Sex(ism) on the Beach

Closet misogynists, look away now.

Beach bikini Cambridge columnist Feminism summer Tab

GABRIELLE McGUINNESS, Week Two: Body talk

Yes, this is another article about “the woes of being a woman and the pressures we face.” Deal with it

Perhaps you’ve already escaped to London during term time or, more likely, you’ve been cracking on with some ‘revision’ of your Facebook newsfeed and been repulsed by the disgusting adverts plastered across the Underground asking “ARE YOU BEACH BODY READY?” to promote their even more despicable weight loss product.

Since there’s no doorman on the beach who will check to see if you have a Victoria’s Secret model body before allowing you entry then yes, we are all beach ready. Quite frankly, I couldn’t care less about preparing for summer because I’d rather contemplate important issues such as which Avenger would be best in bed or how I’d like to brutally murder Katie Hopkins if she were on Game of Thrones.

Now this guy know what being beach ready is all about

Now this guy know what being beach ready is all about

Even though these posters were graffitied by heroic feminists and there’s news they will be removed from the tube in a few days, I can’t ignore that this advert does work to some extent. There are those wonderful first few days of warm weather when I’m so happy that I’m not shackled by a coat that any fears of removing more layers do not occur. Suddenly, I am bludgeoned with the great axe of insecurity that is ‘bikini fear’, which transforms an incredible summer into a lingering hug with a creepy uncle that you just want to end.

Clearly the only way to survive summer is to buy an overpriced protein weight loss product, a yellow bikini, get a spray-tan and become blonde. I’m not an idiot and I won’t do this, but I’m definitely not alone in being sucked in.

The only sex on the beach anyone's having this summer...

The only sex on the beach anyone’s having this summer…

Saying ‘it’s what’s on the inside that counts’ is a crap lie. We are superficial, horny human beings who judge on appearances. However, the pressures on women to be effortlessly skinny and unattainably beautiful have gone beyond the extreme. When I was a silly teenage girl, I decided to rub my legs with instant coffee granules and then wrap cling film around them because I read on the internet it was a fool-proof way to remove cellulite. What’s next? Violently twist your body like a dishcloth so the fat drips out of you? Squeeze a brick between your legs for 2 days non-stop so a thigh gap magically appears?

It seems weight loss products are almost exclusively targeted at women and incredibly degrading. You either regress to being a baby by only consuming mushy milkshakes, or you pop pills to make yourself leap for the toilet to flush out every morsel of food in your body. To think, we wonder why eating disorders and a general lack of self-confidence are so prevalent for women when such a healthy attitude to food and body image is promoted…

Attention all to the hit new weight loss scheme! The medieval rack is the best way to achieve those perfectly toned abs.

The medieval torture rack is the best way to achieve those perfectly toned abs.

Or, let’s talk about how women are not ‘made of sugar and spice’ but of tampons and oppression. She may be confidently wearing a yellow bikini now, but it’s likely that yesterday she was dealing with a heavy period or wishing her thighs didn’t wobble so much. Or maybe, shock horror, she was reading some Foucault or researching a job in STEM.

Behind the glossy front cover of femininity that the world expects are ordinary people with some ridiculous beauty regimes. For instance, someone decided that women must be less gorilla and more Siamese cat, so I dutifully clog the drainage system with hair that I shave off every day. I cover my face in makeup and pay £6 every month for my eyebrow hairs to be yanked out using thread and brute force. Yes, I could resist this pressure, but it’s not easy to stop when it simultaneously feels like an obligation of society and an individual choice.

Crying a sea of tears in the bath because I'm still not Beyoncé

Crying a sea of tears into the bath because I’m still not Beyoncé

Top this with the fact that we’re chasing an ideal of beauty that doesn’t exist. We will never feel adequate. Our stomachs are never toned enough, there’s no gap between our teeth and our bums are barely a quarter the size of Kim Kardashian’s.

Then, we hate ourselves a bit more for getting so distraught by these superficial matters. In the wise words of En Vogue, ‘Free your Mind’ from these insecure inner monologues. The media transforms women into commodities and uses our insecurities for their own profit. We are not paintings to be admired or chocolate bars to be consumed, but actual humans with brains and emotions and flaws.

Forget about that stupid beach body; let’s face the truth about boobs, bums and vaginas.