All Women are ‘Real Women’; the Damaging Advertising Slogan

I’m sure you’ve all seen the adverts. In fact, I’m sure you’ve seen them so many times that you’ve stopped really listening to them. But this morning, as I was sitting eating my breakfast, I sat up and listened. Properly. And this is why I’m writing this article having not even finished my green tea.

“We work with real women…sizes 12-32″ Marisota Spring/Summer Advert 2012. Hmm. Now, I would like to put it out there that I am a champion of boosting the self-esteem of people wherever I can; for many, it is all-too low and this is, of course, wrong. However, each and every time I hear adverts such as this my blood starts to boil. Yes, it is designed to make women sized 12-32 feel beautiful, but what does it do to the rest of us?

The last time I looked in the mirror, I had all the anatomical elements of a woman; am I simply a figment of their imagination? Do I walk around in a ghost-like state because I am a size 8-10? Does my internet crash when I attempt to click on the Marisota website because, according to them, I simply do not exist as a ‘real’ woman?

I’m sure that the roots of this misuse of the statement ‘real woman’ can be easily traced back, probably to the over-inclusion of size 0/2/4/6 women in fashion magazines, which has started to dwindle in recent years. Magazines like Look include a range of different sized women in their fashion pages, which is a nice breath of fresh air. But what companies like Marisota don’t realise is that they are undoing good work like this.

If I were to approach an advertising agency with the alternative, I’d be laughed out of the building. “Right guys, we’re going to launch a brand new clothing line for smaller-sized ladies, say 0-10, and highlight how these ladies are real, they’re real women, and the rest might as well give up now because they’ll never fulfil that criteria.” See how ridiculous it sounds from the other side? Flip it around, and that’s essentially what you’ve  got.

And the men’s clothing lines are no better. “Whatever size you are, we’ve got you covered, in sizes from M to 5XL…Fashion for real men” Jacamo Advert 2012. Sigh.

I can assure you, men who wear size S, even S-M, are no less ‘real’. My boyfriend is a rather good-looking chap (if I may say so myself!) who is also naturally slim – would you ever fail to describe him as a ‘real man’?

Jonathan Tizard

Thought not.

I have quite literally got no problem with clothing lines for larger sizes existing – I believe that everyone, man or woman, should have choice in their fashion and clothing regardless of their size. But these companies need to wake up and realise that it’s just not OK to use these phrases in their advertising.

In the same way that a size 16 lady would possible feel upset at the sight of a size 4 model being described as the ideal ‘real woman’, a size 4 woman who could not put on weight and fill out her curves may feel frustrated at 12-32 being hailed as the only ‘real’ sizes. It’s daft, even childish (as though point-scoring on size is taking place) and the phrase just needs to be dropped.

Ladies, regardless of your size, you are real. Men, likewise. If we were all the same it would be a pretty boring world, so let’s stop with the aforementioned label.

I’d really love to hear your views on this; please feel free to leave me a comment, and share this blog post however you’d like. If you tweet it, let’s use the hashtag #AllWomenAreReal

Stay Creative,

Chyaz xox

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17 Comments

  1. Emma
    June 14, 2012 / 10:04 am

    I think the point is to “undo” the idea that if you aren’t a size 2 you’re not good enough. and perhaps it’be been taken a bit too far in the other direction and maybe these people didn’t think of it. I am a bigger gal and it does feel bad to always have smaller women refered to as the “ideal”. I don’t think it should matter either way though. A person is who they are on the inside. nothing else should matter as long as that individual is comfortable with who they are.

    • June 14, 2012 / 11:36 am

      My point exactly – it shouldn’t matter! Every woman is a ‘real’ woman <3

      • Deanna
        June 14, 2012 / 6:26 pm

        I’m really glad that you feel that way. Dont get me wrong I’ve never felt like you were the type of person to judge anyone based on looks. I really didn’t. I’m just saying…most people who have a cute figure (like yourself) and have made a name in the beauty world seem to think that apperance is everything. I’ve always felt people with that belief are shallow and “un-real” themselves. Anyway, If you can see people for who they REALLY are and still feel they are “beautiful”, I admire you all the more. You are gorgeous inside and out!
        btw sorry I know the above comment says from “Emma” I didn’t realize my friend left her acct up. LOL That was from me, Deanna. I used to be cinderellascene924 on Youtube…

  2. Carla
    June 14, 2012 / 10:31 am

    Hey chyaz!
    I completely understand as I am a size 10-12 and I guess my size 12 would be considered “real” but I don’t really have too big of an issue with this campaign. The term “real” came from there was models that were super skinny (or more commonly used now is size 6-10) and then there were plus sized models. These models didn’t really like that label because they were the size of the average women. They then started to be called “real” sized models because they are more of the average size. I don’t completely agree with it but I don’t have a huge issue with this campaign but I understand your point!
    To be honest though my point doesn’t apply to men! I have NO idea what that is about!

  3. Carla
    June 14, 2012 / 10:32 am

    Hey chyaz!
    I completely understand as I am a size 10-12 and I guess my size 12 would be considered “real” but I don’t really have too big of an issue with this campaign. The term “real” came from there was models that were super skinny (or more commonly used now is size 6-10) and then there were plus sized models. These models didn’t really like that label because they were the size of the average women. They then started to be called “real” sized models because they are more of the average size. I don’t completely agree with it but I don’t have a huge issue with this campaign but I understand your point!
    To be honest though my point doesn’t apply to men! I have NO idea what that is about! 🙂

    • June 14, 2012 / 11:41 am

      I get what you’re saying (I mentioned the roots in my post) but I guess my main point is that all women are ‘real’, regardless of size 🙂 x

  4. Annie
    June 14, 2012 / 11:04 am

    YES CHYAZ!!!
    This drives me absolutely insane. Whenever I see, say, lingerie designed for larger women and it there are comments about the woman on the advert being “a real woman” because a “real woman” has curves?? I mean wtf. I’m a curvy 8/10/12 depending on what I’m buying but my size has nothing to do with whether I’m a freaking woman or not. Why should being skinny or plus size determine who you are?

    • June 14, 2012 / 11:41 am

      Absolutely!! <3

  5. June 14, 2012 / 3:16 pm

    Hi Chyaz
    i really get it what you want to say even after i am not a women yet as i am a teen but our teachers says that we girls who are a pre teen or a teen are young womens so yeah i got it keep going Chyaz
    WORLD’S BEST FASHION GURU I HAVE EVER SAW LOVE YOU CHYAZ KEEP ROCKING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Sian
    June 14, 2012 / 3:28 pm

    You are ABSOLUTELY right. I’m a size 4-6 and I’ve never dieted in my life – I try to be as healthy and balanced as I can I will grant you, but this is to ensure I don’t lose weight if anything! Can we help being petite women? In my opinion they are encouraging bad health, of course I wouldn’t hold anything against an obese woman, but I wish we all stopped trying to be one way or another – there’s a happy medium!

  7. Laura
    June 14, 2012 / 7:46 pm

    That phrase has always made me cringe as it divides women. I don’t think the intentions of the ad makers are bad, just misguided. I don’t think they are trying to say skinny = bad. I have an odd perspective on this issue. I have been slim most of my life, but was large for a year in my 20s thanks to health problems that required steroids. I blew up like a big moon-faced water-filled balloon! Until that point I had never quite realised how relentless the thin = sexy/attractive/successful message was in the media and in fashion. When you fit the image you really don’t notice. When I was bigger I would go into clothes stores I had been into for years and be very aware they didn’t want me there. I tried to buy a bra in a C cup from a trendy range and was told a C was an outsize which they didn’t sell! I suspect these ‘real’ women adverts are not trying to pit larger women against smaller women. I think they are probably trying to pit women against the fashion companies and shop assistants who treat some women as though they are not worthy. The whole thing is stupid, but was probably originally well-intentioned. I just wish they would move on from the ‘real’ nonsense.

    • June 15, 2012 / 9:36 am

      Really, really good points! I just despise the phrase, unless it is applied to all women. <3

  8. June 15, 2012 / 4:10 pm

    This has to be my favourite article you’ve ever written. Yesterday I was shopping and the only shorts they had in my size were the ultra short, ultra tight, ultra tiny short shorts. I don’t like wearing those and showing off my butt; I wanted longer or high waisted ones. But the only sizes available for those ones were 5 and up. (About 10/12 and up in UK sizes.) I’m a size 0/2 (size 6/8 uk) and I couldn’t buy a single modest pair. I was pretty upset and mad! So this article is so true, I love it 🙂 thank you.

  9. Stephanie
    June 16, 2012 / 12:03 am

    Euurghhh, this really annoys me. I’m constantly seeing photos like “women without curves are like jeans without pockets, you have nowhere to put your hands”. I am naturally really slim as I have a super fast motabolism. This is good for NO ONES self asteem..

  10. Leah
    June 16, 2012 / 1:36 am

    I agree with your blog post in a sense.. I agree that all woman are equal and should not feel degraded in any way. but if you look at certain high street shops you will see that there is a completely different section for so called(plus sizes)with a very limited choice, if any choice. I find this degrading as curvy woman are not considered the same as everyone else! if any one is to blame I feel that it is the high street for categorising woman into sections which is causing there to be a separate market for sizes (0-10) and (12-23) if the high street did not do this I think there would not be an issue of “real woman”.

  11. Tasha
    June 16, 2012 / 5:32 pm

    I completely agree! I’m a size 8-10 because I have a high metabolism, and I HATE it. I was the exact same when I first saw this advert. All of my family are these “real women” according to the adverts. I’m a 15 year old girl with all the usual pressures of teen life. They say about how many people dislike there body shapes and assume they all think they’re to “overweight” when I know for a FACT thin people hate there body. It makes me soooo angry seeing these and its nice to know I’m not the only one…

  12. Charlotte
    June 27, 2012 / 4:20 pm

    I am so glad to have found this website!

    Every time this advert comes on it makes my blood boil. I eat healthily and exercise every day to maintain my size 6 figure and because of this I’m not real?

    Like you said if they were to advertise a clothes shop exclusively for size 0-10 classifying them as ‘real women’ there would be an uproar and no doubt there would be accusations of encouraging anorexia and eating disorders. However it is okay to advertise clothes for size 32 and classify them as ‘real women’. I do not mean to sound harsh but is that not encouraging obesity? Find me a size 32 women who eats healthily and regularly exercises and whose BMI is in the healthy range and I will take those words back.

    The fashion world is focussing too much on the size, some people are naturally a size 0 and some people are naturally curvier. That’s who they are, that is a ‘real woman’.

    I actually snapped the other day when the advert came on as I sat down from the gym to eat my porridge. So I emailed Marisota to see what they had to say. I am still awaiting a reply though am doubtful I will receive one.

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