“REAL women AIN’T a size 0… REAL woman have CURVES!!!”
At the time of this writing, that was the title of an interest group page on Facebook.
“Meat is for men, bones are for dogs.”
I’ve heard that quoted on 3 separate occasions in the past few months.
I’ve been told I don’t eat enough, I’ve been told I need to put on weight, I’ve been told I’m not allowed to work out because I’m already “too skinny”.
I have been judged over and over and over again by my size, but I’m supposed to be okay with it because I’m “lucky” that I’m so skinny.
So wait. One minute I’m frail, sickly, disgusting, and not a real woman, but then I’m supposed to feel lucky the next?
I’m being told through various picture comparisons, illustrations, and catch-phrases on the internet and every day in person that I’m too skinny and that any man that looks at me is disgusted by my body and would rather have a “real” woman with curves… and I’m supposed to feel LUCKY?
Well, I AM lucky.
Lucky that I have a husband who adores me and DOES think I’m sexy. Lucky that I am (on most days) able to still feel confident about my body and who I am, despite what some people say, because I know that’s just the WAY I am and there’s nothing more I can do to change the fact that I have a small frame. Lucky that there are other women out there, besides me, and of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds, who see JUST what’s wrong with telling a “skinny” woman to ‘eat a cheeseburger’.
They know it’s just as wrong as telling a perfectly healthy, average sized, curvy woman, that she’s “too fat” to be a model. Just as wrong as those “no fat chick” t-shirts. Just as wrong as all those people telling curvy women that they HAVE to lose weight to be beautiful.
You don’t have to lose weight to be beautiful and you don’t have to gain weight to be beautiful.
All you have to do is what is HEALTHY for YOU.
Everyone has a different bone structure and is framed differently. As a result you have a variety of shapes and sizes. This is how it SHOULD be. Why don’t people realize this? We can’t all strive to be the same size whether it’s bigger or smaller than what we currently are… it’s just not healthy. What’s right for one woman isn’t going to always be right for another, so why are we trying to shove each other into a box?
My first recollection (although, I freely admit that there could have been previous efforts that went unknown to me) of the beginning of the “big is beautiful” campaign was when Dove started advertising with “real” women vs. models.
I fully and 100% support the idea of using average sized women and curvier women in the media and in advertising (and please note that I did not once use the word “real” in that statement), because not all of us ARE the size and shape of a super model. Hell, I’m small… but I’m sure as hell not shaped like a super-model. I’m 5’2″ and I have a short torso. Or maybe it’s my chest that’s short, because bras without adjustable straps never seem to fit me… ever… but that’s beside the point.
The point is that Dove was on the right track, in my opinion.
But then social media happened. And memes happened. And bitterness happened.
And then the us vs. them mentality of “skinny” vs. “curvy” was born.
It was no longer just “big is beautiful [too]“. It was now “big is beautiful [and anything smaller is disgusting]“.
How is that fair? How was the effort to be all inclusive suddenly turned into this nasty hatred between women and anyone different from them? We should be joining together in this. We should be supporting EACH OTHER and encouraging EACH OTHER without putting a stipulation on size.
“You’re a beautiful REAL woman as long as you’re between the sizes of 4 and 12.”
So the size 0-4 are not beautiful? We’re not real? And the women above a size 12 are not beautiful? THEY’RE not real?
Well, any anatomy class can clarify the confusion about whether or not they’re REAL… but why must we classify beauty into a standardized box? Isn’t that what the initial campaign was fighting against in the first place? Was the goal not to be more inclusive?
And that’s what this is about.
This is about you. This is about me. This is about me and a few other women making a public statement that ALL women are REAL women and that ALL of us should be comfortable with who we are and ALL of us should be making choices based on what’s HEALTHY for ourselves, rather than trying to fit into a mold that wasn’t meant for us.
It’s about the fact that size does not determine what makes a woman.
It’s about being proud of who you are as a person, being proud of your choice to have or not to have a career; about being proud of your body and feeling beautiful in it, and about being different… having your own interests and unique talents that make you who you are.
It’s about acceptance.
It’s about healing the wound that we have created for ourselves because of this, what I like to call, “size war”.
It’s about realizing that it’s OKAY to be bigger or smaller than someone else. That it DOESN’T make you ANY less beautiful.
It’s about celebrating and accepting our differences and rejoicing in the fact that WE ARE ALL REAL WOMEN.
The pages to follow will introduce you to just a handful of the real women out in the world. The curvy, the skinny, the tall, the short, the blond, the brunette, the mommies and the child-free.
All the women found on this blog are volunteers. I didn’t pick them based on any criteria other than the fact that they had to fill out a questionnaire so that I could get to know them better and would be able to better tailor their photo session specifically to them.
They were not photoshoped.
There were no makeup artists or hair stylists present.
These images are just of them… the REAL them… in their element.