“Real women have curves.”
The above is a statement I have seen on various photographs, as banners on websites, and general status updates here and there. A sentence meant to empower and bolster those females who are not, as the magazines call it, “athletic” or “boy-shaped”. It is letting us know it is okay to be a little larger than what society has deemed the norm as it so happens that being such a size lends itself to being defined as a proper woman.
As a woman who is a little larger than what society has deemed the norm I would like to call bullshit.
If you have followed this blog for any length of time you will know that I am a big fan of being proud of the body you own. I’m a big fan of women doing what they want with their appearance if it suits them well and fine. I want women of all shapes and sizes to feel comfortable in their skin, to feel empowered, to feel bolstered by themselves at all times. I would like a day to come for signs reminding them of their beauty to not be necessary. However, as it seems that day isn’t coming any time soon considering Jennifer Lawrence has been called fat, we need to stand up for each other.
That means all women.
That means the skinny ones, too.
It seems to be a common misconception in the female community that those of us who are inherently skinny have it easy. It is somehow believed that their size lends itself to getting the man easier, getting the job faster, and being more popular. This is a dangerous belief – it negates the intelligence, emotional maturity, determination, and inspiring aspects of that woman. When we begin to believe that a woman achieved what she has achieved based on her appearance, we are not only buying in to the prejudices against women but also becoming sales executives for them ourselves.
I am well aware research has been done based on appearances and how they factor in to job decisions, wages, and relationships. I am well aware that better looking people tend to rate higher on various scales in these situations. Does this really mean that every woman who is thin and successful only become the latter due to the former? Or are we really just trying to make ourselves feel better?
I know plenty of women who are naturally skinny. In the same way my body has, in my belief, held on to every complex carbohydate it has ever ingested, their bodies don’t seem to need them. While my hips are all, “Yes, please, all the McDonald’s!” theirs are like, “Pfft, might as well be a salad.” Have I felt this unfortunate case of genetics unfair at times? Of course I have. But it doesn’t mean that they find clothing any easier to find, boys any easier to date, or jobs any easier to get. It just means that while I have yet to have a point in my life since puberty when something on my body hasn’t jiggled, they are looking for ways to make a little jiggle happen.
I don’t want to be called a “real woman” because my hips are wider than someone else’s or my bra size larger. I would hesitate to call myself a real woman based on anything that the general public can see about me since I believe, and correct me if I’m wrong, that the only thing that makes you a real woman is a vagina. That is the thing about us that separates us from the opposite gender, yes? I wouldn’t even venture to say breasts are included in this because, if they were, I don’t think the double push up bra would exist.
We are doing a disservice to women everywhere, no matter what size, by advertising that one body type trumps another. I know that in this world we are bombarded by images of thin, airbrushed, beautiful women and our natural reaction is to fight against it. And we should. But we shouldn’t fight against it by pitting ourselves against the skinny women. It’s not us versus them in that sense. It is us (as in all women) against them (as in the media). We are playing ourselves directly into their hand if we begin to categorize ourselves based on what we look like.
There is so much more to offer inside of us. Perhaps if we began to describe a real woman as one with her own thoughts, ideals, and desires we would feel more bonded to each other. Perhaps if we celebrated the brain rather than the breasts or the achievements rather than the ass, we would begin to prioritize qualities in a healthy way. If my body type makes you tell me that I am what a real woman should look like, I will be the first person to tell you that my one hundred and five pound friend is of the same ilk.
We’re all real women. Let’s start celebrating the beauty we all have, inside and out.