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’?
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