One of the negatives about summer, besides nasty sunburns and the endlessly long lines at any event, is all the discussions about beach bodies. Normally, they start when the snow begins to melt and the spring clothes arrive in stores.

Instead of celebrating finally being able to go outside without four layers on, you see the discussions about how you better not have given up your New Year’s Resolutions because summer is just around the corner and “now is the time to start working on your beach body.” It needs to stop.

Some might think that the warnings about how people don’t have long until the start of bikini season are a great way to get people motivated, but they’re implying that there is something wrong with the way you are now and you need to “get ready” (read: work out and diet) for the season. 

They’re definitely not saying to get ready for the beach by buying a new swimsuit and stocking up on sunscreen. They’re talking about hitting the gym, and there almost always is a reference to “hibernating” and “indulging” over the winter holidays.

They’re shaming people into going to the gym and trying to make them feel guilty for having that piece of fruitcake. Does it make you want to spring into action and start doing push-ups? No. It makes you feel less confident and angry.

On top of that, there are the annual magazine issues dedicated to celebrity beach bodies. In the vast majority of articles, it’s basically the same chiseled body appearing over and over with a different head.

There are often quotes about how much the celebrity works out “to maintain” their 6-pack abs, and that includes his or her diet plan.

There are also the tabloids that highlight the worst beach bodies and try to find photos of celebrities taken at unflattering angles and who don’t fit into the Barbie and Ken “perfect” body molds.

It is horrible not just for the celebrities but for the readers, or the people who see the headlines when they’re waiting in line at the store. The message is that if you don’t look a certain way, you shouldn’t be going to the beach.

It’s saying that you have to have a rock-hard body to wear a bathing suit. If you were actually looking forward to the beach without being concerned about “how ready” your body is, reading these headlines will make you reconsider it and wonder why you didn’t think of it yourself.

If people want to exercise and diet, they have every right to, but no one should think that they have to do either. These aren’t mandatory things to do before stepping out in public wearing a swimsuit.

The idea that we need to alter ourselves to go to the beach needs to change. There is no such thing as a perfect beach body. We may not be able to get rid of the beach body magazines, but we can stop the discussions about getting ready for swimsuit season.

Everyone is ready at all times to go to the beach. As long as they have a towel and something to swim in (unless there are rules for that sort of thing), that’s all you should be focused on.

If everyone is harping and stressing out about swimsuit season, no one is going to have a good time when they’re at the beach, and that isn’t right.

The only thing that people should be worrying about is finding a way not to bring back four cups of sand from the beach and ensuring we reapply our sunscreen, so we don’t turn the same color as lobsters.

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