‘Ignore Love Island bodies – it’s time to reclaim hot girl summer’

‘Ignore Love Island bodies – it’s time to reclaim hot girl summer’

August 5, 2021

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For almost my entire adult life I dreaded the balmy months of June through to September.

My hatred of summer first began in school when I would fantasise about enrolling myself in an American-style ‘fat camp’, returning to my classmates in September for a Miley Stewart/Hannah Montana transformation.

I distinctly remember a trip to LA when I’d failed in my mission to slim down to the impossible target weight I’d set myself in my Weight Watchers journal.

Consoling myself with an overpriced Mars Duo from WHSmiths at Gatwick Airport, I felt like my holiday was ruined before I’d even left the terminal.

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We have rapper Megan Thee Stallion to thank for many things, including the term “hot girl summer” which came about from her nickname “Hot Meg”, her debut album Fever and her fanbase’s frankly genius idea of branding the two things together.

Which of course Megan then had to turn into a song.

Now with more than 600 million hashtags on TikTok and more than two million on Instagram, #HotGirlSummer has become a new form of diet culture, one which is seemingly impossible to avoid.

Of course it doesn’t help that everyone’s favourite seasonal hashtag seems to coincide with the start of Love Island.

As a size 24 woman, I intentionally avoid everything and anything Casa Amor-related.

That’s because every year, when the contestants’ photos are released and social media is flooded with flat stomachs, cellulite-free thighs and perky large breasts held perfectly in place by a string bikini without the risk of decapitation (my fellow DD+ ladies will relate), I’m reminded of how different my figure is to society’s ideals.

Despite demand from viewers to see more varied body types on the show, Love Island continues to perpetuate the narrative that your summer experience is entirely dependent on your level of body fat.

This forced ideal means that, like me, you’ll torture yourself to try to fit a mould that’s probably genetically impossible for you.

And if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s how precious time is and how quickly it can be taken away.

#HotGirlSummer originally stood for something totally different. Megan described it as being “unapologetically yourself”.

She added, “Doing you and not giving a damn about what anybody has to say about it.”

Now, doesn’t that sound freeing?

Over the past few years I have been on a body confidence journey to try not to hate my shape six months of every year – effectively half my life. It started with getting my legs out. The old me preferred sitting in the park in 30°C heat in my black leggings, saying “I’m fine” to anyone who asked if I was feeling hot.

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It wasn’t summer that was making me miserable, it was restricting myself. It’s not enjoyable sweltering in the heat because you’re too paranoid to show so much as an ankle, spending the lead-up to summer punishing yourself for indulging in anything over a calorie allowance.

This is why I’ve decided I will no longer waste my life, wrapped up in my own appearance, rather than experiencing new things.

It’s not easy and there’s no miracle cure but I’ve shared my tips on how to celebrate your body and enjoy your best summer yet.

Embrace who you are today

When you hyperfocus on your body, it feels like revealing an inch of it will cause a huge scene.

In reality, everyone is so wrapped up in their own insecurities they haven’t even noticed that you’re wearing denim shorts for the first time.

Don’t restrict yourself

I used to hate exercise because I associated it with hating my body.

I worked out to punish myself, but now I do it because I care about my body.

The same goes for your relationship with food. Constant restriction and associating foods as “good” or “bad” is never the answer and can lead to bingeing.

Everyone I know who has a healthy relationship with food eats whatever they fancy, without restriction just in moderation.

Forget putting pressure on yourself

Will your summer be better if you lost 7lb, or will it be better if you go on that spontaneous road trip, make plans with the friends you haven’t seen in ages and live in the moment for three whole months?

Banish filters

With the power to nip in our waist and smooth our thighs, it can be tempting to edit your pictures.

But before you download FaceTune, think about what that filtering is doing to your long-term self-esteem.

Sharing our real body types is the only way we’ll break down these stigmas for future generations.

Post an old photo of yourself

Finally, I’ll leave you with a challenge. Go through your camera roll on your smartphone and find a picture from a previous summer that you didn’t feel comfortable posting.

Now, with fresh eyes and perspective, post it and cherish that memory.

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