What do “real” women look like?
ALL women look like real women, because ALL women are real women. Whether a size 2 or a size 22, as long as you identify as a woman, you are a real woman. Hell, even if you only sometimes identify as a woman, in those times, you are a real woman.
Putting down other body types does not make progress toward the goal of body acceptance. Sayings like “only dogs like bones” and “a real woman has curves” only serve to elevate bigger women above smaller women, not to make them equal. I am a real woman. I don’t have much hips, my boobs aren’t that big, and I wear a size 2. I go to the gym because I like it, not because I’m a slave to society. I eat beets and broccoli because I like them, and I eat teacakes and chocolate because I like them too. My body is a reflection of my decision to love myself, treat myself well, and beat my eating disorder.
Could my body fat be lower if I cut the sweets? Sure. Could I have visible abs if I tried hard enough? You bet. But do I want to try harder or cut the sweets? No.
Could I eat a whole cake for dinner? Absolutely. Could I stop exercising altogether and sit on Tumblr all day? Sounds fun. Would I be happier and healthier if I did those things? No.
Balance is healthy for me. A balance of work and play, “healthy” and “unhealthy,” cooking for myself and going out to eat, lifting weights and lying around the house in my underwear. That balance has made my body what it is, whether you think I look fit, fat, skinny, skinnyfat, bony, sloppy, or like a boy. It has imperfections. I am allowed to not like my imperfections. I’m allowed to have insecurities.
My body has wrinkles and stretch marks. It has a lot of scars, from a time when I hated my body so much I did awful things to it. When I sit or bend, my skin makes rolls like any other woman. I have fat on my inner thighs, my belly sticks out a little, and I get rolls around my bra strap. Just like any other woman. I choose to accept those things about myself and focus on doing what I can to help me love my body.
What things do I do to show my body that I care?
I wear comfortable bras and avoid shape wear like the plague, because I don’t need any slimming, tucking, flattening, minimising, or pushing-up. All those stupid words on those ridiculous contraptions they call undergarments only serve to tell me that imperfections make me not good enough. I, and my body, are good enough.
I rub nice smelling lotions on that make my skin feel and look bright and healthy. I don’t rub lotions in that darken my skin. I use sunscreen when I go out. My skin is fine the way it is, and it doesn’t need a “bronzed glow” to look healthy and pretty. All kinds of skin are pretty the way they are, whether you naturally have the bronzed glow, or you are “pasty” (ugh, I hate that word!) or if you are dark brown or a bit pinkish, or if your skin is kind of yellow or maybe the color of tea with cream in it. All pretty colors. No lighteners or darkeners required.
I wear shorts and tank tops when it’s hot because it’s nice to let my body breathe. I might not like how my scars show or my stretch marks make my inner thighs look wrinkly, but putting my legs into stuffy jeans when it’s blazing hot isn’t very nice. I wear sweaters and coats and long underwear when it snows. I might not like how big it makes me look or how what few curves I do have are hidden, but it’s not very nice to make my body freeze.
I feed it foods that help it stay healthy. I eat a variety of fruits and and veggies so I have enough vitamins for my body to work right. I get enough calcium so my bones and teeth can stay strong. I get enough protein so muscles can grow. I eat plenty of fat so those vitamins and minerals can get to where they need to be! I also eat chocolate, nutella, white bread, popcorn, chips, teacakes, and gummy bears because my brain is part of my body and damn it, my brain likes those things! I might not like how I have a little fat on my belly, but it’s not very nice to deny myself things I like just to get rid of it.
I go to the gym because I love my body. I want my heart to be strong and pumping for the next 75 years! I want my bones to be strong, my muscles to be strong, my posture to be good, my body to be flexible. Not only do these exercises help me love how my body looks, but they increase my lifespan, reduce my risk of injury, and make me feel really good! Sounds like body love to me!
I guess the point of this post is to say this:
Loving your body means a lot of different things to lots of different people. To me and many others, it means taking good care of your body, by clothing, feeding, and treating it with respect. That doesn’t make me shallow, vain, or image-obsessed. And no matter if you are thin, fat, short, tall, fit, unfit, able bodied, disabled, pale, dark, hairy, hairless, WHATEVER - you are allowed to be “real.” You are allowed to have imperfections and you are allowed to not like them. It doesn’t make you shallow or vain or overly “privileged” or a slave to social expectations to work on things you don’t like. Being fit or thin or “conventionally attractive” doesn’t make your insecurities invalid.
But hating your body, and hating on anyone else’s body is not taking care of ourselves and others. Be nice to yourselves, and be nice to others. Stop this “real” woman nonsense, stop calling each other twigs and whales, stop calling thin women vain and fat women lazy, stop with the “skinny bitch” and “fatass.”
We are all real, we all have feelings, we all have insecurities, and we all have the right to love and care for our bodies.