Who is this so-called “real woman” anyway?

There’s no denying that the fashion world favours skinny girls, and has done for a few decades now. I mean, that’s simply an objective fact. And it’s left the rest of us mere mortals feeling pretty crappy about ourselves. I tell myself that I’ll raise my girls to love themselves, inside and out, but wouldn’t that make me a hypocrite? Do I love my body, just the way it is? Heck do I. Having children just gave me new bits about my body to feel dissatisfied with!

Ok so maybe I wouldn’t feel so damn dissatisfied if I wasn’t constantly bombarded with images of flat-bellied, smooth-legged beauties in the first place. Maybe – many campaigners assert – if fashion embraced the body of “real women,” I would feel more confident about myself (which in truth, I generally am as long as I’m clothed lol). Then I could raise my girls to stuff their faces with pizza, avoid all exercise and embrace their cellulite.

Maybe not.

Herein lies my point: what we should be embracing and celebrating is a healthy lifestyle, something too many of us neglect (myself included). In the west in particular, we live our lives to excess, gorging until our bellies are full and throwing away our leftovers. It looks like the French government have finally seen sense in this regard, as explained in this Guardian article.

Celebrating obesity is no more helpful to society than putting all skinny people on a pedestal. There are large people who are healthy, skinny people who are not and midrange people who are either.

What might bring us together more is an acceptance of diversity. I was pleased to see the new Target Australia ad campaign as reported in the Huffington Post but wouldn’t it be great if all fashion ads showed women of all shapes and sizes? But with an emphasis on health instead of waistline? Is it a good idea to normalise being overweight? And who is this so-called “real woman” anyway? If my twins grow up to be naturally slim, should they be made to feel like they’re not “real women?” Or if they turn out to love athletics, dance or martial arts, will they be judged by bigger women to be “anorexic?” I wouldn’t want that anymore than I’d want them to be body-shamed for being fat.

When I contemplate things like this, I’m struck by what a weird species we humans are, constantly judging ourselves and others. Hopefully I’ll be able to help my girls fight their way through the maze that is our society and its bizarre ways.


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