Even though women bearing their stomachs is a relatively recent phenomenon, there is a lot of pressure on women's bodies to look a certain way. Magazine covers and even Instagram photos are photoshopped, which makes it increasingly hard for us to know real and what's fake.
This unfortunately doesn't mean that magazines aren't eager to offer photographic evidence of the "worst" and "best" bikini bodies. The recent body shaming surrounding Lady Gaga's halftime performance at the Super Bowl demonstrates this kind of pressure. Tweets disregarded Gaga's athletic and impressive performance and instead targeted the singer's stomach, which the Twitterverse did not find good enough.
And while most of us aren't planning on bungeeing across a football field anytime soon, it's hard not to feel insecure when we finally do show our stomach at the beach, in a locker room, or even in our own homes. Many critics have challenged these standards with slogans like "How do you get a bikini body? You put a bikini on your body." But once a year trips to the beach won't help us move forward in embracing our bodies on the daily.
If we all started bearing our stomachs more frequently, we might really make some headway in changing how we feel about our bodies and how we treat the bodies of those around us.
The Dare to Bare event, founded by SoulCycle instructor and head of the Movemeant Foundation Jenny Gaither, encourages women to exercise in just their sports bra to beta body insecurity. Even if you can't attend the next event or book a bike in one of Jenny's classes, you can recreate the challenge at home, the gym, or in one of your favorite classes.
In the post-Super Bowl controversy Lady Gaga explained, "I'm proud of my body and you should be proud of yours too." Whether you're heading to hot yoga, a spin class, or just running at the gym, ditching your shirt can make a big impact. Apart from helping you feel comfortable in your skin, a sports bra challenge will also help you cool down faster and focus on your form. It's a double win if you're looking to connect your real life goals with your workout goals (and also do way less laundry)!