Selena Gomez Just Made Me Buy Three More Bikinis
I can’t claim to understand what being a celebrity in the limelight feels like, but I know what how it feels to live under a microscope, and that’s why it hurt to see what happened to Selena Gomez this week.
Some paparazzo took photos of her in a bikini–in very normal, human positions–and then she was inundated on social media by users worrying about her supposed “fat.” I felt deep sympathy for Selena. We may lead very different lives, and paps don’t watch my every move, but our stories as women are more alike than they are different.
We’re taught from a young age to view our bodies as projects, that we have to be somehow constantly working to improve them. It often feels like we’re on an endless loop, being served up images of perfect bikini bodies as expectations no one can ever quite meet.
As a kid, I wore a T-shirt over my bathing suit to the beach and pool like an invisibility cloak. Covering my thighs, stomach and arms, I felt like I could finally enjoy something I loved to do, even if it meant dealing with the discomfort of oversized cotton clinging awkwardly to my wet body. That was a discomfort I learned to live with in exchange for hiding the parts of me I hated. I lied and said I didn’t want to get sunburnt, but my insecurities put me underneath a spotlight–even at 10-years-old, I felt like society wanted me to hide myself.
Although by most standards Gomez certainly fits into the mould of what it means to be an “attractive woman,” her fierce response to the body shamers was pitch perfect. And she didn’t even mention her body. She killed them with kindness, and instead talked openly about taking care of herself and candidly about the “beauty myth” we all subscribe to. You get that wind in your sails, girl!
I’m going to take Gomez’s words to heart, and you should too, especially as we approach summer–a.k.a., the season of the “bikini body,” a time of year when we’re are inundated with body ideals and supplements promising the fat loss required to wear a freaking bathing suit.