My Thursday post at Healthy is the New Skinny is up: Are You In, Or Are You Out?
I loved the movie “Real Women Have Curves” that came out a few years ago. Starring America Ferrera of “Ugly Betty”, it was a terrific reminder that beauty and health are found across an entire spectrum, not just at one narrow size. But as much as I liked the movie, I hated the title. The implication was obvious: if “real women have curves”, then women who don’t have curves aren’t “real.” And that’s a very damaging message.
Curvy women are real women. Skinny women are real women. Women who have had boob jobs or lip enhancements or liposuction are still real women. Size 0 may make no sense mathematically, but a woman who wears that size is as real as the one who wears a size 16. What makes us “real” people is not the shape of our flesh but our basic humanity. And we lose our humanity when we judge – not when we lose weight, gain weight, or make the intensely personal decision to undergo cosmetic surgery….
Women who diet are still real women. Women who gain weight are still real women. Women who can barely fill an A cup are “real” women – and women who’ve had breast enlargements are still “real”. If we want to change the way girls feel about their bodies, we need to stop using the divisive language of “real” versus“fake.”
The girls and women you know in your life, whether you envy them or pity them, love them or hate them, are all real. The images in the magazines may be fake, but behind those images are women with real bodies, real hearts, real emotion. And even the most beautiful women can be hurt by cruel words.
For more on the infuriating habit of excluding countless women from the right to be real, see this Cathy Reif piece that ran in the Guardian last month.