Thursday, May 31, 2012

Real Women are Beautiful--by Naomi Jackson


I knew the moment I started really paying attention to this blog that I wanted to make a contribution to it at some point, but it completely escaped me as to what. What could I possibly contribute that could be anywhere near as inspiring and mind-opening as what has already been contributed? Then I saw something on Pinterest (yes even that wonderfully awful time-waster) that really hit home for me. The pin said this: "Stop using the term 'Real Women' to refer to curvy girls. Tall skinny girls aren't imaginary. Regardless of how a girl looks: All women are real women."
And that is exactly right. Too often in our society, we believe the only way to feel good about ourselves is to tear another person down. Sometimes we don't mean to, but it happens anyway. I don't believe curvy women mean to say that thin women are somehow 'less woman' because of their body shape. Rather I think that the term "Real women have curves" came about as a means to protect ourselves from the airbrushed media ideal. To fight back against the idea that thin equals beauty. I think that we (for I am one of these "curvy women") only meant to remind ourselves that we are in fact beautiful, no matter what anyone tells us.
Sadly, this method of bolstering ourselves has created a divide in our minds. The media isn't our only enemy anymore, it's also other women! I believe this wasn't the intent, but it has become the reality. I will say with some shame in my heart that I have fallen victim to this mindset. I have thought that since I have curves, I am somehow better than those skinny girls. I am the epitome of beauty, because I have what they lack.
But it's a lie.
I don't feel beautiful because of the way my body looks. I don't want to be "curvy." I want to look like those skinny girls do in their skinny clothes. Tearing down those I want to be like doesn't make me feel good for long. It doesn't change me, it doesn't make me different, and above all, it doesn't make me beautiful.
I am slowly coming to realize and accept that I am more beautiful for the way that I treat myself and others than for the way I physically look. I've decided that I want to be beautiful more than I want to be thin. I'm working on loving me for my positive personality traits, and not for any physical trait that people either like or dislike about me.
More importantly, I'm trying to look at other women without regard to their physical shape as well. I think that if we move away from the notion that "real women" look a certain way, we'll realize that real women are women who are beautiful inside and out. All women are real women. 

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for writing this, Naomi. Well-done. I have thought about this very thing, regarding the "Real women have curves" campaign. The idea behind it is why I started the "Skinny on Skinny" series. The way to healing is not about setting one body type up higher than another. When I hear "Real women have curves" honestly, I think of another, specific body type, that is not mine. J-Lo. Beyonce. Voluptuous, with a small waist. That's not me, but I don't fit into the thin category either. So this campaign, in an effort to empower, has left me high and dry as well. Or, it would if I was looking outside for permission as to how to feel about my body.

    Let's celebrate diversity, and health at every size and shape. Let's learn to love our bodies for the right reasons--the ones that run deep. That will help us to love and appreciate the bodies of our fellow women. Let's stand up to the powers that would turn us against one another, and most importantly, against ourselves. Why would they do such a thing? It sells, honey. That's why. Well. My self-esteem is not to be bought and sold. It's mine. Just like my body.

    Love you, Naomi.

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