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Am I a real woman?

2013-12-03 14:23:27

Published on 2013-12-03 14:23:27


A recent article by Kate Bartolotta got me thinking about how we define what a real woman is.  

I’ve noticed a growing tendency to view slender or slim women as not ‘real’. Although the average woman in the UK is a size 16, that average is derived from across a wide range of sizes from small to large. Women come in all different shapes and sizes, and whatever that shape, it’s real.

When we say a slender person isn’t real, we’re making comparisons that presume that one size is better or worse than another.

What about me? Am I real to you? A woman I met at a recent event told me I couldn’t have body image issues because I’m slim. I’m 5ft 5 inches and am a size 10. I carry most of my weight in my bottom (a ‘pear’ shape - see picture opposite). This woman illustrated the widespread ignorance there is around body image. Body image has nothing to do with physical appearance and everything to do with your mind. You can choose how to think about your body. You can love or hate it at any size.

I may be slender, but I’ve experienced extreme dislike of my body at different times in my life. Despite the great role model I had in my Mum, I was bullied from a young age about my appearance and later in my adult life by a partner. Both experiences influenced how I thought and felt about my body.

Any woman, no matter what she looks like can experience poor body image. We need to learn to accept all sizes and shapes and not compare or say one size is more real than another. Even models are real. It’s what many of them have to do to maintain their figures that isn’t a healthy or realistic way for women to live. They may be unrepresentative of the average UK woman, but that isn’t the same as being ‘real’.


Am I a real woman?

Let’s stop the ‘fat shaming’ and ‘skinny bashing’ and develop a spirit of acceptance. Whatever size you are, you’re real. If you want to take a stand against what isn’t real, target the airbrushed and photo shopped images that are pumped out by the media.

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