Toxic implications of “hot girl summer”

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Above view of a beach with umbrellas and a few patrons around the edge of the water
Do we think they are #livingtheirbestlife yet? alex perez via unsplash

You do not need to be a beach babe to enjoy summer

As we approach the halfway point of summer it is time for some real talk. It is about time we draw attention to the toxicity that is “hot girl summer.” Every year we run into this never-ending stream of hot girl summer nonsense. What does this entail for those of you who are fortunate enough to not be familiar with this perpetuation of body shaming culture? It is the platform for those who are tall, thin, and tan to show the world that they are living their lives to the fullest and that they are looking their best while doing that.

If you are brave enough to look up #hotgirlsummer on Instagram, you will come across more than two million different posts that all look relatively the same. There are countless photographs of girls in bikinis at the beach or in their best bar appropriate outfits. You can scroll for miles and see copycats of the same images, poses, and captions. But what are we not seeing behind these photographs, and who is not being represented in this hot girl summer trend?

Looking at those who are apart of this trend you may see smiles, tans, and flat stomachs within the four corners of their photographs but what occurs when the camera lowers? One of the most prominent issues that comes into play with this trend is low self-esteem and eating disorders. For those who are actively taking part in the trend there comes the doubts that they are worthy of posting something with such a well known and loaded caption. There comes the desire to diet or excessively exercise in order to maintain the appearance that media beauty standards are telling them that they need to have. These effects are even more damaging for those who feel as though they cannot partake in the trend. The negative feelings that fester as one compares themselves to the women in these photographs can be damaging to one’s sense of self, especially when targeted at younger and more impressionable individuals.

Everybody wants to fit in and be able to partake in the trends that happen on social media. For those who do not match what is believed to be the ideal form for this trend, this not only affects one’s confidence in themselves and how they look but may influence how others view them as well. If you do not fit these standardized and outdated idea of beauty, then what does that mean for how others will view you? This can cause females to wear long sleeves and baggy clothes when it is aggressively hot outside, may prevent them from taking part in activities such as swimming or going to the beach, as well as harming the relationships that they may have with individuals who fit these standards.

It is time that we take back summer and drop the ideas that have festered within the use of this hashtag. If you feel good about yourself and what you are doing then make that post, use that hashtag, and take back what is our hot girl summer. It is time that we normalize normal body types and stop looking towards those who promote unhealthy habits for our standards of beauty. Whether you are big or small, tan or not, I promise you it does not matter. Your beauty is unique to you and unmatched by anyone else. Enjoy all life has to offer without fear of these standards.

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