Dating and Relationship Advice

There seems to be a bright light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, and it’s getting closer—especially with the CDC announcement that fully vaccinated people can officially go mask-free in most situations. Cue the fireworks, right?! 100%! Mostly...

Amidst the end-of-lockdown happy dances, there’s a dark cloud. If you're a young woman and log onto social media, you’ll probably be inundated with a slew of ads selling products that will help you “get rid of your quarantine fifteen,” “curb the lockdown weight gain,” and “get a summer body in time for #HotGirlSummer.”

The media’s message is clear: Only thin women are included in #HotGirlSummer. The more you weigh, the worse you look. The more you weigh, the less value you have as a human being.

Psychologist Şirin Atçeken spoke to Cosmopolitan UK about this trend. “This lockdown has been hard for everyone, and it has exacerbated mental health issues," she explained. "It can be dangerous when we associate health with weight, and also when we try to lose weight in a short amount of time. We can do more harm than good to our body, and it can lead to eating disorders.”

While some can shrug off these fat-shaming ads, many have succumbed to the unhealthy, anxiety-inducing, self-hating pressure that goes with them. And after the year we’ve had, no one needs that kind of negativity. But most importantly, being thinner doesn’t mean you’re better or more beautiful than anyone else.

Can we change the conversation? Can we make it okay for every person and everybody to be what they are?

I think we can. But only if we remember to stop comparing and celebrate ourselves.

It’s so easy to fall into the trap of endlessly comparing yourself to others’ curated lives on social media. These comparisons are especially unhealthy when it comes to body image. To limit comparing, limit your screen time. Schedule time away from your phone to do things that make you happy. Turn off the notifications on your social media apps. Set time limits. You can also try filling your feeds with body positive accounts and role models Beyonce and Ashley Graham—to name a few—aren’t stick thin, and they’re FABULOUS.

Oh, and while you’re not comparing yourself to others, don’t judge them either. If it’s okay for you to come out of lockdown with a few more curves, then it’s okay for everyone else to as well.

Most importantly, celebrate you and your body, no matter its size. Spend time each day focusing on all the incredible ways that you’re special and all the mind-blowing things you and your body have survived during lockdown. Make a list in your journal. Write them on your bathroom mirror. Hell, you could even post them on social media. Just look at Will Smith! He recently posted a picture sans-abs with the caption: “This is the body that carried me through an entire pandemic... I love this body.” He went on to say that he’s getting back the gym, but not because he hates himself, because he loves himself.

So, can we please just cancel #HotGirlSummer now? If Will Smith can do it…