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Because you know what that implies? Are there really femmebots out there, complete with boob guns that make up the category of "not real" women? Are there girls made out of plastic? Is there a test you have to take, or are there government regulations sort of like they have for beef that mean we get tagged as real women, right next to the stamp stating we're organic, because hey we're composed of carbon-containing molecules?

It's a bullshit term. It always struck me wrong when I went to Lane Bryant and was rewarded with "real woman dollars" for shopping. But the wrongness burst into ugly life when I re-watched the episode of Project Runway where one of the designers is a giant toolbag to a plus-size lady. The utter patronizing tone in which its delivered and that it's obvious he's using it in place of "fat" because he's trying to weasel out of being eviscerated for being an asshole is even more insulting.

You're not fooling anyone. We shouldn't need some kind of smirking consolation prize for wearing clothing that's bigger than a 16. We already know we're real. We exist. It's a sad disguise for the fact that often plus-size clothing feels like cultural punishment by setting set us in an adversarial position to women who wear "normal" sizes. Perhaps if we're too busy trying to look down our noses at each other, we'll miss the evil truth that we're being compelled to attack people who should be our allies in this struggle, divided falsely along superficial lines.

Or maybe I'm reading too much into it. Maybe it's just a pathetic attempt to make us feel better about ourselves. Hey, you're large and are apparently considered unworthy to wear anything other than black smocks (it's slimming, you know) but you're a real woman. As if realness is determined by mass rather than an authenticity of spirit.

Being a woman isn't a contest that some of us have to lose. There is a full spectrum of women to which we all belong, an infinite continuum of what it means to "look like a woman," and no part of that spectrum should be defined as inherently superior. Doing that (and then gleefully jumping over a cliff with the invention of photoshop) is what got us into this mess in the first place.

I'm tired of the implication that my struggle to accept myself has to come at the detriment of other women.

Real women are fat. Real women are thin. Real women come in all colors and shapes and identities, and sometimes we have curves, and sometimes we don't but damnit we're all real women.

And we're all really beautiful.


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 7th, 2012 04:06 pm (UTC)
But one of the reasons I'm not comfortable with the Dove "Real Beauty" campaign; the use of "real" still feels as if it divides us. As if being a woman is a contest some of us have to lose.

Then what would you call "beauty" that comes from three hours of makeup and six hours of photoshop? Because that's not "real" to me. It's not even humanly possible, in fact. If that's not the very definition of "fake" or "unreal", then I'm really not sure what is. And when we're raising out children to believe that "beauty" is a standard that isn't even physically possible without computer enhancement and proportion adjustments that are an IDLH.... what sort of message does THAT send?
Sep. 7th, 2012 04:19 pm (UTC)
Having looked at that add campaign, there's just as much makeup involved I would say. Just thankfully not obvious photoshopping.

Unfortunately at this point photoshop is never going away.

My point is that unless specifically attacking the use of photoshop (etc), the implication of this "real" shit is ultimately attacking a subset of women. One thing I have actually really liked about the Dove campaign was the piece it did showing all the makeup and photoshopping.
Sep. 7th, 2012 04:39 pm (UTC)
Having read over it again, I think I'm just going to kill those two sentences anyway. I wasn't happy with them when I wrote them last night, and it's really a whole different thing from the rest of what I was saying anyway.
Sep. 7th, 2012 04:45 pm (UTC)
There, I think that's better and more what I meant to say.

/stops spamming you now XD
Sep. 7th, 2012 05:33 pm (UTC)
Maybe it's just a pathetic attempt to make us feel better about ourselves.

It's an attempt to make you want to buy their stuff. ;) But yeah, I do think it's trying to do that through the mechanism of boosting self-esteem, "This ad makes me feel good about myself so I'll buy the product being advertised," just in an incredibly ham-handed way. Marketing types don't have nearly as much of a handle on psychology as they like to think they do.
Sep. 7th, 2012 07:00 pm (UTC)
Adoring you!!!
Sep. 7th, 2012 08:19 pm (UTC)
Sep. 7th, 2012 07:08 pm (UTC)
"Real women are thin."

Thanks. I don't get this in Japan, but part of the "it's okay to not be a size 0" critique often turns into "it's *not* okay to be size 0, because obviously you are starving yourself. But I eat my necessary calories, and I'm real, too, thank you very much.

Out of curiousity, how do you feel about real woman = larger size; real man = too much testosterone?
Sep. 7th, 2012 08:19 pm (UTC)
I think there's a lot of concern over women starving themselves to be thin, but it's also very much natural to some people! My best friend in high school could not gain weight to save her life and she ate more than I did. That's part of why I really don't like trying to normalize larger sizes in a way that slams people who are thin as automatically unhealthy in some way.

Ugh... the "real men" issue is a whole other ball of wax. And just as poisonous in its own way. Though I have seen some men trying to take the term away from being about machismo and making it into basically "real men are people who are allowed to have a full spectrum of feelings."
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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