Hooray! Winter is officially over, and spring has arrived. Which means cherry blossoms, the smell of lilacs, the return of the sun…and a torrential downpour of body-shaming ads that would like you to think that you have been a fat lump all winter, and that you are unfit for a swimsuit. Welcome to the beginning of “bikini season.”
Every year in March and April, advertisers and designers gear up for the most shame-based marketing campaigns of the year–and every year, women shudder. Even the New York Times tackled it last year, and the Guardian tore it apart the year before that. And yet, it is back again, with all of the body-negative, low-self-esteem-promoting language and imagery that takes what should be a glorious season and turns it into a tearful shamefest.
Here are just a handful of “bikini season” ads that make my point–and the reasons why I absolutely refuse to let them turn one of my favorite times of year into a self-hating, thigh-clutching nightmare.