I know I almost never post photos. Why? Mostly because I'm lazy, although a little because I want my writing to speak for itself.
I'm posting one here, although not the one I initially planned to. The initial picture was a full body photo of me in a bikini - looking and feeling pretty good. I was at a private pool with just Rebecca, who has of course - stop reading if you pretend gay people have no genitalia and don't have sex - seen more.
I've never let anyone, not even Rebecca, photograph me in a bikini before. There are a few photos around of me in a tankini that covers my midsection. The truth is that part of me has always felt like I didn't look good enough to wear a bikini, even though I'm a perfectly healthy weight and more or less have a normal, idealish body type (okay, I'd have to tone up before working as a model, but I look good for someone who doesn't make a living off my looks). The other part of me was trained, for many years, to believe that despite how non-skinny I was, or how small my breasts are, or how fair my skin is, or whatever other attributes don't fit current beauty standards, wearing a bikini or sharing pictures of me in one was a horrible temptation to the men around me, who would be incapable of keeping themselves from lusting after my basically naked body. In fact, the only reason to wear a bikini was for this kind of attention.
That isn't why I'm wearing this swimsuit. How could it be, when there was no one around? No, there's a completely different explanation. I was soaking up the fresh air and sunshine (don't worry; I was liberally doused head to toe in spray sunscreen, because I'm a sunscreen goddess). After months of winter and wearing heavy clothes, layers, restricting garments, it felt amazing to feel nature on my skin without pain or cold.
And I've been reading on modesty, fatphobia, disordered eating, and beauty standards. I've even talked to male friends, who have assured me that they find a range of body types attractive, aren't as judgmental as women think, and are capable of self control. Although this really isn't about them - I am not for them - these are points worth mentioning.
So then why not the whole body picture? Because I believe that along with #effyourbeautystandards should come #humannotobject and this picture conveys how joyful I felt. This one leaves no room, at least in my eyes, for you to tell me that I look good, or sexy, or have jiggly thighs and need to squat, or that I should really try a new shave lotion. I don't, in this picture, ask for your evaluation of my body. Mine. My body in this picture is doing what I needed it to, which in this case was rest and pick up vitamin D. I don't want to cause friends to stumble if they've been socialized to react differently to pictures of women in bikinis. That's definitely not the goal of Committinginthemitten or this post. But after the reaction to my post on my philosophy of food, I think many of my sisters in Christ, or in humanity, and probably some brothers too, need to hear this - and see it.
So here it is: your body is yours, and if it does what you want it to, if it loves you and allows you to love, and you have a joyful existence, then it's how it's meant to be. And it's okay to share that.