Thursday, 26 January 2012

The Real Woman

This is inspired by an article I read in the Guardian, and its view point on what defines a "real" woman.

In a society where body image is constantly scrutinised, whether it be the "what's hot and what's not" nature of celebrity magazines, or the constant images and articles written about weight loss, surgery, cosmetics etc being the answer to all life's problems, it is becoming increasingly difficult to have a realistic view on what constitutes "real" or "fake", "healthy" or "unhealthy". Therefore, I resort (once again) to dictionary definitions for an objective definition of "real".

Firstly, the definition of real in the Concise Oxford Dictionary is: "something actually existing or occurring in fact; not imagined or supposed". Therefore, I believe that the media's idea of a "real woman" does not exist. This is because, as the article says, we see this phrase "the real woman" used and flashed around constantly, but nobody seems to have a firm idea of what it defines, except the fact that often it is used in a derivative way about thin women ie models. The term has become prominent in recent years, as a back lash to the ideals of the extremely thin woman.  At first I understood this point of view, and even empathised with it. This is because I am not thin and probably will never have that kind of body shape, so naturally I am almost totally excluded from the industry of high fashion, and feel unrepresented in the media. I had my view clouded and dictated by what the media told me, and felt almost victimised by images of "perfection" because I wasn't a size 0. When the "craze for curves" began and it was more acceptable for women not to be androgynous I was elated; finally something was being done about the  wrong idea that every woman was inadequate if they weren't thin. But think about it, if the "real women" idea becomes as prominent as the size 0 = perfection idea that most girls & women struggle with, will the media be making the same mistake again? 

For many years I felt victimised and inadequate as a result of the media's idea of a uniform image of beauty, but by allowing the image of the "real woman" to dominate, the tables are then turned on those who are size 0. They will then feel like the victims, the ones who are somehow lacking in something, simply because of their dress size. This is not right. The fact is, that there is no one image of beauty, and no "standard" amongst humans. Everyone was created differently, with different builds and different bone structures. 

Instead of victimising and bullying those who are different, and viewing these differences as flaws, we should be CELEBRATING this diversity and rejoicing in it. I am not advocating any kind of extreme unhealthy shape or way of life, but I am saying that as long as you are healthy then you should be comfortable with who you are and use it to your advantage. It sounds cheesy, but honestly, I believe nothing is more beautiful than a girl who is happy, healthy and confident with who she is. That for me is the image of the "real woman", regardless as to whether she is a size 0 or a size 16. It has taken me a long time to realise this, and it has done me the world of good to understand it.

No comments:

Post a Comment