Stop the “summer body”, make way for “body positive”!

Focus sur les jambes de différentes femmes

Summer is here and who says summer season says sun, heat, vacation, beach, relaxation, aperitif... But also " summer body ", and all the injunctions to (alleged) physical perfection that go with it. In women's magazines and in advertising, there is an increasing number of tips for obtaining a flat stomach in 30 days, promotions for "anti-cellulite" creams or for "detox" food supplements promising the miraculous part of the famous "extra pounds" . The “ summer body ”, which could be translated as “the perfect body for summer”, constitutes a real pressure for women and largely contributes to establishing the beauty standards imposed by society.

So, in this summer season, we would like to fight against these diktats and talk to you about “ body positive ”!

The “ summer body ”: a dangerous source of complexes for women 

According to a survey conducted by Ifop in 2013 among 1,000 women, 43% say they change their diet as summer approaches to achieve the goal of the famous “ summer body ” (1). According to another, more recent study, published in 2020 by the Feeleat application , 69% of French people feel media pressure to lose weight before summer (2). And on the beach, six out of ten women (61%) feel uncomfortable in a swimsuit, with the most self-conscious being overweight women (78%).

Behind this “ summer body ” trend, there is the idea that the body must be thin, smooth, tanned, without stretch marks or cellulite: a female body standardized according to beauty standards. These numerous injunctions are internalized and the arrival of the first rays of sunshine appears for many women as an anxiety-provoking period. Indeed, self-confidence is put to the test in the name of an ideal of beauty, in a society where physical appearance is a fundamental value.

But this glorification of the “perfect body” is not without danger for physical and mental health. Between dietary restrictions, diets and excessive sport, wanting to lose weight quickly to achieve the “ summer body ” goal can cause real health problems such as eating disorders (TCA), general discomfort as well as injuries due to intensive sporting challenges without professional advice.

Instagram and the cult of thinness

The study carried out by Feelat , mentioned above, also reveals that 86% of those questioned believe that social networks and the media are at the origin of this pressure linked to standards. Moreover, since 2017, legislation now requires the mention “retouched photo” for images of a commercial nature.

On the Instagram network, which has nearly a billion users, this representation of the “perfect body” is omnipresent. We find, for example, the “ summer body challenge ” or the “ bikini body guide ”: intensive bodybuilding programs whose objective is to obtain, in record time, a slender and sculpted body for the summer. We also find photos of influencers or models displaying sculpted abs, without hair or cellulite. But on this social network, it is only a distorted vision of reality that is shown because, very often, the photos published are retouched, or modified by filters and the poses are worked to appear thinner. We spend an average of 1.5 hours every day scrolling on Instagram and we are constantly confronted with this cult of thinness (3). The desire to compare oneself sometimes prevails and self-esteem takes a hit.

At Perdième, we believe that it is essential to fight against these diktats. On our social networks, we therefore seek to best represent the diversity of female bodies. To do this, we do not retouch our photos and we call on women from our community, models for a day, through the organization of participatory shootings .

A “ happy body ” rather than a “ summer body

Summer is not synonymous with slimming: you don't need to be slender or perfectly shaved to go and enjoy the beach. Whether we are a size 36 or a size 46, whether we have cellulite or body hair, we all have a summer body . It is necessary to deconstruct beauty standards around the female body and to approach your relationship with the body with kindness by taking time to take care of yourself. This can be done through small gestures to include in your daily routine: a good massage, a yoga or meditation session or simply wearing outfits that boost our self-esteem.

We also take this opportunity to share with you some engaged Instagram accounts that will bring a dose of positivity and self-love to your feed :

Written by Inès Perrein