A friend of mine is a size 8 (US 4) and can fit into size 0 jeans. Girls shot filthy looks at her when she came out of the dressing room with those jeans on, and at the time, I secretly hated her. I mean, I didn’t, but I wanted to. She’s that annoying ultra-slim-but-still-has-a-bum shape, and for this she must be punished. Instead though, whilst watching Gok Wan’s ‘How To Look Good Naked’, she was irritated by a phrase constantly batted around in the media: real women.
At first this phrase makes me think of anyone who isn’t a model, who isn’t skinny, basically. Actually, this phrase means more than just skinny, because skinny is a body shape too, and there is nothing wrong with it. Most people want to be skinny, there’s no point lying, but natural skinniness is absolutely fine. So what does real women mean?
I take it to mean every woman who looks in the mirror and would like to change something about themselves. The phrase real women means everybody, because even the models in the magazines don’t look like their photos; re-touching has made us believe that perfection is totally achievable by going to the gym 3 times a week and eating 5 fruit and veg a day. Real women have dry skin, big feet, short legs, freckles, stretch marks, wrinkles, pointy saddlebags and big tummies. Skinny girls are real women, as are curvy girls, so are girls who wear glasses, older women, and pregnant women.
Dove have an ongoing campaign for real beauty. This in itself is impressive, and it’s not fake real women, re-touched to within an inch of their lives and as skinny as possible. They’re not all late teens/early twenties, and yet the models in the advert campaign look healthy, fabulous and most importantly, happy. Dove campaigns for healthy body image, and works with beat, the leading UK Eating Disorder charity, to raise awareness of certain tricks the media uses to portray one type of beauty – re-touching for example. They also hold self-esteem seminars, and as well as all of this… Dove soap is lovely.
I swear I’m not promoting Dove, but for as long as I’ve been aware of this campaign I have made an effort to buy Dove products in order to support their campaign. Many companies take the real women, real beauty approach and then drop it after a couple of months, and that’s the reason campaigns like these need to be supported.
So, real women, real beauty, whatever you want to call it, I’m all for it.
P.s. Totally stole the title of this blog post from a tweet by Ed Sheeran.