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Spain launches ‘all bodies are beach bodies’ campaign

Launched by the Spanish government’s equality ministry, the campaign slogan reads ‘the summer is ours too’ and features women of varied sizes and skin tones sitting seaside.

The body positivity movement has exploded on social media over the last decade, influencing millions and reshaping decisions made in major fashion shows and in marketing campaigns around the globe.

First picking up traction in 2012, the goal is to promote the acceptance of all types of bodies, regardless of size, shape, skin tone, gender, and physical ability.

This summer, the movement is getting a boost from the Spanish equality ministry through a creative summer campaign. Featuring women of various sizes and one with a mastectomy, the poster encourages women to embrace their bodies and enjoy the beach without reservations about how they are perceived.

The unfortunate reality is that most people find it difficult to adopt ‘the beach is getting whatever body I give it’ motto. Polls by the charity Do Something suggest that 91 percent of women are unhappy with their bodies and adhere to restrictive diets to achieve their ideal body type.

In summer months, many will have planned trips abroad or to nearby coastlines. But along with summer can come the pressure to look nothing less than amazing in a swimsuit, resulting in obsessively cutting calories and exercising a lot more than usual.

Pressures to be perfect are deeply engrained into the fabric of modern society, affecting people of all genders, and have only been intensified by the oversaturation of perfectly posed and toned images constantly bombarding us online and in mainstream media.

It only takes a simple Google search of ‘summer body’ to realise how pervasive these narratives are, with 3.19 billion hits offering up suggestions for how to achieve stereotypical body ideals that are – for most – not naturally attainable.

Despite this, Spanish left-wing leader Cayo Lara called the campaign ‘absurd’ saying it was creating a problem that doesn’t exist. Quite controversial, as body dysmorphia affects about 1 in 50 people, and in March of 2022, England’s healthcare service announced that it had been treating record numbers of patients for eating disorders.

Of course, anyone can go to the beach. But whether they feel comfortable in their own skin or able to enjoy things without being judged by others while there – especially when they do not fit modern body ideals – is a different story.

The campaign hopes to eradicate toxic mindsets about how bodies should be – and surely that impact will help, not hurt, the people of Spain who see it.