Bikini Rage. (Like road rage, but with a higher lycra content)

No one likes to live in a state of constant vigilance. For one thing, it’s pretty dull. So I don’t spend my life scouring the internet for examples of poorly worded advertising copy. It’s nice to think that we’re living in fairly enlightened times, anyway, and that women might be beyond writing things aimed at other women that are, well, quite offensive.

But sometimes, all it takes is a badly-worded tweet to remind you how far we’ve still got to go. Perusing my Twitter feed late at night, I fell upon this little gem of a line.

“We’ve got swimsuits to hide all manner of sins.”

Company

 

Sins?

The body I don’t especially fancy shoving into a bikini- which incidentally, as we’re talking in Old Testament-style overtones, is hardly very forgiving for anyone vaguely normal looking – is a sin?

REALLY?

Company magazine is primarily aimed at (I’m guessing, from their Twitter feed and from reading a few editions recently,) 16-25 year old women. Why are they encouraging these girls to use the language of shame to describe what probably amounts to a slightly curved tummy and some thigh, probably the very same that is airbrushed out of bikini model shots the world over?

Why are we still pretending that it’s OK – in fact it’s probably normal – to teach young women to be ashamed of their bodies? I know ‘it’s only a phrase’ – and that they didn’t mean it like that. But still.

And actually, in terms of magazines aimed at that market, I think Company is pretty great. They feature articles about how to get into interesting careers, good relationship advice, tech articles – in essence, they don’t usually treat women like paranoid mirror-gazing man-magnets.

Wear a swimming costume instead of a bikini if you like – but wear it because you like it, or because it makes you feel more comfortable. Or confident. Or just because if you want to actually swim, it’s a lot more practical in most cases. Just don’t wear one because you are worried that those breasts that will feed your children, if you want them to, are not Playboy-perfect. Or that those thighs which allow you to walk around/run/jump up and down with the sheer joy of being a young woman at the height of your physical powers are something to be ashamed of.

 

swimming costume

It’s funny and it’s sad…

I’ve just watched the best film I’ve seen in a very long time. I saw it featured ages ago in the best magazine I have ever found – Oh Comely.

Frances Ha. “A story that follows a New York woman (who doesn’t really have an apartment), apprentices for a dance company (though she’s not really a dancer), and throws herself headlong into her dreams, even as their possibility dwindles.” (IMDb) How could I possibly not fall in love with this?

The next time you have one hour and twenty two minutes, you should watch it too.

“It’s that thing when you’re with someone, and you love them and they know it, and they love you and you know it… but it’s a party… and you’re both talking to other people, and you’re laughing and shining… and you look across the room and catch each other’s eyes… but – but not because you’re possessive, or it’s precisely sexual… but because… that is your person in this life. And it’s funny and sad, but only because this life will end, and it’s this secret world that exists right there in public, unnoticed, that no one else knows about. It’s sort of like how they say that other dimensions exist all around us, but we don’t have the ability to perceive them. That’s – that’s what I want out of a relationship. Or just life, I guess.”

Frances Ha

 

Frances is tall, and slightly awkward, and surrounded by people who know what they are doing while she feels like she hasn’t got a clue. She’s funny and she’s kind and she’s loyal, and silly and uncomfortable. She’s joyful. She eats a lot and she laughs a lot. It’s a film about friends, about growing up, growing apart from the things you know and finding new things, trying stuff out and failing, stumbling across things you turn out to be good at. It’s a film about being in your twenties and trying to fit in, before realising that fitting in is not the point.

It’s the story of us. Of us awkward, funny girls trying and failing to grow up, and kind of growing up anyway.

“Oh yeah, I like things that look like mistakes.”