Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Rona Dougall: We might not all strip off to celebrate our 53rd birthdays but every one of us remains beach-ready

Rona Dougall
Rona Dougall

I reckon most of us mere mortals celebrating any birthday after the age of about 50 are content with some cake and maybe a couple of drinks.

If you’re really pushing the boat out, perhaps changing out of your trackie bottoms to go out somewhere nice for dinner. Heck, we might even have a few cocktails. Why not?

Jennifer Lopez is, indubitably, not most of us. For her 53rd birthday this week she stripped off for a nude photo shoot to promote a new body lotion product from her eponymous beauty line. The tasteful picture of her perfectly toned, age-defying body was shared with her 219 million social media followers. Along with a tasteful video, too, of course.

The usual suspects, and by that I mean rich, thin celebrities, have weighed in to congratulate J-Lo on her “brave move”, saying it is liberating for older women and it’s good that they’re being seen.

But I’m not so sure. As far as I’m concerned it sends out more mixed messaging. Coincidentally, I was interviewing a young journalist this week about why some ordinary women and men decide to strip off for the camera. The reasons were complex.

Dayna McAlpine said she’d had to get some head shots done for work and then at the last moment thought “to heck with it” and asked if she could strip off for the final picture. She’d been considering doing it for a while and wanted it to be a love letter to herself. She’d spent a lot of her teens being bullied and had battled with body dysmorphia.

But now she wanted to celebrate her body and found it incredibly empowering. But she believed the J-Lo picture was counter-productive because it was all about an unattainable perfection. Where was the diversity, she asked? Where were all the normal bodies, the ordinary bodies?

She said the glossy shot of the superstar, formerly known as Jenny From The Block, was not representative of her, or of anyone she knew. The same thing could be said about the honed contestants on programmes like Love Island, which just made people feel bad about their own figures. She believes these perfect young women shouldn’t be taken as the standard ordinary folk should be striving for.

The Spanish Government has obviously been giving this issue some thought. On Thursday its equalities ministry launched a bold advert inviting women of all shapes and sizes to hit the beach, with the slogan: “Summer is ours too”.

“All bodies are beach bodies,” one minister said. The poster featured five women, all with different body types, ages and ethnicity. One of the models had undergone a mastectomy.

The idea was to move away from traditional summer images that tended to depict women with so-called perfect bodies.

It was a great initiative in theory but within hours of the advert’s launch the ministry was rightly criticized for failing to ask the women, including British model Nyome Nicholas-Williams, for permission to use their images. Also, it’s a bit sad we even need campaigns like this. Who gets to decide what the perfect body is?

Jannica Honey is a photographer who specialises in nude portraits. When I interviewed her last week she hit the nail on the head.

“Your body is perfect right throughout your life, and being able to see your own body exactly as it is is a beautiful thing,” she said. “We have to get away from the idea we’re only worth something if we are fit and slim.”

And, although I have no plans to get my kit off any time soon, I couldn’t agree more.