"They basically forgo summer, and the camera, because they hate the way they look. Thus, our excursion to the roof. I put on sunscreen, and lipstick, and a new size 16 swimsuit, black with a ruffled pink trim and a little slip of a skirt. I took a deep breath, pulled my shoulders back, and tried to believe that I looked O.K. and not to flinch as he said, 'Here we go.' Inside, I picked out my favorite shot, skipped the filters, went to my Facebook page, held my breath and hit 'post.' The next time I looked, there were dozens of pictures of women in swimsuits — women who looked more like me, less like the airbrushed, perfected creatures I seem to spend my life looking at."
That's Jennifer Weiner writing on a topic I have seen as long as I've been reading the news for women (i.e., since the 1960s). Body anxieties heightened by the desire to wear a bathing suit. The Facebook part is new, but I don't think that's why the NYT is publishing this piece in late August. Weiner makes no mention of the French "burkini" issue, but I think that's what's pushing this old American topic forward right now.
Here's that Facebook photo showing the suit she picked picked out. It's a lot less silly looking than "ruffled pink trim and a little slip of a skirt" makes it sound. But Jennifer Weiner is 46 years old. Why is she resorting to a skirt with pink ruffles to deal with her body anxieties? I was researching the burkini issue and got to thinking about women who want more coverage for whatever reason — religious or other expression, modesty, sun protection, aversion to shaving — and I discovered these swim capris (and swim tights). I hadn't noticed these before, so I'm thinking there are many women — possibly including Weiner — who are locked into thinking swimwear must expose your legs (if not half or more of your buttocks). It's odd, because Weiner discusses the Olympics, and the Olympic swimmers — female and male — all wore suits that covered their thighs.
I'd like to encourage women to think about wearing swim separates with the longer legwear, capris and tights. 2-piece suits have been around for a long time, so the tops are easily available, both bra tops and tankini tops.I think this is a nice, comfortable option for all kinds of women, and it has the positive side effect of making those who wear covered-up styles for religious reasons feel less conspicuous (which is what covering up is supposed to achieve).