#BOPO Hacks: 9 Ways to Dodge Bikini Body Bullshit

#BOPO Hacks: 9 Ways to Dodge Bikini Body Bullshit

By Alys Marshall

Summer has arrived with a sweaty sigh. Between the never-ending Love Island coverage and the trauma of swimwear shopping (just buy it online!), it’s easy for our insecurities to bloom and fester. Everywhere we look there are tips for shrinking, tanning, polishing, and concealing. Are we too pale for primary colours? Too soft for strappy tops? Too round for summer dresses?

Three weeks of unprecedented sunshine and we’re all second guessing ourselves. We don’t have the key to contentment, but here at Harpy we're big believers in body positivity, so we’ve put together a few BOPO tricks to help you fend off the bikini body bullshit.

1) Curate your Instagram. You may already know this, but Instagram has a feature called ‘see fewer posts like this’. That means you can actually train your explore tab to cut out the bullshit before and afters, skinny tea ads and fat-shaming photos. Every time an image of a woman laughing into her salad pollutes your news feed, just GET RID.

Instead of wistfully staring at Victoria’s Secret models, go and follow a few of these babes for some seriously unapologetic, insightful content:

@bodyposipanda
@sitting_pretty
@tessholiday
@ihartericka
@thevagaggle
@notoriouslydapper
@lvernon2000
@scotteeisfat

2) Get some Vitamin D. Is it just me or did that last winter feel as long as the wait for the next series of The OA?! The sun is finally shining, so when you’re not stuck in the office, get out and witness the glory that is nature! That doesn’t mean you have to go for a terrifying six-hour hike (unless that’s your thing). Go and pet some dogs in the park, or head to the seaside for the day. Nature doesn’t give a damn what you wear, or if your butt leaves a sweaty patch on the chair.

3) Be comfy, fuck the haters. Everyone you know is showing off bronzed shoulders in tiny tank tops, and the temptation to wear your fave black tent is pretty real. But we’re in week three of a heatwave, and your body deserves to be comfortable. Your body is not offensive to the public eye. You are allowed to wear shorts, dresses, crop tops, bikinis, flower crowns, unicorn capes, you name it!

You DON’T have to wear leggings to the beach. You DON’T have to wear black tights with dresses when it’s 30 degrees. You DO deserve to take up space.

4) Embrace the chafe. Your thighs touch. It’s normal, it’s inevitable and when it’s hot it can get pretty uncomfortable. Luckily, we in the chub rub club have a few solutions. Rock some culottes, slip on some discrete cycling shorts (Boohoo sells them for £6), or if you’re going bare thigh, try an anti-chafe stick like Body Glide.

5) EAT WHATEVER YOU WANT but remember to drink water. Costa Del Yorkshire is HOT. Fighting the patriarchy is thirsty work, and you won’t last long without water. Take a bottle with you everywhere, make the most of the chilled water machine at work and keep ice in the freezer to crunch when you collapse post-commute.

6) Tune out the toxic chat. Summer is second only to January when it comes to diet culture. Everyone at work is doing the ‘holiday shred’, convinced that a month of non-stop carb cutting will make their week in Malaga infinitely better. Only last week a colleague of mine took one look at my yoghurt and said “you’re killing me with all your treats!” (sob).

There is nothing as simultaneously dull and stressful as someone listing their calorie allowance. Put your headphones on. Drift into podcast land. Do. Not. Feel. Judged.

7) Buy a badass pair of sunglasses. I don’t know how, but sunglasses have transformative power. They can make the mother of all hangovers look sexy. Shop around for the perfect pair and pop them on if you don’t want to show your whole sweaty face to the world. They’re also great for dodging eye contact with pervy men!

8) Do some relevant reading. Maintaining a BOPO state of mind is hard, even if your friends have seen the light. When in doubt, do some research. Immerse yourself in the online community and read around the subject. These are a good place to start:

Body of Truth by Harriet Brown
Body Positive Power by Megan Jayne Crabbe
Hot & Heavy by Virgie Tovar
The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf 

9) Practice what you preach. How many times have you called out your friends for talking shit about themselves? How many times have you told your bestie that of COURSE she can pull off magenta because she’s fucking fabulous and how dare she think any different? It’s time to take your own advice.

Treat yourself as you’d like to be treated. Try to catch your negative thoughts before they swell into being, and reel them in. If body positivity is out of reach, aim for body respect, or body acceptance. Ask yourself ‘what proof do I have of that?’ and ‘why do I assume this?’- but above all, be KIND.

 Cover art by the glorious Kelly Bastow

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