Thursday, February 5, 2015

Real Women

Not a ton of personal stuff to write about today, but I did want to weigh in on a hot topic going on in the media today!  Everyone is making a lot of hay about this plus sized model who is going to appear in an ad in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue for Swimsuits for All.  Several people on my Facebook feed started in with the "finally, a real woman will be in SI" comments, and something happened that had never really happened before.  I was really, truly bothered.

We've all seen the "real women have curves" type memes.  Case in point:

And this...

My friend Meg already discussed this in one of her posts in regards to another article, but now I have to chime in due to the flap about the SI issue.  I'm getting tired of this "real woman" debate, it's becoming both stupid and harmful, and it makes us ladies look awfully childish.  Look, Ashley Graham (the plus sized model in question) is beautiful.  Miranda Kerr is also beautiful.  As far as I can tell neither are cyborgs, so they are both real women.  Thin women are real women.  Big women are real women.  We're all women.

As a currently plus sized woman who will eventually be at a "normal" size/BMI, I'm invested in both sides.  I understand the need for plus sized women to see themselves portrayed as sexy and desirable in the media, and they should be.  Ashley Graham is sexy, she truly is.  But on the other hand, why are women who are thin either naturally or via hard work on their bodies not "real" or sexy?  That first meme I posted?  I not only happen to think Kiera Knightly is very pretty, but she has a rocking six pack in that picture.  That's not easy to achieve, and she probably worked hard to get it.  I think it's pretty marvelous.  I am working very hard to be at a slimmer size, and will always have to work hard in order to maintain that size.  When I get down to the 130/140 range, will I cease to be a real woman?  When I'm at that size and out having a burger as a treat someday, will a plus sized woman be looking at me and thinking "ug, I hate thin bitches who eat whatever they want", or to make some skinny bitch meme of me, not knowing that this thin bitch was once plus sized as well and that I can only eat whatever I want in moderation?  What if the thin "bitch" you're throwing shade at is recovering from an eating disorder or cancer and is trying to get to a healthy place?  Does she get a pass?

I just hate the insanity and infighting that women inflict on themselves, it's honestly why I prefer being around men and always have.  After being tormented by girls all through school, but wholeheartedly accepted into the fold of my guy friends, I quickly learned the lesson that the people who were going to be mean to me about my weight/clothes/hair were girls.  The boys didn't care and accepted me as is.  We say men have created this ideal of beauty, but could they have done it without the consent of women?  For the most part they don't get involved in or perpetuate the "real woman" debate.  We do.  What if we women banded together and just said "Look, a woman who loves herself and is comfortable in her own skin is a real woman"?  What if we were confident enough to look at someone like Emily Ratajkowski or Mila Kunis and say "She is really beautiful and sexy, and so am I.  Yay us!" What if the permanent beauty trend was to quit with the "real women" horseshit and just go be the best/healthiest/most confident version of you, while also celebrating that's not the only way to be.  What a nice place that would be to live in. 

There will always be preferences.  Yes, some men prefer very slim women.  Plenty of men are fine with and want plus sized women.  Those are individual preferences.  We women have preferences too.  Some women drool over Channing Tatum, I happen to think he's not attractive at all and would pick someone like Mark Ruffalo 500 times over him were I a single lady.  That's my preference.  Let's not mistake preferences with ideals or some kind of beauty law, or condemn people for liking what they like.

And because I love when men have a bit of cheeky fun, this made me laugh like hell because it's no different than those "men don't want a skeleton" memes out there.  Seriously people, stop making skinny vs real memes.

Bottom line, let's love and prefer whatever "type" we love and prefer, while we recognize that all types are valid.  Most of and prefer yourself.  Being confident is sexy.  Liking who you are is sexy.  Being kind, loving, accepting and nonjudgmental towards others is sexy.  Lead the way and spread the revolution!



  1. *slow clap*

    I am with you. I'm all about loving curves, but I don't see why it always has to be at the expense of others. A real woman is whatever she wants to be and she owns it. That's the beginning and end of it.

  2. Brava!

    Although, I have a sister who has six pack abs without trying, so maybe Keira just liked out with the genetics.

  3. I agree with this. I really do. But the overall point, I feel, is that all sizes of women need to be represented in advertising. We need to teach the future generation to love their bodies and be comfortable in who they are. I applaud SI for adding a plus size model to their issue. It's moves like this that will become more commonplace and this can only benefit the future generation of women.

    1. I agree with all types needing representation, but on the flip side I would caution women against looking to magazines for validation of self. And from a business perspective, I worked in marketing and trends/money talks. We didn't make decisions because we wanted to make people feel good, we made them by looking at trends/stats. If we saw that a certain word or phrase got more clicks, guess what was used in the advertisement? If stats showed a certain demographic positively responded to certain things, guess who we were gunning after? SI will be looking at one thing and one thing only, and that's stats. If this model generates positive buzz from men and causes more men to buy the magazine, then they will continue to put models like her in. If it bombs, it's back to "typical models". Magazines care about sales, not making people feel good. It's why I take advertisements with a grain of salt, because I've been behind the curtain of Oz so to speak. Overall I was just mostly bothered by those who are saying "oh finally a real woman", as if the other women are invalid because they happen to be thin. We're all valid and pretty fantastic!