On being bikini ready

As a kid, getting ready to go on holiday mainly involved trying to sneak wholly innappropritate items into the suitcase I shared with my mother; an oversized plush camel, the grotesque red inflatable armchair that sat beside our real sofa for 6 months after I begged for it, or the bucket and spade I’d been bought on a day trip to Blackpool, for instance.

Judging by the shelves of my newsagent, the endless adverts for everything from fake tan to fake tits cleverly-scheduled during repeats of How to Look Good Naked and Supersize Vs. Superskinny, and the special offers for Special K on the ends of supermarket aisles, getting ready to go on holiday as a woman implies a much larger committment. It implies  I should undertake the thankless pilgrimage to the holy grail of getting ‘bikini ready’.

Unless you’re fortunate enough to have been hiding from mainstream media for the last 8-10 years, it’s likely that you’ve been confronted with the question: ‘are you bikini ready?’ or some equally tedious and related question, with a million marketing messages slowly creeping up behind its permatanned, cellulite-free, airbrushed-within-an-inch-of-its-life, posterior.

You’re not my venus

One of these thousands of marketing messages is an advert  I saw  for Venus razors the other day, fronted by Jennifer Lopez, that raised a frustrated eyebrow.

There she is, strutting her stuff in a sparkly dress and frolicking on the beach, before spouting off doing the girl power bit made famous by five women I idolised in the 90’s who  notoriously hated each other. Talk of our inner goddess, strength and confidence, eventually turns to a more profound message:

‘Goddess is when you put your best foot forward; followed by your beautiful leg. Your smooth, sexy, venus leg’.

Is it? Really? Frankly, if that’s what goddess is, I think I’d rather be Buddha. No the wonder Nigella hit the beach in a bonkers Burkhini.

My inner goddess can construct a cutting and brilliant response to an ideological argument whilst simultaneously planning what I’m going to have for dinner. She can make her friends feel good about themselves from within and help them sort out disastrous finances. She can have a respectful, loving relationship and a bloody good job that she’s passionate about.

But I don’t think she has smooth, sexy, venus legs.  In fact, I don’t think she gives a flying shite about a stubbly leg; she’s more likely to rub it on you and wail ‘check these out! They’re like bloody sandpaper! And my foof’s not much better, either – I look like I’m in an 80’s copy of Readers Wives!’ before snorting through her nose and having another swig of wine. She probably also has cellulite, a spot on her bumcheek, and leftover bits nailvarnish on her toes from 3 months ago.

This is probably due to the fact that she doesn’t have a full-time personal-trainer-come-stylist-come-chef-come-housekeeper, doesn’t avoid gluten, wheat, dairy,  booze, red meat, and all unnatural sugars or processed foods, and isn’t Gwyneth Paltrow.

Most importantly – when she spends £500 on a week-long escape from everyday life, her main concern is having a damn good time, taking in her beautiful surroundings, pointing at German men smuggling budgies in their Speedos, and laughing ’til she does a little bit of a wee.

On that note, I’m off to Greece for a week with two goddesses I’m lucky enough to have as friends. Yassas!


  1. Christine

    Good thing: this is an awesome first feminism-related post!

    Bad thing: tragically, this superficial frenzy is about more than just having smooth legs and being bikini-ready — Lopez’s Venus commercial hammers home that time-old message that many young girls and women are implicitly made aware of throughout their daily lives: what you do is not as important as how you look while doing it.

    On that note, I think you should check out my friend’s, Brandon’s, blog (particularly this post): http://brandonarkell.com/2011/07/03/sometimes-its-hard-to-be-a-drag-queen/ <— since he's a Seattle-livin' feminist blogger with a wacky wit.

    Anyways, have fun in Greece! Someone's gotta go pump some money into that failing economy. D:

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