I'm a feminist and I like the 2016 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

I'm a feminist and I like the 2016 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

So Ashley Graham is on the cover on the 2016 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.

I'm pretty excited that a "plus-size" model has graced the cover of this famed publication.

You're probably thinking, "Noel, you're supposed to be a feminist, right? What are you doing looking at the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue?"

Bikini Body

You know the feeling when it's time to take off your clothes..... 

and put on your swimsuit. 

I always used to put off shopping for a swim suit. Right around March, the spring break swimsuit line would start popping up at stores. Facebook ads for bikinis emerged as I pranced around the interwebs each day. 

The subtle and insidious approach of "swimsuit season" would lie just below the surface of my consciousness.  

I'd spend a few moments in the mirror after removing my 10th layer of sweaters and pants because it's still cold outside in New York in March. I'd do a quick evaluation, "Can I pull off a bikini right now?" 

I'd compare my body to Kate Upton's on the cover of Sports Illustrated thinking, "She's like 'curvy,'" so it felt fair. I'd note the cellulite on my butt and thighs, check my stomach, and my arms. 

Always, I was disappointed. I never measured up.   I'd vow to start the diet tomorrow whether it was no carbs, no cheese, no sugar, or just 200 fewer calories. I'd research causes of cellulite, belly fat and exercises to get "bikini ready."

UGHHHHHHHHH! Here's the stupidest thing: I spend like 10 days total a year in a bikini. I'm not even a beach bum. As a competitive swimmer, outdoor swimsuits for me have almost always been about being an athlete, swim instructor, or lifeguard (aka I wear a one piece because I actually need to be able to swim without letting all the goodies out). I legit don't really have that much time for the beach. 

Why the HELL did I spend so much of my life preparing for 10 days of the year?!!!

And so, here are some reasons why you, too, can stop caring about "getting bikini body ready:"

1. Your shape should never regulate your behavior. 

Many women don't do fun things in their life because they're worried about their appearance. As a water baby. I can tell you the beach is a blast and it should never be missed because you feel like you don't look like Kate Upton in a bikini. Um, hello, can you say body surfing? 

If you're really worried, go into the water and use the water as a cover up. The sand usually makes you pretty opaque. As a bonus, you can still soak up some sun because the water is reflective.  

If you're not a water baby, reading fiction and basking in the glory of our closest star to earth is truly transcendental. Just, you know: wear sunscreen, please. 

2. Support body diversity by being a diverse body. 

I just want to say you are definitely not the only human being on the beach without a magazine beach body. In fact, not even the people on the magazines have beach bodies. Any human who has watched one of those time-lapse videos of Photoshop magic knows that glossy magazine bodies are unicorns anyway. 

So, let's all help each other be satisfied with the bodies we all already have by showing them off. Studies show that seeing more diverse bodies makes people more comfortable with more diverse bodies which is kind of like, duh, but it's important. 

3. It's kind of feminist to wear a bikini whatever your size. 

As my home girl Laci Green mentions in this video, bikinis started as a form of liberation afters years of sexual repression so bikinis are kind #TBT feminism. 

Also, if it's hot outside and you want to go swimming, you should just go. Suffering is silly. You don't have to punish yourself any more, lady. 


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