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Decency at the beach?

bondi beach

The other week, a column appeared in the Brisbane Times (as well as in the Sydney Morning Herald) in the Beauty Beat section, with the author’s viewpoint on fat women in bikinis on the beach. Hint: it wasn’t exactly positive. I talked about it on another website I write for (Axis of Fat), but I’d like to exam further the response this short article has elicited in me.

I know it probably doesn’t do my mental health or self-esteem a good favour by dwelling, but dwell I will (hey, at least I didn’t read the comments!).

The writer talked about decency. In that, if these fatties dare wear swimwear on the BEACH, they should just comply with standards of decency. Decency? As if swimwear has to conform to moral standards! I wasn’t aware that my choice of togs had any label attached to it other than the brand. I mean, seriously. Since when is a bikini or a one-piece at the beach indecent? Is it only indecent because it’s on a fat person? Is it only indecent because this fat person, by virtue of being fat, could be showing more flesh?

I note, that this article only mentions women, by the way. Men in their Speedos get away scot-free. And hey, they should be able to wear their Speedos if they want. It’s the beach. We go to swim. We go to enjoy the water, the feel of the sand, the sun on our skin. I’m there and I’m automatically transferred back to being a kid, the smell of sunscreen and coconut oil on the air. I like this sense memory and I’ll be damned if I’m going to forgo it for some random person.

Frances, over at Corpulent had something to say about the article – along with her AWESOME fat girl in a bikini photos that accompanied her post. She included a quote from Lesley, over at Fatshionista.

You do not have to be beautiful. It’s not your responsibility to be beautiful, for yourself or for anyone else, not for your family or your partner or your friends or some stranger on the street who finds your face unpleasant.

She’s right. We, as women, do not owe prettiness to anyone. We do not have to look perfect. We do not have to conform to some arbitrary standard of ‘decency.’ We should not have to be constantly on our guard, we should not have to conform to what society expects a woman, and a ‘lady’ should conform to.

I reject these standards. I reject these imposed restrictions. I reject decency, as defined by this writer and others like her.

Image Credit: 1.

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