Opinion: Sweaters can’t hide body insecurities


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Even though it is too cold for swimsuits, the winter brings its own form of body insecurity.

As the temperature continues to drop, so does body image.

The holidays are notoriously associated with massive feasts, over-the-top sales, and the excess of consumption. Christmas time is synonymous with gluttony.

Moving from the dinner table to the couch, we hear our one cousin declare with pride, “I literally just gained five pounds.” If the proclamation of weight gain were celebrated year-round, cousin Sue’s confession would seem mundane or certainly not significant enough to merit an article. However, our society does not “weigh” weight gain equally — 10 months of the year, we discourage it.

And yet, during the magical months where it is too cold for society to expect us to show off our bodies, we are given a pass to let ourselves go. It has become embedded in our culture that, during wintertime, traditional body standards don’t apply. Girls are not as expected to shave their legs, boys less obligated to have six-packs. If society doesn’t have to look at your body, you are not expected to “maintain it.”

During the holidays, we are given a “pass” from society’s traditional standards about our bodies.

With expectations for the perfect body already being as unobtainable as they are, hearing conflicting messages in the cooler months can complicate matters even more.

Immediately after the over-eating of Thanksgiving is Black Friday, where many take advantage of the countless discounts.

All of a sudden, people find themselves in fitting rooms trying on clothes that cater more towards a non-sweater weather mentality.

They are given a glimpse into the real world, reminded of the impossible standards that they are expected to uphold.

Suddenly, that impressive five-pound weight gain is no longer a badge of honor.

Lucky for us, we can cover our insecurities with clothing! Not quite. It doesn’t stay cold forever, especially in California.

When the sun comes out again and temperatures increase, we are expected to pull up our shorts and snap back into a warm-weather mindset. Our bodies, unfortunately, are not as quick to change.

And so the cycle begins again.

We make our New Years’ resolution and vow to change ourselves from “winter me” to “rest of the year me.” Once again, we are forced to hold ourselves to impossible standards. Maybe this is why New Years’ Resolutions have such a low success rate: it’s simply impossible to make a promise to ourselves when our culture doesn’t allow it.