There are days when it's truly a joy to be a human being. On those days, humanity is reaffirmed in such a way that you can't help but think, "Yeah, we're all gonna be OK." And then there are the other days — the ones when crawling under your desk with a bottle of wine while wearing doomsday gear seems like a perfectly acceptable response. Case in point? The recent reaction to a picture of Kelly Ripa in a bikini.
Ripa's husband of more than two decades, Mark Consuelos, shared the picture on Instagram, captioning the post, "Sultry Sundays with the sexy one are my fave..." So sweet, yeah? Not to mention the fact that Ripa, at 47, looks like she's in the best shape of her life. People can't possibly find anything to pick apart here, right? Right?!
Sadly, wrong. No sooner had Consuelos posted the snapshot than couch critics and keyboard warriors began berating Ripa for her wardrobe choice. Yes, really.
"Kelly's gorgeous, but isn't there a cutoff age where age-appropriateness comes into play? Just because you can rock a bikini doesn't mean you should," one person commented.
"Not the sweet Kelly she was when she first started with Regis," another insisted. Others jumped on the bandwagon, implying fame must have gone to Ripa's head for her to make such a bold fashion choice as a — *gasp* — bikini at the beach while on vacation with her loving husband.
Happily, those negative comments were all but washed away by the ensuing flood of fans who have Ripa's back. "Haters. Nothing but haters," one such fan wrote.
"Nothing but jealousy. That's all there is to it. You keep doing you Kelly. People are insecure with themselves when they hate on someone else. More power to you Kelly. If I had your abs I'd be wearing a bikini everywhere. Lol. Well not everywhere but you know what I mean."
Another chimed in, "Why do people have to be so mean and petty? She's beautiful and fit! Life is too short for negativity!"
And really, ladies, isn't it? We live in a world where one-third of women globally have suffered physical or sexual violence — where women and girls represent 60 percent of all undernourished people. We have real problems aplenty, so why are we making problems where there are none?
The time for supporting and empowering each other is now. If we don't lift up one another, who will? Also, doesn't it make you more than a little sad to think that sexiness is treated as an invisible line that recedes the older you get to it?
It defies logic to state that women can't be sexy and feel sexy and, yes, even dress sexy beyond their 20s. As a woman in my early 30s, I can tell you I feel even sexier now than I did a decade ago. Gone are the hang-ups I used to have about my body and the pressure to appear a certain way. There's something undeniably sexy about getting to a point where you are content to age gracefully and embrace every stretch mark, wrinkle, scar and seeming imperfection as beautiful testaments to a life well-lived.
Some people get there in their 20s; some people don't get there until their 60s. There are no parameters here, no hard-and-fast rules. Anyone who tells you otherwise isn't being honest (and they probably need a hug too).
Ripa is a woman who is in excellent health. She enjoys a loving marriage. She works hard. She is confident. And make no mistake; she looks damn good in a bikini. So can we quit with all of the judgment for a hot minute and just be happy for her? Instead of tearing her down, we should be taking a page from her book.
C'mon — let's go to the beach this summer and for once not worry about whether or not someone is scrutinizing our thighs. Most important, let's not treat each other as shells of expectations clad in controversial swimming garb, but rather celebrate each other as the vibrant women we are.
I'll meet you there with sunscreen and, inspired by Ripa, no shame.
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