Sunday, March 4, 2012

Real Women have Two X Chromosomes.

There's been a trend online that has picked up even more momentum in the past few months that I've found to be a source of frustration. The posting of images like this:

And this:

We've all seen these images: the skinny-isn't-sexy backlash against the barrage of Unrealistic Beauty Expectations from the media, rail thin models in high fashion, and the growing percentage of women with eating disorders. Those who post images like those above, as well as the commenters, usually tout these images as being revolutionary and forward-thinking when it comes to body image.

This is absurd.

The racial equivalent of this would be if, when our society realized that "hey, maybe we should treat black people like they're, oh I don't know, People" the dominant race (in this case white people) were demoted to subhuman. You cannot just switch the labels and treatment of two groups and call it revolutionary.

By saying X is what is sexy, regardless of the value of X, you are asking a diversely shaped group of people to become one shape. Those who don't fit the mold of that shape are devalued. If "curvy" is what is considered sexy (and remember that's a body shape not a body fat %), then if someone who is naturally slender eats more unhealthily to gain weight the shape of their body wouldn't change.

And ultimately, wasn't health the point of backlashing against the Unrealistic Beauty Expectations in the first place? To nurture/protect/place value in women's health? The real revolutionary idea would be if we promoted being in tune with your own body, giving it nourishing food, and placing value on all the things having a strong and healthy body lets you do.

The phrase "Real Women Have Curves" also resonates very negatively with me. Well, yes I do have curves, but if I was born with a different body type would I not be considered a real woman? Are women with smaller breasts and narrower hips "Not Real?" Things like the images above do nothing to end the commoditization of women or refocus the value of a woman on something other than her body parts.

To put it into excruciatingly simple terms: some people are big and some people are small. And that's cool. Some people think big people are prettier and some people think small people are prettier. And that's cool too. Do what makes you happy, do what keeps you healthy.


  1. Women with eating disorders suffer an onslaught of criticism already. It also isn't fair to them, to emphasize the entire 'unrealistic beauty expectations.' That just worsens the pressure of looking "curvy" and thin, and really draws their attention away from what should be important. Their health. So I agree.

  2. After all, a woman's body is worth more than just ornamental purposes, right?