Mad style: Hot Girl [Skinny] Summer

Madison McGuire, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Body positivity, inclusivity, photoshop, Instagram feeds, backhanded compliments, and TikToks: the never-ending cycle of what it feels like a thin person’s world. Social media is driving the body positivity movement, but is also simultaneously crushing it. Not to mention, most of the time what you see online is far from the truth anyway. With photo editing and Photoshop, nothing you see online is guaranteed to be reality. The fashion industry is no stranger to this idea either. Trying to shop online can be a nightmare, especially if you don’t see your body type represented in the sample photos or sizing. 

If you think about it, what is summer fashion? Usually short pants, skimpy tops and bathing suits, specifically bikinis. Looking for summer clothes on popular, fast fashion websites such as Princess Polly, Shein, Romwe and others is not an inclusive experience. Scrolling through these sites, you see primarily size 2 supermodels and men with washboard abs. The hard thing is realizing that most of these photos have been altered in the first place anyways. 

“Honestly, summer shopping can be a nightmare for someone who is overweight. You never know how the clothes will look on you when they come and the sizing is always so inconsistent. The choices are also always not as cute as what they would have in the normal women’s section. It used to make me feel super alienated trying to find things that were as fashionable as my thinner friends’ clothing,” anonymous says.

While more and more brands are making it a goal to promote body inclusivity in their clothing, such as CHNGE and Yes Friends, oftentimes clothing geared towards “plus-sized people’’ are less trendy and, sometimes, more expensive.

“If you compare the women’s section and plus size section, a lot of times the plus-size section is just dresses and stuff, and the other women’s section is crop tops and shorts. A lot of times those designers are not plus-sized women so they are designing what they think plus size women should wear,” senior Genevieve Fleming says.

Social media is a main factor into the idea that fashion is based on size. On social media, there are trends to showcase how thinner people are viewed in the eyes of fashion, especially in summer. Videos made by influencers like Remi Bader and Victoria Paris showcase this idea with a trend labeled “is this a fit or are they just skinny” (from Paris) and “realistic try-on hauls” (from Bader). In these videos, Paris comments on outfits she used to wear when she was thinner and comments on whether they were actually fashionable or whether she could only “pull them off because she was skinny.” While Bader, a plus-size model, tries on clothes from different retail stores, giving people realistic reviews on how the clothing fits plus-sized women. 

“I really like seeing videos of plus-sized women in my feed, especially in bikinis or trying on clothes because it gives me ideas of what I should look for in clothes this summer. It’s encouraging to see so many beautiful women when sometimes it seems all you can find is unrealistic, fake stuff,” Jane* says.

Scrolling through any form of social media, you are bombarded with people posting when they look their absolute best. It is hard to separate the idea that these people do not look that good all the time. That being said, if you look into the comments on these posts, especially of women showing off their body, you can notice a pattern. On posts of curvier or plus-sized women, many of the comments read “You are so brave for posting this,” or “I wish I had your confidence.” At first glance, these may look like genuine compliments, but they are far from it. You can notice this contrast if you observe the comments on a similar post or video, but from a thin or toned person. Often, the comments on those posts will be “I wish I looked like you,” or “Well, I am going to go cry now.” 

“The TikTok comments are the worst. Women can’t do anything, no matter what size they are, but it is always nice to see people genuinely hyping up bigger women, that’s what the body positivity movement was initially meant to be focused towards—marginalized bodies,” says Jane.

It is not hard to see the difference between the way that both posts would be received, and neither are positive. This perpetuation of never being enough for the standards of society is only worsened in the summer, when you are exposed and more vulnerable to the criticism of others.

“It’s kind of like the style of summer—looking at what everyone else is doing,” Fleming says. “I’ve posted a bikini picture before, and I didn’t even want to, but I felt like I had to. I thought back, and I was like ’I hate that picture.’”

It is important to remember that no matter what you look like, no one can gauge your worth based on what you choose to wear or post. In the end, we are all human, and we are all imperfect. Summer is a time to go out, have fun, and look great while doing it. There should be no rules out what you can or can not wear and no limits to your confidence in your summer outfits.

*name changed to protect student privacy.