Body Image

What is “Beach Body Ready?”

What is "Beach Body Ready?"

What is “Beach Body Ready?”

What exactly does “beach body ready” even mean? Let’s start by looking at the origin of the phrase and how it was initially used in context.

In 2015 Protein World showcased a bold advertisement in the subways of New York for weight loss supplements. These ads featured a bright yellow background and the words, “ARE YOU BEACH BODY READY?” prominently displayed next to a thin conventionally attractive white woman in a yellow bikini giving the audience a smouldering look.

The ad garnered a good bit of criticism and negative attention. Two different feminist groups at the time spoke out about the ad, and why they felt like it was unacceptable. One of these groups explained that it contributes to a culture that hypersexualizes women’s bodies. Shortly after pictures of the ads circulated on social media, a petition was started on to have the ads removed entirely. The petition accumulated over 70,000 signatures.

Now, in 2018, a plus sized clothing brand is getting attention for using the phrase “beach body ready” in a way that subverts the message of the original ad. It features the same bright yellow background but with three different plus sized women standing next to each other. The words “WE’RE BEACH BODY READY” are prominently displayed next to the women.

So if we take into the consideration the origin of the phrase “beach body ready”, it’s probably safe to say that it is used to describe thin bodies. The previously mentioned plus sized clothing brand used the wording of the original ad to reimagine what “beach body ready” should mean, as opposed to what it actually means.

With all this discussion of what it means to be “beach body ready”, I wrote a short quiz that can be used to determine if you are “beach body ready”.


Q1- Are you at the beach?

Yes: Great! Then you’re halfway there.

No: That’s fine, actually. You don’t need to be at the beach to be beach body ready.

Q2- Do you have a body?

Yes: Excellent! Then you are beach body ready! All you need to be “beach body ready” is have a body. It doesn’t matter what your size and weight is. Just wear what makes you comfortable. If you want to wear a bikini, then go for it. If not, then wear whatever you want.

No: I highly doubt that you don’t have a body. You probably wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t have a body. Since you do have a body, congratulations! You’ve met literally the only requirement in order to qualify as beach body ready. Wear whatever makes you comfortable and happy in your own body. The world is a much more pleasant place to be when you are comfortable in your body.
Obviously that was kind of a joke.

So let’s go further into what it actually means to be beach body ready. The original ad implies that one must have a certain body type to be beach body ready, and presumably you must lose weight to achieve a thin appearance akin to the one that the woman in the advertisement has. The media constantly reinforces a very homogenous idea of beauty for women. In TV shows, we see mostly thin & conventionally attractive women with husbands and boyfriends of various body sizes and weights.

My best advice would be to take care of your body because it benefits your health and well being, not because you want to look a certain way. Take ownership of your body for you. Studies do tell us that exercising the appropriate amount and eating right has wonderful effects on our mood, muscle and bone health, energy level, skin health, and even memory.

But don’t ever let someone fat shame you as a way of motivating you into getting healthy. Studies also show that fat shaming someone causes them to gain weight more rapidly.

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