Sunday, 22 January 2012

Why I object to the term 'real woman'

Skinny bashing, the latest trend of 2012 has surfaced. Late 2011 saw an onslaught of media articles promoting 'real women' and the fuller figured ideal. That sticks insects lack sex appeal, that you need curves to be a proper feminine beauty. Just look at the headlines 'UK  MEDIA FIRST: REAL WOMEN STAR IN 'MODEL FREE' SPECIAL','This is What a Real Woman Looks Like'  Watch the video here and you'll see what I mean you know what? It really angers me. I am a size six to eight UK female, I am five foot nine and a half. I am a skinny boy figured girl with D cup boobs and boney hips to match. Why because clearly I'm starving myself to make myself fit in. WRONG. I'm skinny despite eating like a horse because I like to exercise and just happen to have the genetics of a skinny arse girl. This does not mean I am unhealthy and it most certainly does not make a woman two, three, four sizes bigger than me a better woman than I am. Some of the girls in that video are slim, but they are basically being told they are less worthy than the other girls because they are closer to the medias twisted ideal than the other girls there. 

Yes the media in recent years has favoured using emaciated models (in the 80's it was athletic women, in the 50's it was fuller figures) and I'm not arguing that there shouldn't be greater representation of diversity in the media all I am asking is that people stop making those of us who are naturally slim feel belittled, to stop reinforcing the negativity. There is a constant bashing of girls like me from the occasional comment of 'eat a hamburger' to 'your collar bones look disgusting' why thank you I do eat burgers and I'm actually a healthy weight because I have muscle mass without going over board, I could work harder and get a more defined pack. Yet that isn't considered feminine at all, no ladies with muscles are disgusting butch beasts that aren't real women either because they have no curves. Its acceptable for anyone to comment on weight, if you fall either side of the average you are ripe for comment.

The picture above shows my family at Christmas, as you can see my Mim is a beautiful larger lady, my sister and I fall into the skinny side and my father is a good healthy weight for his age. We are a diverse range of weights, heights, athleticism and builds. We all eat real food not ready made salt filler microwaveable store bought nonsense. We are healthy, we are real human beings. From Slim to Large weight does not and should not be our defining feature. Being skinny should not make you any less real than a larger lady.

What I think this latest trend is actually trying to do is make obesity socially acceptable. People keep bandying about how models used to be 8% slimmer than the national average and now that figure is closer to 24%, yet hasn't the national waist line been bulging? In our society obesity is a major epidemic so surely we should be promoting a range of healthy body images as the ideal, not curvaceous ladies who are in fact obese. They may be real women, like every other woman on the planet, but they are not good role models. Stick thin celebrities aren't either, I'd like to point out announcing their latest diet craze that damages health and encourages crash diets. A sickening number of young girls diet these days, they wouldn't feel the pressure to diet as badly if they where raised with realistic body images and healthy life styles to begin with. The image above states most models have a BMI that states that they are anorexic, well anorexia is a horrific thing that shouldn't be the promoted ideal but bmi is notoriously unreliable, I myself have had a bmi that was ridiculously low during high school, not because I starved myself but because I was young and tall. Being tall throws the measurements, being naturally slim threw them just as much. The image above I believe shows to beautiful women both who could be equally healthy or unhealthy as the other. We need to stop the use of terms such as 'real women' as they are damaging to women as a whole, they masquerade as empowering for the larger lady but they really keep us locked in a mind set that there is a ideal way a woman should look, when this is simply not the case.

Belinda Stepford

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