I’ve recently been inspired lately to write about something like this. I feel like I should get more involved in raising awareness, because I am a woman and one more voice never hurts. I do feel strongly about a number of things, as I should, as anyone should, really, regardless what your gender is. I’d tell men they should feel the same way about similar issues they face. They don’t all have to be the same, and I don’t think I’m a better person because I may feel differently about something than someone else, and vice versa – that would be boring. But this is something in particular that I feel we should all be on the same page with because it’s absurd and ridiculous and needs to stop.
Believe me when I say that I know I’m not the first person to say this and I certainly don’t think I’ll be the last (seriously, the more the merrier), but here’s the thing: we need to quit defining what a “real woman” is by her looks, and, in turn, comparing our own looks to another woman’s. I cannot stress this enough but I will, so hear me out.
Not too long ago, I watched a documentary called Miss Representation which sheds light on a number of things, but these in particular stand out to me: the difficulties women face in society to equalise themselves in the job and career market against men (which I won’t get into, but is still something I feel strongly about), and how cruel women can be to each other, and to one’s self, which brings me here.
I’m just as guilty as many others who do this — (perhaps this makes me somewhat hypocritical by getting up on a pedestal about it but I recognize that this behaviour needs to stop, and it’s something I’m working on) — juxtaposing myself to other women, whether it’s in a positive or negative light. Generally it’s the latter. Most of the time it’s appearance-related: she’s prettier than me, she’s thinner than me, she dresses better than me. It’s deconstructive, unhealthy behaviour because we spend so much of our time putting ourselves down that we fail to recognize the qualities we have in ourselves. Spoiler: beauty isn’t only skin deep, but you probably already knew that. What a horribly cliché phrase but I’m going with it.
And then there’s the times where it’s the opposite and we’re the ones comparing other women to ourselves for whatever reason. An ego boost, a way to make ourselves feel better because maybe we’re unhappy and would rather put the onus on someone else instead of trying to accept that we – the collective we – are fine the way we are. We don’t need to change anything just because it’ll please someone else (hello, Captain Obvious). It’s petty and reeks of jealousy and I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t done this myself.
… which brings me here, the reason I’m writing this. Sometimes it takes me awhile to get to my point but I usually get there, eventually: defining what a ‘real woman’ is by her looks. Breaking news, all women are real women, no matter what size she is. The stigma that ONLY REAL WOMEN have curves, an ass, a huge rack, etc, etc is incredibly frustrating to me because how are women who don’t have curves and are smaller in size supposed to feel? Does it make them any less ‘womanly’ because they don’t? I’m pretty sure they still have all the female organs so, no, it doesn’t make them any less of a woman. I’ve been all sorts of shapes and sizes myself and I’ve been a woman the whole time. Weird, right? (But not really.)
For the most part we all struggle with insecurities about our appearance, no matter how big or small we are; it’s part of what makes us human, I guess. Being a woman shouldn’t be a competition. Why make it more difficult by labeling what a real woman is when we can celebrate all of our different body types instead? That, that’s real to me.
Something tells me I’m not the only one who feels this way, but that’s just a hunch.