Shaping up for swimsuit season. Sort of.
I guess I’m a square when it comes to swimsuit shopping.
I am a woman so obviously I hate the entire process. To minimize the pain, I prefer to shop for this particular item online whenever possible.
This year, I was perusing through the annual swimsuit catalog with my usual clenched jaw and fist, when my 6 year-old daughter sat next to me and started reading over my shoulder. As I flipped the pages, she didn’t say much, but once we got toward the end, she asked why there were “shapes” next to the sizes of the swimsuits.
She was referring to those helpful “tools” the catalog depicts to determine your body type and what suit would best flatter or hide flaws. It reads much like a kindergarten workbook or labels in the produce aisle.
I paused trying to come up with an answer. Did I really tell my young girl that in just a few years time she could look forward to shopping for a swimsuit by picturing her body as a street sign? That not only would she be obsessed with her number size, but soon she would have to fit a monokini to her isosceles triangle thighs or her hexagon hips? Forget the tape measure -- a compass and a protractor was what was needed in the dressing room.
Recent studies have shown that girls as young as 5 already have a poor body self-image -- years before their first geometry class.
Although I didn’t quite feel it yet myself, I decided change had to begin somewhere and I certainly didn’t want her to inherit any more body image hatred than what was already readily available on every corner of Womanville. After all, I would much rather focus on being active in that bathing suit than actively focusing on how it looks.
So I told her that I thought those shapes must serve as advice as to what you should do after you buy a pretty swimsuit.
Fly a kite. Hunt for starfish. Dive into a kidney-shaped pool. Put a lot of pears in your fruit salad for a beach picnic.
Because whichever suit you eventually choose, you need to be comfortable, well-rounded and live life as an exclamation point.
Most importantly, you shouldn’t get too bent out of shape swimsuit shopping.
-- Tracey Henry, the Suburban Diva
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