why I don’t like the term real women

why I don’t like the term real women

Kimba Likes - why I don't like the term real women

Let’s talk about something that’s been bothering me for a while.  Why I don’t like the term real women.  The term “real” when applied to women.  I don’t like it. I don’t get it.

Real women have curves. Real mums stay at home (or breastfeed or give birth vaginally or … ) You get the drift. There’s a whole lot of pressure on women about being “real”.  Really?

I happen to think that using the word real is just a really weird way to describe people.  Are we saying that if you’re not part of the “real” group, then you’re fake?  Is that a logical conclusion to draw?

Whilst I’m all for body positivity and empowerment of women, I can’t see how naming women as “real” does anything except be divisive.

How many times have you seen comments on Facebook posts saying things like “only dogs like bones” and “men don’t like stick insects” and “men only like real women with real curves”.

It also leads into something else about women.  Being a mother.  As in “what would she know about being a real mum? She works / has a nanny / insert other ridiculous statement”.

I’ve even been told that I’m not a “real mum” because my baby was conceived via IVF, born by emergency C section, and is an only child.

Real mum? What does that even mean? Personally, I think I’m an unreal mum!

why I don’t like the term real women

Firstly, I just don’t think talking about “real women”, with the assumption this means curves, makes women who are naturally thin with a more athletic figure feel fantastic about themselves.  This often veers into body shaming – and I’m not cool with that.

Secondly, you can rock some serious curves if you’re a size 6, size 16, or size 26.  Curves are not exclusive to the bigger end of the standard size range nor to plus size.  Curvy is a euphemism for plus size nowadays.

All women have bodies, including, you know, “real women”.  One shape or size isn’t better than another shape or size.  There is no wrong way to have a body.

I looked at what people mean when they say “real women”.  In my view, it’s a misguided attempt to make women who aren’t what society deems as ideal feel better about themselves.  It’s women who aren’t models, who aren’t sample size, who aren’t perfect … as far as I can work out.

I absolutely loathe the idea of making myself feel better by putting someone else down.  How does that make anyone feel better?  The solution isn’t to raise one whilst lowering the other.

my real women solution

What is the solution though? What do we say? How do we describe the women who are pegged as being “real women”?

I’m taking my cue from Styling You’s Everyday Style project, which is all about showcasing how everyday women get dressed every day. It’s an amazing movement to normalise what women look like in their everyday lives.

It’s also the thought process behind my Style it Project, where women of all shapes, sizes and ages are encouraged to show off how they style our key item every month. It’s a great way to see ourselves represented.

Everyday Style (and my Style it Project and seasonal style projects like Winter Style File) are more than just style challenges – they’re communities of supportive women who get inspired by each other.  Now that’s real.

So I’m rolling with everyday women … on those occasions when a descriptive term is required.

But mainly, I’ll be using the term “women”.  We are all real.  And that’s cool.

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