What is a “Real Woman”?

A “real woman” of course is the person you were yesterday, are today, and will be tomorrow. Your height, shape, and size, at any given moment, define what it means to be a real woman. But there seems to be a problem with the fashion industry and media at large, they just don’t know how to represent the average woman - or perhaps don't want to. To them, there are only two body types; either too skinny like the models we’ve come to know in the last forty years, or the “plus size” type that aren’t exactly too fat. So where is the middle-size woman then? Do they not exist? What about the fat girl who shops in the dress size 19 section,
is she not real enough for publication?

In fear of coming off as extreme, some designers will use a curvy model that’s no more than a size 12 and pass her off as plus-size. This creates a problem in two ways because: 1. That depiction is not a realistic representation of what it means to be plus-size and, 2. This tells people that women must be classified into a plus-size category when they don’t fit into the ideal waiflike runway model shape.

What’s worse is that many women feel the need to qualify themselves as “plus-size models” because simply calling themselves “models” is not enough. In other words, the general public is still not ready to accept or believe that a large woman can be a model because apparently a “model” is a thin woman only. And when the spotlight is placed on a “plus-size model,” be it on a cover of a magazine or on the news, we as a society take it as a sign that “real women” are finally accepted into the mainstream, all the while forgetting that she too was photoshopped.

Then there’s this puzzling and hypocritical situation when someone we idolize – a singer or actress for example – gains a few pounds. One moment we could be talking about how bigger women are “real women” and also beautiful, and then next thing you know, our famous singer gains weight, prompting others to shame her for letting herself go. Maybe we only want to see “real women” depicted in fashion publications when they are 6’2” and dress size 12. But what about those of dress size 14 to 28? Are they just a novelty to be used randomly, here and there, when a magazine or fashion designer needs to prove that they support diversity?

Next time you want to see a real woman, just look in the mirror.