Why do “real women” have curves?

As I was waiting for the Boot Camp class to end and the Turbo Kick class to start, I grabbed a treadmill across the room to warm up. As I set in to a comfortable walking pace, I found myself spacing off in the general direction of a woman directly across the room from me. We made awkward eye contact..Then I couldn’t help myself but look back because I hadn’t actually noticed her. I realized she was about 5’4,” around my age (early 20s), and around my weight. Her workout tank top said “Real women have curves.”

real women have curves

This concept had me totally engulfed for the hour-long Turbo Kick class – that also kicked my ass. But I was so busy thinking I didn’t realize how hard I was working.

What is a Real Woman?

What was the basis of this campaign? How has a campaign about body acceptance turned women against each other? If you think about it, the average size of a woman in the US is a size 14. A size 14 comes in my shapes, heights and proportions. Women should not feel obligated to uphold an image for the sake of beauty, for the sake of getting a boyfriend, or making anyone but themselves happy. It just fuels the judgement and unwarranted criticism from others.

Let me tell you how many times I’ve heard strangers say “She shouldn’t wear that hat, it makes her face look fat,” or “That girl should not be wearing crop tops,” or “Her pants are way too tight for her body type,” or “That girl has no ass, she should not be wearing those shorts,” or “She is so skinny she should eat a hamburger”…too many. How nice would it be if others did not find it their moral responsibility to tell you that the way you look does not fit their archetype of beauty. Ever heard the saying, ‘The girl in the magazine doesn’t even look like the girl in the magazine?”

All these women are beautiful.

real beauty love your body

The modeling industry strives to have the ideal female form strut the runways and sell some of the world’s greatest pieces of wearable art. As Coco Rocha said at LuckyFabb, “are you trying to say I am not a real woman?” Yes, your size 4 body is natural. You eat mac and cheese, workout on occasion, don’t count calories and your body is naturally thin and slender. But the slogans around “Real women have curves” isn’t about taking away your value or beauty because you aren’t curvy. Sorry Coco, but your body is already epitomized as being the standard of beauty, it is reinforced by pretty much every company, business and media campaign targeted to women.

The Real Woman campaign is a lot like feminism. Feminism is not the act of man hating, but equalizing the playing field. It isn’t about saying skinny women aren’t real women, it’s about saying all women are beautiful. Skinny women are already upheld as being society’s ideal of what a body should be. Let’s fight back and say no, even bigger bodies can be feminine and beautiful. It’s not about hate for one group, but about love for all.

Who is a Real woman?

The real woman is every woman. It is every woman who goes out for lunch with her friends and orders off the “Under 300 calories” section of the menu then goes home to eat again when no one is around. It is every woman that has put down a beautiful dress because she was afraid people would stare at her mom arms.

It is every woman that tells her friends to go out on a Friday night without her because she doesn’t feel pretty in anything she owns.  It is every woman that refuses to wear a bikini during the summer time because she doesn’t want people staring at her stretch marks. It is every woman who looks in the mirror and feels a bit of sadness to see that their butt isn’t as perky as it was in her teen years.

It is every woman who looks at her body just before getting in the shower and sees all the things she needs to improves rather than what is beautiful. None of which any of these thoughts are strictly limited to fat people. Skinny, fit, fat, tall, and short people are all capable of understand the feelings mentioned above.

It doesn’t matter the weight or the size, a real woman is all of us. We all have our insecurities based on the ideals the media has thrust upon us. Even celebrities, models, and politicians feel the pressure to look a certain way.

‘The girl in the magazine doesn’t even look like the girl in the magazine.”

I’ll leave you with that.


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  1. This is such an interesting cultural narrative, I would enjoy talking about it with you all day. In the interest of brevity, I will say that I agree with your view that all body types should be accepted and even celebrated. Having said that, I do find the “real women have curves” movement (if we can call it that), to be extremely liberating. Unfortunately the fat-free, tall and skinny standard has dominated in our culture for so long that it’s created a need to stand up against. I don’t think the intent is to hate on thin women, but rather to actively rebel against the pervasive standard that you must be thin to look your best.

    1. I could not agree more with that last sentence. The “all about that bass” song has been getting scrutinized as being bad for body image because it puts down skinny women..and in a response to it, a girl did a youtube video literally saying “Cool skinny bitches, now you know how us fatties feel every day.” And I found myself nodding in approval.

      It isn’t about putting one group against another but about getting rid of the stereotypes that you HAVE to be skinny to even be considered as being remotely beautiful. Or you have to be skinny in order to actually love yourself because.

  2. I love this post! I’m sure someone thought up the “real woman” thing as a way to make non-models feel good, but I think can make people feel even worse. Not only does it shame thin women, but it also shames anyone (of any weight) who doesn’t have the “right” kind of curves. Not everyone who is overweight, plus sized or just not-skinny has an hourglass figure!

    I also hate when clothing brands advertise that their products are made for “real” women, yet their sizing excludes a large group of people. There is a bra company that says its bras are for “real bodies,” but they just carry the same sizes as Victoria’s Secret. I guess “curves” larger than a DDD are a bit too real for them.

    1. Oh that bra thing would drive me crazy. It’s a model’s job to be unattainable, otherwise they would never get paid. I mean, even the models don’t look like they do in the ads. And I completely agree with you on the “right” kind of curves, I’ve seen memes people make of curvy girls making fun of all of the body shapes that aren’t your stereotypical hour glass.

  3. So all naturally slim women are fake in some strange way which society is unable define in any ‘real’ logical way. Ridiculous isn’t it! I noticed in Cosmos ‘I love my body because…’ monthly feature they have yet to include a naturally thin woman. Must be because all thin women are confident and work as models obviously 😞

  4. I would hope U & your readers wouldn’t mind ? that even tho I am (N O T ) A *Real woman that I too can join U real woman on this Blog to share also…of what U like & enjoy in life… all things *Girly,, I am Very new to something that I hav had in my life yrs, ago & now…as I,m older it is something that has began to be stronger my desires of what woman…do & how they want to look & how they dress I am a *New Cross dresser & so far the times that I dressed up it is & will be apart of my life I also go on other woman’s blogs to also learn makeup tips & fashions & so,,, in passing on this- (your) blog I too hav noticed that I am also….. curvy…..so…i hope its ok i tag along on your blog my FEM Name is……Kelly

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