Why We Need to Get Our Tits Out

Why We Need to Get Our Tits Out

There were boobs. So many boobs. Saggy, perky, big and small, in a myriad of shapes, sizes and colours, but with plenty of tanned skin; fitting for the beaches of Barcelona, Spain.

I was a tad shocked, but immediately impressed by the lack of giving a fuck about your body. Young women chatted as they applied sunscreen to the other’s naked backs. Elderly women sat laughing by the turquoise water, in a communal, topless semicircle. Couples with exposed chests dozed in the Mediterranean sun. How you looked was redundant; it was about savouring a languorous summer day.

Hailing from Melbourne, being so at ease with your body is taboo and attention-seeking. I mean, think of how you must be provoking horny teenage boys and perverted old men! And like, if you want to be naked, do it somewhere else? Go to a nudist beach. We don’t need that to see that here.

We’re basically brainwashed into self-consciousness; as though our bodies are some enigma that needs to be constantly modified and concealed. They no longer belong to us; they are for public discourse, commodification and objectification.

From where does so much stigma originate?

We learn to whine endlessly about our looks, in a competition of who is the most flawed. There are so many things to complain about: cellulite, acne, curves, lack of curves, thunder thighs, broad shoulders, narrow hips, love handles, man-hands.

An idealised narration of how we should look has been perpetuated for centuries, enforced by those around us.

Maybe you should try to lose a couple.

You should eat more, you’re getting a bit thin.

How are you going to find someone looking like that?

We are taught to berate ourselves for not fitting in within a narrow spectrum of socially-acceptable standards. Like all other trends, this margin fluctuates, and we flounder to keep up with the latest version of how we should look. If we do not, we become subpar and condescended to, as we have failed to assimilate.

We seem to forget that not all bodies are supposed to look the same. Just as we are individual, unique people, we have individual, unique bodies. Sure, some people are more aesthetically pleasing than others. But why should we be so cruel to ourselves, and each other, for not inheriting supermodel genetics?

It’s especially toxic when such obsession detracts from your happiness. When you decline dessert, gazing longingly at the illicit sweets. When indulging in the sun’s caress, you remember how your thighs must look lying down. When your Year 12 exams are spent sucking in your stomach, terrified that someone might see a curve.

Being from a relatively conservative Australian society, we don’t often see typical, unfiltered and unedited bodies. Social media is saturated with toned, golden influencers posing in active-wear and lingerie. Porn is ridiculous. We aren’t surrounded by the norm, or even a mildly realistic standard.

I have friends who won’t undress in front of each other, let alone in an open space. Or those cool with being naked in private, but never in front of strangers.

No photos, I look ugly today.

I’m not getting into a bikini next to those skinny bitches.

I just don’t have fun when I feel like I look bad.

Those adorning Spain’s beaches radiate a careless, content ease. I want to drag everyone I know here and show them that this is how bodies actually are: an infinite and diverse combination of limbs. This is how boobs can actually look. See how much these people don’t care; no bikini is too skimpy. There are barely any delicately arranged sarongs nor conservative one-pieces. Whether or not you have the ‘perfect’ body simply doesn’t matter.

Imagine if you, too, didn’t care, absorbed in chatting and dozing under an unblemished sky. What are things like figure, age and degree of nudity when you’re enveloped by soft, golden sand? The socially constructed pressures you were raised by become the ocean water evaporating off your skin, leaving a faint, dusty residue that you brush away.

In the azure of the Mediterranean, some female friends and I joined the topless bathers. I was surprised at how quickly it felt both empowering and normal. Every body is a summer body; you just have to be okay with it.

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