We are overly critical of our bodies. We need to be proactive in changing this, not only for ourselves but for everyone around us. With the warm joy that summer brings, for many it also brings insecurities relating to how they will look in their swimsuits, apprehensively taking on this country’s beaches and pools. Photography has been the instrument used by advertising agencies and marketing to sell our own insecurities back to us by idealizing the human image. I decided to use photography to show how people are combating these business strategies, enthusiastically displaying their nearly-naked bodies in a public area.
The Milwaukee Underwear Bike Ride, organized by the Milwaukee Bicycle Community, has been hosting underwear bike rides for the last four years. The group comes together with members of the community once a month during the summer, strips down to their underwear, donates clothes to St. Vincent DePaul, and hits the streets with hundreds to celebrate and recognize body image.
This is a time of year to take care of each other, mentally and physically. I encourage everyone to take part in a local event such as this or to create one for your own city. It doesn’t have to be to the same scale as the Milwaukee ride, but get out there and celebrate your body. Get together with friends, ride your bikes, and enjoy. Pretty simple.
Words and photography by Kyle Grillot