Friday, 8 April 2011

Don't judge a woman by her dress size

I think I’m the last person you’d expect to be sticking up for models but I am and I believe quite rightly so. They may be in another universe from my plus sized figure but I’m happily going to put my head above the parapet on their behalf this time. I have a real problem with the term ‘real women’ and the connotation that if a woman is skinny she is therefore somehow not a real woman. It’s batted around a lot during campaigns for ‘real women’ to appear on the catwalks and in magazines and I’ve reached the stage where I am offended on behalf of women everywhere.

People don’t accept anti-fat propaganda and insults so why WHY do we denigrate a section of female society? When people don’t accept anti-fat propaganda why on earth should skinny women cop it? I find the insult ‘skinny bitch’ just as offensive as ‘fat bitch’. Can’t we all just agree, for the love of women everywhere, to move on from insulting someone’s size?

Just because you can see a woman’s hipbones and count all the ribs in her body, or she’s slim enough to model for one of the top fashion houses doesn’t mean she’s some sort of fake female. Granted she may not represent the average woman in the UK but please don’t take away her very essence of womanhood just because she graces the pages of your favourite magazine or can fit into a smaller size than you.

I appreciate the concern that having very thin models can be unhealthy to vulnerable teens who may look to them as role-models. However, I also believe that this notion that skinny women don’t count as ‘real’ can be potentially just as damaging. The idea that only ‘real women’ have curves is neither true nor promotes positive body image within the sisterhood. In the UK the average woman might have curves but whether curvy or not, every woman is as much a ‘real woman’ as the next.

Unbelievably to some it is also possible to be slender and healthy, not every slim woman is hiding an eating disorder or locked in a daily battle against calories. Of those skinny women who do suffer with eating disorders they should be offered support and assistance not vilified as being the cause of others suffering. It is abhorrent that fashion houses use dangerously thin women as clothes horses, a practice which should be stopped not least for the safety and wellbeing of the models themselves, but they still as real as you or me.

Women are beautiful, women are flawed and women are women size 0 to size 36 and beyond. Read more by Alice.