“Real women have curves” and other discriminatory tales
September 13, 2012
By: Rhianna Campbell
The government are considering passing a law against ‘fatism’, the discrimination of the overweight.
And whilst this may be a good thing, I fear the focus on the average to overweight women of the world is creating a new social pariah: the slim woman.
Issa designer Daniella Helayel designs clothes for “real women”, who “like (herself), are full of curves”.
The Guardian’s Jess Cartner-Morley says Maria Grachvogel’s autumn collection is “completely wearable for real women as well as beanpoles”.
Even Victoria Beckham, “the original stick insect” according to Amanda Platell in the Daily Mail, has designed her range around ‘feminine curves’.
The word ‘real’, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, means actually existing, genuine. And whilst the designers may be attempting to celebrate body diversity by making their ranges accessible to larger ladies, they’re again creating a divide between different body types.
We’ve all seen the image circulating Facebook; a photo of a woman in the sea who looks to be about a size 8 next to a photo of Marilyn Monroe, a size 14, posing on the beach. The caption under the image reads “This (referring to the Miss Monroe) is more attractive than this.” (referring to the smaller woman). The image had been bombarded with comments such as “Ew, she’s so skinny!”, “Ugh, that’s not sexy at all.” and “Real women have curves!”
Almost unwittingly, people are creating a polar opposite of ‘fatism’: “skinnyism”. What is a real woman? There’s no strict size definition, but it seems that if your clothes tags don’t feature at least double digits, you’re not ‘real’.
Well, I’ve got news for you. We are. We’re as real as the women who fit into the clothes boasting double digit size tags.
The size zero craze was arguably the first of recent body debates. Most of the hype fell under two categories: the “I want to have a perfect body like that” section, and the “Nobody looks like that, it’s unhealthy” section. Here, skinny women were held up as a shining example, making larger women feel less ‘dainty’ or ‘feminine’, but some disagreed and suggested such women were unreal, unattractive and unhealthy. After some time, the debate seemed to end, with the concurrent statement that zero isn’t a size. And whilst being literally size 0 is in fact unhealthy for a fully grown woman, this debate sparked a disdain towards slimmer women, which eventually grew into the fiery idea that slim women are not real women. A ‘curvy’ woman is a real woman, yet ‘curvy’ seems to refer not to body shape, as you’d think, but body size.
Now, slimmer women are made to feel inferior and waif-like for not having the body of Christina Hendricks. Body diversity is good. Body diversity is normal.It doesn’t matter if you’ve got no boobs, or if you get a muffin top when you sit down. It doesn’t matter if you’re a size 6, a size 10 or a size 12; as long as you’re a healthy weight, it shouldn’t matter. Who are to call others unattractive?
It’s about time the ‘real woman’ image the media favours reflects the real woman the world features.