A couple of years ago, Gabi Gregg, a fashion blogger, coined the term, Fatkini, as a way to encourage women to share pictures of their real bodies in bikinis, and not to let shame keep them from enjoying themselves at the beach or at a pool. In her blog, she wrote, “I truly encourage you guys to get to the beach (or a pool) this summer – don’t let body shame keep you from having a good time.”
And now, a couple of years later, the term and the message are gaining major traction on social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr and they’re hoping that this will lead to stores selling bikinis in the larger sizes.
I saw a picture of a few overweight women, standing near a pool, looking like they were having a wonderful time. This got me thinking about how we have been programmed to only accept sexy. young, nubile women, prancing around pools and the beach in their barely there bikinis.
A few clicks away took me to several fatkini sites that showed a zillion women bursting out of their bikinis. They ranged from somewhat overweight to extremely obese and all of them looked pleased with their bodies as they were shown posing for their selfies.
One woman was shown taking a selfie, standing up in her bathtub. She said that she has the picture hanging up in her bedroom to remind herself that she can wear a bikini and she will look good as long as she thinks she looks good.
The message isn’t about just accepting your body at whatever weight you are; it’s mostly about loving your body at whatever weight and size you are.
Of course this wouldn’t be the latest body image craze if it didn’t have its share of detractors. The comments ranged from extremely hateful to barbed criticisms about health.
One comment was, “Yes. Let’s promote a culture of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease because “real women”, “self-esteem”, and “PC culture”. Yay! #Fatkini”
While there is definitely a concern about obesity being tied to heart disease, diabetes, and a myriad of other diseases, there is also the feeling that it’s about time that obese women weren’t deleted from the image that most people have of what constitutes beauty.