There is one statement that has been carelessly banded around on social media sites a great deal lately, which has caused a lot of controversy. We seem to have begun deciding who 'real women' are, using the "Real Women Have Curves" campaign. Apparently "real women aren't size zero", and my favourite, "real men like curves. Dogs like bones".
There is a huge sense of ignorance and a fundamental problem with this assertion. First of all, in order to say a woman is 'not real', we have to decifer what makes her 'unreal'. Do skinny women not have female sexual organs? Can skinny women not bear children? Are skinny women more masculine? Or do they lack gender altogether? What makes a skinny woman not 'womanly'?
It feels to me as though the "real women have curves" trend is a cheap way of lowering someone else's self-esteem in order to boost the self esteem of another. Which is arguably uncannily similar to the cowardly behaviour of playground bullies, which we were warned about at school.
Of course the media has a big role to play in this conflict. The air brushed models we see in Vogue and the painfully gaunt models on high fashion runways do nothing to help our body image or self-worth. It seems clear to me that 'the real women have curves' is the voice of hundreds of women backlashing against the pressure to be perfect. Of course I have no problem with reminding each other that we shouldn't replicate the women put in front of us by multimillion-dollar profiteering cosmetics and fashion companies to be deemed beautiful or perfect. But to attack each other instead is simply detrimental and frankly beyond the point.
As quite a skinny woman myself, I have experienced a lot of unpleasant snide remarks, insults and nasty messages (most of which were from girls my own age in school). I found that insecurity and jealousy in particular seemed to be key drivers in those cases. They probably continue to drive the nasty remarks on social networking sites too.
The question is, when did we stop seeing the real beauty within ourselves and start judging our self-worth according to the number we see on the scales or by the comparison we see with the airbrushed model on the front of Elle? Why do we continue to hate ourselves and the curvier, taller, bustier, skinner woman next to us? Whether we have an athletic, pear shaped, hourglass, muscular or skinny figure, we should learn to accept ourselves and each other. Only acceptance can bring us happiness.