Gran Canaria and bodies on beaches
I recently went on a week long trip to Gran Canaria with Hannah. We stayed in the fanciest hotel I think I’ve ever been to and the first 5 star I think I’ve ever stepped inside.
Whilst we stayed in the resort a lot we did venture out to a few places within walking or reasonable taxi fair distance. Those being the beach, bars, and a town called Mogan. But I wasn’t going to write about what I did on this trip, I do want to write about the sight I saw a lot. Boobs.
It was mid 30s most days and therefore I spent most of my time not wanting to wear anything. And the thing is – most of the people around us did just that. Honestly, boobs everywhere. I’m talking all sizes, ages and colours. And it was just as common place at the palm trees.
For me, it was near revolutionary. By the second day I was walking around the pool with my arms swinging by my sides instead of placed self consciously over my stomach. I pretty much completely forgot there was anything wobbly about me and splashed, rolled and pranced about having a great time.
Going back to it being as common place as the palm trees. It was so in the reaction too. No one gave a shit. No one was staring (apart from Hannah and I on the first day before it was dawned on us this was The Way). It was un sexualised and I overheard no comments or saw no grimaces or pointing. Very un-British. Not to say there was nothing like that at all and I can’t say the Canarians don't objectify women (we got a car beep at us on more than one occasion, even before we got caught in the sprinklers as we made our way back to the hotel after a jaunt somewhere), but it was the general reaction and view that we picked up on whilst there.
One of the oddest moments happened whilst we were at the beach. A group of 4 young people – 2 men, 2 women forming 2 hetro couples arrived and placed themselves in front us. Both women whipped off their tops in front of both partner and the other couple within minutes of arriving. The men were playing football with a tennis ball. It would all have been seen as very inappropriate back home but I thought it illustrated the differences perfectly. I mean both women were toned, tanned and very beautiful but I think it is a healthier reaction to bodies than we have in the more covered world.
This was a very specific situation and people are generally more carefree on holiday. But in such a short space of time my view of my own body and my comfort within it changed significantly. I’ll admit there was a level of comparison, but it stopped being a ‘I think that person looks way better or not as good as me’ to realising there were so many different bodies around and no one seems to be taking any notice of how different they are- no one is going to care about what I look like either. It was really nice. It was a very good example of why we need to see different bodies around, what it's like when all body types on show are more common place and the effect that can have on how you feel in your own skin.