What shape is a “real woman”? And does it really matter?

<This post is an edited version of a Facebook comment I wrote in reply to an angry post about overweight women being called “real women.”>

“Real women” (real people for that matter) come in a variety of shapes, sizes, heights, weights, etc. It doesn’t matter the reasons how or why a shape exists, but that it does. That it does makes it real. Ergo, all shapes are real.

We all have something we do that’s not great for our health – smoking, overconsumption of alcohol, drugs, gambling, binge/purge, driving too fast/under the influence, excessive caffeine, etc.  Anger, resentment and projection are equally unhealthy for mind and spirit.

Fat is visible so has become the socially acceptable target of broad judgement.  Media and advertising photoshop shape and airbrush flaws to create a “perfect image” that does not exist. This is to shame the reader/viewer into striving for and consuming whatever product in an effort to achieve this image of perfection…which did not exist in the first place, a computer generated image of unreality.

This is what “real women” – who are all women – are becoming fed up with. Kate Winslet and Beyoncé are just two of a growing number of well-known women who are embracing their real shapes by suing publications who photoshop their images and now have riders forbidding it.  Fact: there is not equal representation of all shapes and sizes in advertising, print, television and film. If the vast majority of women are size 12/14 and most actresses/models are size 0/2, both are real, but the former is not represented in balance.

It is not helpful to argue who is “more real” or as many will imply, “better real.” Whatever size or shape a person is, for whatever reason, is. Not right or wrong, just is. When we accept each other with all our bumps, flaws, imperfections and wibbly bits, without judgment, discrimination, derision and bullying, that’s when we will come to see and value what is really important and come to be comfortable with ourselves and therefore, each other.  It won’t matter who or what another person is or says, because we will realize it doesn’t affect who or what we are and do.

Epilogue and supporting evidence:  

After writing this post, I went to Microsoft’s online image library to download photos to add to it.  Search term “fat” yielded one image of a slender woman eating a strawberry.  Search term “weight” yielded images of exercise equipment and slender women, some on scales and some with measuring tapes around their waist.  Search terms “women” and “woman” yield dozens of images of women of all ages and races – not a single round, plump, overweight or fat woman among them.

Love to hear your comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s