That dreaded season is here…bathing suit season. This is the time when we women get under bad fluorescent lighting and in front of mirrors that make us look twice as wide as normal and try to find something suitable to wear that will control the wobbly bits at the beach or pool. If we make it out of the store not crying, it’s a win. Ordering suits online is an option that is fraught with uncertainty. It’s much more comfortable to try on suits at home, but whatever you order is probably not going to fit on the first or even second time you exchange it. The main problem is that the models used in the photo shoots to sell the bathing suits look like fourteen-year-old boys with no hips or breasts. What looks good on them will probably look ridiculous on me.
Target has a new online ad campaign for swimsuits using models that look more like me, stretch marks and all. I’m not the type who insists that the modeling industry change to accommodate me. I understand the desire to have thin, beautiful models selling your clothes, and I know that thinner is healthier. It’s a constant battle. Meanwhile, I have to find something to wear in the water. Bigger models serve an important purpose for a lot of women. It’s far easier to purchase a suit online if you’ve seen it on someone with your body type. You can estimate how much coverage there is and how it will fit you. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ordered a bathing suit online only to find out that it was made for someone four sizes smaller than me. These new Target ads let women with different shapes see how they will fit.
They also garnered attention for showing ladies with stretch marks and cellulite. This is a fact of life. I’ve had stretch marks since I was 16 and a size 00 because I grew six inches in one summer and the skin on my thighs couldn’t keep up. I got a whole lot more through three pregnancies. They’ve never bothered me. My mother calls them her war wounds. We all bear the scars of pregnancy that remind us what miracles our bodies can create. Stretch marks are normal and common. They aren’t ugly or shocking. It’s just a fact of life that all women live with. Showing them just makes the models relatable. When you’re selling things to women, stretch marks aren’t something that needs to be hidden.
I think this marketing was pretty genius. Maybe these girls are never going to be in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, but I bet they’ll sell a ton of bathing suits.
(But not to me, because I’m still boycotting Target over the transgendered bathroom fiasco. I’ll continue to buy my swimwear at Torrid or www.SwimSuitsForAll.com, both of which also picture women of different sizes in their suits.)