‘Real Women’: A Definition.

This topic sparks a lot of controversy amongst lingerie bloggers and advertising campaigns alike… such a little phrase and such a big reaction. This phrase has been in circulation for a while now and seems to be a way of celebrating the fuller figure. The problem with this, of course, is that it can be interpreted as being excluding… that slimmer women aren’t seen as ‘real women’ any more; that there is a new body image fashion to be admired. In the early 90’s, there was much more emphasis on ‘thinness’ in the media, with supermodels being the primary template that women were encouraged to follow. Nowadays there is much more emphasis on an ‘hourglass’ being the idea female shape, with models like Crystal Renn, Sophie Dahl on the runways and celebrity like J-lo, Beyonce, Scarlett Johansson in the media spotlight and admired by women and men worldwide.

This new phenomenon of ‘Real Women’ is all the more controversial as it fails to recognise the diversity that body related T.V shows, curve-celebratory clothing and lingerie brands etc. promotes: ‘realness’ is the diversity of the female shape. The ‘apple’, the ‘vase’ the ‘boyish’ the ‘hourglass’ and all the categories which have been constructed for us to label ourselves all can be dressed, undressed and admired for what they are… all equally beautiful and all special. If a woman is happy and healthy within herself then great. To men a woman’s beauty is all subjective, to the media always in flux. Why change for anyone but yourself? Why not be who you want to be and look the way you want to look? It is cliché, but this is what ‘Real Woman’ means to me; not all the iconography that the phrase resonates, but the acceptance of your ‘real’ self.

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  1. So true. To me a real woman is measured by her character, not her bra size.

    Those who smugly cheer ‘real women’ as meaning only hourglass women are missing the point; all that has been done is replacing one difficult-to-attain ideal with another, making people who don’t fit that ideal feel bad (because to advertisers, hourglass is NOT the same as ‘average curves’- it’s more like a glamour model…are push-up bras and boob jobs going to be the new dodgy diets of the future?).

    • Thanks for your comment Perdita! I’m so glad you understood exactly what I was trying to say in this post. Beautiful name by the way, very Shakespearean! x

  2. Hear hear! I hate the term ‘real women’ because ALL women are real, unless they are robots. Great post!


  1. […] Although I don’t tend to agree with the whole ‘real women’ debate in general (see my ‘real women’ dictionary definition here) you can still get the drift of what is being intended here – models with more varied body […]

  2. […] debate on the blogosphere of late,  (for examples see here  here and here!). I’ve written on this subject in the past, but today I saw a story which has made me double […]

  3. […] type. I’m not convinced that this was created to be derogatory towards slim ladies, however the ‘Real Women’ debate has become well and truly hackneyed now and it has certainly been picked up by the media and […]

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