourishing our bodies, so we can live long and happy lives.
Thanks to many fitness influencers and magazines/blog posts with misleading titles, we usually focus on exercising solely to look “fit” according to the media’s standards, which is extremely unhealthy since the media disregards that everyone is different. It should promote true body positivity by encouraging us to treat our bodies with love. It’s okay to work out or lose/gain weight if it will make you feel happier and healthier, so embrace your body, because it doesn’t need to meet the conventional body standards to be beautiful.
Written by writer Michelle Guan