Sunday, December 2, 2012

There's Only One Kind of Fake Woman.

When I was 16, I saw the movie "Real Women Have Curves."  I thought it was inspiring and beautiful.  At that tender age, though, I did not see any dichotomy between the film's message and its title.  I still remember a scene in which all the women strip down to their underwear and show off every lump, bump and freckle.  That particular scene was indeed inspiring.  Women of all ages, shapes and sizes participated.  What should not have been so inspiring was the phrase "real women."  Yes, all women have curves to some degree; however, this phrase usually implies curves in a certain socially agreed upon abundance.  This undertone makes its use hurtful.  As many women have pointed out, unless you're a mannequin, you are a real woman.  Even if you have had implants or other surgical procedures to change your appearance, you are still a real woman.  Whether you have the voluptuous figure of Christina Hendricks or the lithe slenderness of Kiera Knightley, you are a living, breathing, real woman.

Yet printed media has persisted in showing only type of woman who does not actually exist: the airbrushed one with no skin discoloration, no birthmarks, no freckles, no cellulite, no pores, no defining body features at all.  I have noticed that they try to mask this by including models with a variety of facial features.  If you have ever flipped through a magazine, you probably have not stopped to notice how many different faces are perched atop what look like identical bodies with different skin shades.  When magazines do not Photoshop the models' bodies, you can be sure that it will be in the headline, probably written in bright, bold colors with attention-grabbing words like "Groundbreaking!" or "Body Image Special!" Do they not see the irony in asking us to celebrate the unique qualities of different women for one "groundbreaking" issue whilst they turn the majority of women into carbon copies the rest of the year?  

I don't like to admit it, but I have a magazine addiction.  I love making collages and usually purchase magazines for that purpose, but I end up reading through them and feeling horrible after seeing endless pages of an "ideal" body that I can't live up to, because, like you, I am not airbrushed in real life.  We are real women.  So I am going to do something that will be very difficult for me and swear off fashion magazines for a year.  It might sound like a short time, but it will be hard for me.  Hopefully I can continue on after that, though.  Will you join me?

No comments:

Post a Comment