Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The "Reality" Of Beauty

The campaign for "real women" shows up quite often these days. This morning I read Mishelle's post on Curvy Girl Guide called "Real-Sized Style Icons". The post lists her top ten “Real-Sized” Fashion and Style Icons. I get what her point is here; she verbalizes herself quite neatly.
"After all, this is not a cookie-cutter world.  We are all different, and that should be embraced in our society, not shunned."
She then lists ten celebrities who all fit a particular body type. While these women are unquestionably beautiful, I have an issue with labeling them "real women". Real women come in all shapes and sizes, even slim.

Via WetPaint.com.
This is Kasia, the "fiercely real" competitor on America's Next Top Model. Can someone please tell me what makes her more "real" than the Cycle 15 winner, Ann?

Via Starcasm.net
The way we label each other matters. It's like condemning a woman for being "barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen". The point of gender equality wasn't to keep women from being stay at home moms. It was to empower them with the choice to do so or not. Telling women that real beauty is looking like Christina Hendricks is no different than saying they need to be a size zero to be attractive.
It is exciting to see more body types represented in the media as attractive, and I understand the urge to rally around that excitement and shout "see! I am beautiful!" I get it. But for those women who don't fit this facet of beautiful, we need to be better. We need to rise above any one definition, because no matter what size it is, it's inadequate. We need to stop pointing to any one type of body and identifying it as the standard of beauty. Instead, why can't we push a message of individual beauty? Who you are at your core and the choices you make are what make you attractive.
Real beauty for me.


  1. I *love* this (haha, you totally called it!), and it's really something that people don't say enough when they talk about definitions of beauty (I'm now starting to wonder how guilty I am of doing it). Every woman is a real woman, just like all Americans are real Americans, and trying to make a distinction between "real" women and other women (however you define them) is just divisive and damaging. We need to not only focus on individual beauty, but also on the fact that there is no right or wrong way to look, that every and any body is worthy of acceptance, and that everyone deserves to feel good about themselves!

  2. Thanks, Emilie! :) I posted a comment on the original story, and the author (Mischelle) agreed, but brought up the point of how she hates being called "plus-sized". I get that.

  3. This is some of the most honest and best writing I've seen in a long time.

    Keep it coming!