Large woman = "real woman" - huh?

I’ve not heard someone refer to themselves as a “real woman” before, but it sounds like something the indignant people twice my size who tell me I’m too skinny, and I need to eat, would say.

As if my thinness personally offended them and I starve myself to spite the world. (I don’t starve myself; not on purpose, anyway.)

I’ve not heard someone refer to themselves as a “real woman” before, but it sounds like something the indignant people twice my size who tell me I’m too skinny, and I need to eat, would say.

As if my thinness personally offended them and I starve myself to spite the world. (I don’t starve myself; not on purpose, anyway.)

Of course, we can’t categorize “small” women and “large” women in two segments. There are going to a very few women who are 12+ referring to themselves as “real” women, but I agree that it’s mostly a marketing strategy to make women who feel like freaks because they can’t find clothes that “normal” women can buy feel more ordinary, average. And there are going to be small women who think that every larger women is jealous of them or assumes they have an eating disorder.

The way Lane Bryant says “what real women wear” disturbs me, but I can understand that it’s a marketing strategy. BTW, I’m 14/16 and mostly comfortable with myself. But it is SOOOO frustrating when I can’t buy the same dress that women size 2-12 can wear. From an emotional standpoint, this feels like a judgement about me personally and a lack of acknowledgement that women like me exist. From a logical standpoint, there must be money driving stores’ decisions not to carry larger sizes. I think it IS changing, maybe because of the statistics about people being larger than ever before. But I’m glad I can buy my cheap jeans at Old Navy now.

I wouldn’t use “real women” myself, but in my mind “real women” isn’t a judgement of smaller women, but a reminder to “larger” women that that we ARE real, and that there are a lot of women out there that are too.

Most of us have insecurities about our bodies, and that makes us all REAL.

I think it is basically a way for plus-sized women to feel better about themselves…I used to be about a size 16, and I can remember feeling very unattracative and had very little self-esteem, and I always felt smaller women where somehow better than I. I never used the term, but for some plus size woman it might help them feel as if in some areas they have an advantage over smaller woman. If it helps them feel better, I see nothing wrong with it, although I do think it a bit silly. Does all this make any sense to anyone, becuase I haven’t slept much in the last few days :wink:

I, for one, am shocked…shocked…at the callous and spiteful attitude toward cabbages just trying to find their place in this world exhibited in this thread…

It is, as has been said, a marketing ploy. And I can empathize with it. I’m pretty slender (size 6/8), but I’m curvy. I have hips and breasts. A lot of current fashions either simply don’t fit me or look absolutely absurd on me (I’ve never looked skinnier than when I tried on a pair of size 6 bootcut jeans; I’ve also never looked sillier). I cannot wear cute little t-shirts with 36C breasts, sorry. It does seem that a lot of what’s popular is aimed at teenage girls or women shaped like them. When someone says, “So you can’t wear the clothes that all of the Beautiful People are wearing. But you’re curvy and that makes you a REAL WOMAN!” that makes me feel a little better about moi.

I think proportions are the key here, there’s no particular “right” weight that a woman needs to be attractive.

Well said Heart on my Sleeve. In recent months I have come to accept myself as a real woman, as beautiful in my own right (seriously one day I looked in the mirror and went “When did I get pretty?” to myself)

It drives me nuts though that the clothing sizes are often cut and marketed in such a way that anyone who may want to wear them probably can’t, or won’t be able to find anything in their size. Now I am a well proportioned woman, in fact if I were packaged smaller but with the same dimensions I would probably be able to buy a lot of clothes that I have always wanted to wear but I can’t. Why? Because of the simple fact that I am 6’tall and big boned. I weigh 195lbs* and if I go into any store for ‘average’ women I am lucky to find even a shirt that fits.

All women are real women, we just often despise those held up before us as the ideals which we can never attain often because of simple genetics. Those ones are the ones we disparage as not being real, though in their own way they are real also. At least when not airbrushed for advertising.

[sub]*As weighed last week at the docs. Dropped a little but gaining more as I’m pregnant and it’s kinda hard to avoid weight gain during that lol[/sub]

If Hollywood doesn’t hold skinny women up as an ideal, why

Jennifer Anniston
Courtney Cox
Callista Flockhart
Lara Flynn Boyle

and a host of others?

Why have Christina Ricci, Janeane Garafolo, Katherine Heigl and Kate Winslet gotten so much shit about being overweight? Does anybody here think any of these women is overweight? The usual excuse I’ve heard for hounding normal-looking women abuot their weight is that they’re actresses and the camera adds 20 pounds or whatever. Well, I got news for ya – the ONLY way I have ever seen ANY of these women is through a camera lens, and NONE of them looks overweight! I mean, WHAT THE HELL? Are we even on the same planet?

I’ve seen Howard Stern and his crew using laser pointers on actress wannabes who are flat-out skinny, telling them they are fat. It’s very clear in that instance that Stern and da boys are using the pointers as instruments of torture and control, making the women feel bad about themselves when there’s clearly no reason why they should, and making them feel that they have to do more to please their laser-pointer masters. I kinda wonder if the media emphasis on skinniness isn’t a more pervasive and more subtle version of the same thing the Stern boys do.

Cathrine Mannheim has done wonders for the over-size-14 crowd. She demands that the dresses she wears to awards programs are available to ALL the bigger girls…not just the stars.

I am in agreement with whoever said that we don’t hold the “ultra-thin” Calistas and Lara’s as the ideal. I’m 5’1" and 105 lbs., and they both look WAAAAAY thinner than I do. Not that there’s anything wrong with being thin…I just don’t think it’s the model most American women aspire to.

Well, it’s a bit of a spectrum really, where the extremes tend to be less attractive (to me, anyway). An abnormally skinny woman might have a frame similar to a prepubescent child (which I don’t find attractive), and an abnormally heavy woman may have the same build as a heavy man (meaning that those nice female curves disappear again).

Anyway, chalk me up for the “curvaceous, but not overweight”-fans bracket, if you’re keeping score. :slight_smile:

Nitpick: It’s Camryn Manheim.

I’m a pretty big girl myself, and I’ll be damned if anyone tells me I’m some kind of freak because I’m not a perfect size 6. I’m pretty happy with myself, and my self-esteem and self-image don’t rest on my appearance, since I’m a lot more than my body.

All that said, I really love and applaud those television shows and movies that feature actresses who aren’t anorexically thin. (Note: I’m not saying that they are anorexic, just that they are abnormally thin.) To me, this proves that a woman can be viewed as hot without being skin and bones. I love watching Camryn Manheim on The Practice; her character is intelligent and put-together. Ditto for Kathy Najimy from the now-cancelled Veronica’s Closet. Sadly, women like this are in the minority.

As for “women’s” magazines, I don’t even bother to look at the cover, unless there’s an article that I want to read. As I said, my self-esteem isn’t tied in to my appearance, and I’d like to read more intellectually stimulating material. So I bypass the fashion and “happy homemaker” mags in favor of more, ah, liberating fare like Ms.*


I think the problem here is that you accept what Stern says as a reflection of what the other 250 million people in the country think. It might be a mistake to think of that show and its host as the vanguard of America’s opinions.

This is called positive spin. People who are biased in a certain direction and have some sort of investment in the opinions of their audience (whether financial, emotional, strategic or otherwise) use phrases that are intended to influence their audience in the direction of their own bias.

The anti-abortion people call themselves “pro-life”, not “anti-choice”. “Pro-life” makes their stance sound positive, wholesome, admirable.

The opposing camp call themselves “pro-choice”, not “anti-life”, “baby killers”, or similar. They want to emphasize the positive aspects of their position.

You won’t hear a stick-thin supermodel described as a “beanstalk” by popular media. You might hear “graceful” “elegant” “gazelle-like” and similar, which expresses basically the same connotation, but with a positive spin.

Similarly, you won’t hear an overweight or obese woman describe herself as a “fatass” or “bucket of lard”. She might instead use such misleading terminology as “big beautiful woman” “real woman” “woman with a lot more to love” and similar.

Basically, we’re all marketers. We’re all trying to sell ourselves, our bodies, our thoughts, our emotions, in the best light possible to our target demographics. We mislead, and we manipulate, and we market, around the clock. This is done so often these days that hardly anybody takes notice, unless it’s done very bluntly and unsuccessfully. We all wish to be manipulated skillfully.

So it goes.

Dear Snooooopy,

>We can’t really be sure that some of the posters here claiming to be women aren’t actually cabbages spreading disinformation, now can we?<

I love you!
Broccoli Chard

Well extremely thin women tend to look like young teenagers, they lack the curves of a fully grown (real) woman. But real woman does not mean over weight either, a real woman will have the hourglass type figure that I believe most men desire.

A real woman just plain is; that is, she has neither starved herself nor gorged herself. She has not succumbed to the surgeon’s knife to enhance her appearance.

IMHO, a real woman is like a real man----not about what body is in fashion, but what lives inside it.

Positive spin, yes indeed. I suspect the precise meaning may vary depending on who’s talking.

My friends & I do use the term - but to us it doesn’t mean “not skinny”. It means “not like the fashion mags”. I have a tall skinny friend who can’t find jeans long enough for her legs; another skinny friend with amazing curvy hips who can’t find trousers to fit her either; then there’s me who’s rather big all over (great tits, shame about the tummy)… We are all real women. The magazine pictures are fake women.

On that subject - you do realise that even the supermodels don’t look like that in real life? Hours of makeup, supercareful lighting effects, and then the photos are further digitally manipulated. I think it was Cindy Crawford who said “Even I don’t look like Cindy Crawford”.

I’ve often wondered how the women themselves feel about that. I’ve also read articles where a famous model or actress will say something to the effect of, “I barely recognize myelf!”

I wonder how it affects their self-esteem that they are held up as some sort of idea, and yet they themselves can’t even reach it. Would a supermodel (vs a non-famous person) feel better or worse about themselves?

Out of curiosity, a few times I’ve fiddled around with pictures of myself on the computer, just to see what I’d look like without what I perceive as my flaws. Even if I like the end result, I’m thinking “that’s a nice picture”, not “wow, I’m pretty”, because I know it’s not representative of me anymore.