In many ways the ideal of the bikini body is like the Gold standard of currency. Many people carry an intimation of this value, though it doesn’t look quite the same and society doesn’t deem it to be the same standard as the reserves. Whilst the idea of a stock of females with the perfect body is harrowing, to my mind this is where the analogy falls down as the perfect bikini body does not exist in the same way a gold bar does, the evidence of this lies in the obligatory photoshopping.
I mean anatomically I am bikini body ready. I posses the limbs necessary to poke through the straps and holes in a two-piece. I am the proud owner of the requisite torso to fulfill the gap in between. Yet such a sarcastic answer to whether I am ‘bikini body ready’ would inevitably be rejected.
If I consulted my own image in a mirror, I certainly would find ‘fault’. Though what is ironic is that I would fulfill many of the characteristics this company was trying to appeal to. I am in the age demographic 18-30. I do go to the gym. I do take care over my appearance. I do take protein. This is where my biggest issue arises; for the majority of women I know who regularly exercise and use protein supplements, being bikini body ready is not a major motivator. Instead the merits of being healthy, strong, achieving longevity and actual enjoyment through exercise are encouragement needed. The advertisers could have drawn from any of these positive, estimable qualities as opposed to imposing an ideal on women.
Over the last week the Internet trend venerating the ‘dad bod’ prompted a tirade of coverage in US media. Kristen Schaal of the Daily Show she said, “we are already obsessed with mom bods, or at least how fast mom’s can get rid of them” exposing the disturbing nature of this phenomenon. She masterfully points to the hypocrisy of this standard and shows difference in the physical expectation between men and women is, indeed, comic. If one skims down the femail tab of the Daily Mail there are numerous headlines announcing the ‘lithe legs’, ‘fabulous curves’, ‘slim line post-baby body’ and ‘curve hugging’ attire of women. To me, this appears surprising; that articles commenting and on occasion criticizing the female body are targeted to a female readership.
In answer to the question, posed by Protein world, I am by no means ‘Bikini body’ ready and I think they would struggle to find someone who was universally accepted as such. Doubtlessly this was an ignorant marketing decision, yet I would stress a need to remain sensitive to the model in question. Yes, the ideals purported by the advert are objectionable, but the woman doing her job is not. Model Renee Somerfield spoke out stating ‘saying the ad is body shaming by body shaming the image is very contradictory’ (Huffington post). I would agree and stress that whilst the ideal promoted may prove false, the model is real.