Bellies & Bikinis

Cover photo features our TBA Surf Triangle Top and Borneo Bottoms.

I own a women’s surf supply company, yet I hardly ever wear a bikini.

I tell myself this avoidance is purely practical: one pieces – like burkas – are simply less likely to fail you in the surf.

In truth, I live in fear of exposing my belly – that most taboo, embarrassing, indecent no-mans-land.

If you look at my midriff, you might not see what I see (age has thankfully delivered that modicum of self-awareness).  But one insidious thing – among many – about being a woman is that the body image thing never really goes away, even when you know it’s vapid and mostly in your head.  I thought I was over feeling like crap about my body half a decade ago, but that gut-dropping feeling that I need to suck it in or cover it up still simmers under the surface.

Bellies of all shapes and sizes looking beautiful in our Bikini Separates.

Men seem to have so much more freedom to go shirtless, regardless of whether they flaunt an eight pack or a flabby mess.  And maybe we are so much less judgy about guys' midriffs (at least compared to women) simply because it is so ubiquitous to see men of all shapes and sizes display their stomachs in public.  Yes, unequal gender norms and unrealistic expectations of female beauty are real and toxic, but on a more mundane level maybe it also comes down to exposure… we’re used to seeing male beer bellies, and familiarity breeds acceptance.  We rarely, on the other hand, see an exposed female belly that is anything but toned, tanned, thin: "perfect." 

With more exposure, maybe a larger variety of female abs, navels, midriffs, baby bumps, and muffintops could also be categorized as sexy, beautiful, or – hell, I'd happily settle for “normal.”

With more exposure, maybe a larger variety of female abs, navels, midriffs, baby bumps, and muffintops could also be categorized as sexy, beautiful, or – hell, I'd happily settle for “normal.”

So, I've been wearing bikinis more and more, despite my perfectly average and decidedly un-model-esque waistline.  The sky hasn’t fallen down, mothers have not covered children’s eyes in horror.  I’ve even been photographed surfing in bikinis and... yeah, I could be more svelte.  But my belly is barely noticeable.  Instead, what draws the eye are the inviting sparkles the sun scatters over the blue-green waves, the crispness of the lines my board draws through the water, the big goofy-ass smile colonizing my face.

If you're anything like me: wear a bikini, don't wear a bikini... do whatever you want!!  Please just don't avoid bikinis solely because you worry that your body is abnormal or unacceptable according to whoever makes these dumb rules (including that bitchy voice in your head).

Embrace your belly.  It'll save you so much time, energy, mental-health related expenditures... plus, that kind of acceptance is fuckin' sexy.

 Normal, beautiful bellies... but I'd rather have a beer with the one on the right.

Normal beautiful belly.  Badass woman. 

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 Normal, beautiful belly.  Badass woman.

Normal, beautiful belly.  Badass woman.

1 comment

YES, YES, YES! Thanks, Becca, for putting this out here. Insecurities related to the body image hold women back way too much!

Triin September 08, 2019

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