Over the last year, I have seen many shared memes and articles laying claim to what a “real” woman is. Real woman have curves. Real women eat this. Real women don’t have a thigh gap. Real women do have a thigh gap. And the list goes on. All these messages do is pit women against each other.
In the media, we seem to have two main camps- one promoting the unachievable ideal of the perfect body and the other pushing back against it. There is hate, finger-pointing and shame going in both directions. Enough already.
Now, let me tell you about a real woman. A real woman is struggling with obesity. A real woman may never struggle with her weight, but is battling nasty depression or an abusive spouse. A real woman is rushing to pick up her kids after work and cart them to soccer practice. A real woman is trying to balance work and family. A real woman is trying to shed the baby weight. A real woman is drowning in student loans. A real woman is raising her kids all on her own. A real woman is dealing with infertility. A real woman is YOU and whatever you’re going through. No doubt we are all going through something.
The problem I see with this “real woman” notion, is that it distracts us all from the important question EVERY woman at every size should be asking herself- "Am I healthy?" "What is my bone density?" "What is my LDL cholesterol level?" "Am I pre-diabetic?" "Are the foods I am eating promoting health or disease?" "Is my weight (under or over) putting me at risk for disease?"
There is the underweight girl with the “perfect” body well on her way to osteoporosis. There is the overweight woman on the brink of developing diabetes. There is the woman at a “normal weight” that eats fast food every day and priming herself for heart disease. All real women with very real health risks.
We all have different genetics, different life circumstances, different economic situations, different struggles, but not one of us is exempt from disease no matter what we weigh.
Ladies, we are all real women. We have ALL struggled at some time with our self-esteem, body image and acceptance of ourselves. Let’s all bond over that, no matter what size we are, and focus on the “real” issue. Are our current lifestyle choices and body status promoting our health or promoting disease?