Let’s Talk About The “Summer Body”

Summer is just about a month away, and everyone is starting to prepare for the warm weather. Planning vacations, buying new outfits, and working hard to get their summer body. The phrase “summer body” stems from the phrase “bikini body“, which become popularized in a 1961 ad campaign from a chain of weight loss salons known as Slenderella International. The ad promoted specific body types that are ‘more suited’ for Summer. This included slender legs, firm hips, and a hand span waist. The promotion shamed women who do not fit this description, claiming that they are being lazy and could lose weight simply by laying on a vibrating table.

The modern day bikini body is known as the summer body. The name has changed to make it seem more inclusive, but the reality is that it is the exact same concept. There are a number of factors that contribute to making this idea harmful. Alarming diets and workout routines, buying clothing that doesn’t fit, and influencers online are all factors feeding in this problematic phrase of “the summer body.”

Like the tweet says, the phrase is not something that is meant to be encouraging, but rather harmful to people who may already struggle with body image. It implies that there is a certain body type that people should have in order to enjoy summer. Many people will engage in dangerous practices to achieve this ‘ideal’ body. Unhealthy practices, such as prioritizing an unrealistic diet over necessary nutrients are very common amongst people working on maintaining their summer body. There are thousands of articles online with specific diet recommendations for summer bodies. Some of these diets include ridiculous standards like cutting out major food groups and lowering the proper calorie intake.

Another way people may try to prepare for the summer body is by purchasing clothing that is too small for them, with the goal of working hard enough to be able to fit into the clothes by summertime. A survey in the UK found that 48% of women admit to buying clothing too small, because they feel as though they need the incentive to lose weight. These actions may lead women to feeling like they have failed if they don’t fit into the clothing by summertime.

TikTok has become a major source of information to younger generations, specifically through paid influencers. These influencers promote the idea of the summer body through different workout routines and food diets. Many of these influencers like to focus on short-term workout routines that promise results quickly. The reality is, results take time. It is unlikely to see major body changes from exercise within a few days or weeks. This can be discouraging for young girls who were promised fast results, which can fuel negative body thoughts, or even cause body dysmorphia.

The bottom line is, the idea of the ideal summer body should not be something that is promoted and talked about in the way it currently is all over social media. Every single body is a “summer body”, and the only requirement for that should be having a body in the summertime.

10 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About The “Summer Body”

  1. This is something that is super relevant, especially with people in high school and college. It is such a big pressure and I know I have fallen into that myself. Thanks for talking about this!


  2. I think now is a good time to be talking about the issue of body representation and rhetoric around it considering we are entering warm weather months. This post makes me think about a unit I learned in a pop culture and diversity communication class about how being fat is stigmatized and how language and representation of fat people can worsen their marginalization by painting their body as a condition to be fixed rather than just a body. Hopefully we can see progression in places other than occasional social media influencers and narrow depictions of bodies in movies and think of bodies more as bodies than health or status.


  3. I really liked this article and I think it was the perfect time to post it. As the school year is ending and summer is approaching the gym is more crowded than ever. I think everyone is trying to work toward their ‘summer body’, including me. Yet, I feel like anybody is a summer body. The term is stupid and I think anyone can wear what they want when they want, no matter how they look.


  4. This was a really good read. I personally have been able to relate as I let negative thoughts about my “summer body” trump how I actually need to care for my body. This term is very hurtful and I’ve seen how it affects myself and other women and girls in my life.


  5. Thanks for writing about this. I’m glad that topics like these are becoming more open to talk about because I feel like before this, society just used to accept this standard. I’m glad we’re calling it out because it’s so harmful to so many


  6. I really enjoyed how relatable this post was. Not only do women (and men) our age struggle with physical appearances around this time of year, I think this topic is especially prominent with college students.


  7. This is something I have struggled with myself, especially when I was younger.
    Having the “perfect summer body,” and it gave me such a negative image of my body and myself. I have started to love my body for how it takes cares of me and keeps me alive, which I couldn’t do before. This article was great in explaining in explaining the harm behind pushing this image, especially to children.


  8. This was really awesome to read about! Thank you for picking this! I used to catch myself restricting foods because “summer is coming up”, and I have finally gotten over it! This blog post explained everything perfectly!


  9. This was an awesome read! I personally struggle with this idea of having the “right summer body” every year; especially since I no longer play sports year round like I did in high school. I have only recently started to appreciate my body for what is and what it does, which is keeping me alive and well. Thanks for sharing your insight on this!!!


  10. Thank you for addressing the problems with a ‘bikini body’! I did not wear bikinis for a long time because I felt like my body was not meant for them, but that is BS. The narrative pushed by social media and media in general is harmful.


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