Operación Bikini by Júlia Barceló and Camille Vannier
After a long winter, spring brings us wonderful things: warm and sunny weather, outdoor plans with friends… But it also means the dreaded and dangerous Bikini Body Challenge is back to haunt us.
Progressively on social media, on television, in magazines and even in the supermarket, everything to remind us that “it is time to diet”. As if it were another key event in the calendar that we can not avoid: Christmas, Easter and now The Challenge.
The worst of all is that the need to comply is incorporated in us, we begin to feel that we need fixing around that time of the year.
If you do not join the diet bandwagon, you should consider yourself a lazy sloth that does not take care of yourself and yadda yadda.
At Fitia, we don’t believe in any of that. We have a firm intention to restore confidence in you and your body by debunking these stereotypes. And when this wonderful book came into our hands, we couldn’t let it go.
Operación Bikini by Júlia Barceló with illustrations by Camille Vannier
It is a fantastic book to free ourselves from aesthetic pressure and introduce us to the culture of Body Positivity and Body Neutral.
The protagonist, Sol, a teenager wanting to have fun with her friends. She feels a strange mix terror and anxiety, when one of her friends invites her to a beach birthday party. Oh no! She will have to put on a bikini and unveil her body flaws to everyone.
First, she considers not going to the party, looking for an excuse to stay at home. As it was not a real option, she dives into a maelstrom of diet and intense workout programs. Guided by her perceived expectations and a supercritical inner voice, she has the sole objective to lose those extra kilos.
The author, Júlia Barceló actress, theater director and feminist activist, does extraordinary. She successfully shows how Sol suffers for weeks to lose a few kilos: avoiding meetings with friends, family meals, going extremely hungry for days… Until the moment when Sol decides that it is not worth all that ordeal. She finally shares to family and friends his discomfort.
Here begins a new stage, in which Sol sees that we all suffer similar fears. She begins to value better lived experiences, with whom, in what way, instead of any appearance.
As you can imagine, we loved the book!
Although it is written for teenagers from 12 years old to read, we can assure you that anyone will identify with the protagonist. It is somehow the book we wished we had and now appreciates that it exists.
Through several examples of everyday life, we can see key concepts of aesthetic pressure: the social and emotional effect of diets, the relationship between physical appearance, personal validity and success or the harmful effect of commenting on the body of others.
The variety of characters that intervene, real and imaginary, contribute to different points of view to the debate. We all heard those ones internally. The harsh comments are how aesthetic pressure is something very rooted and internalized.
You will find a glossary of topics related to Body Positivity and Body Neutral. It is a good starter to understand their difference and distinction.
There is also an important explanation about why the protagonist makes a quick “change of heart”. Because in real life, efforts and progress are not linear and instantaneous.
All written to help us free ourselves from aesthetic pressure little by little. We would recommend reading it more than once to remind yourself how it feels/felt like. Don’t miss it!
You can follow Júlia Barceló‘s Instagram to learn more about her activism and her world.