What Makes a ‘Real’ Woman?

This week Women’s Running magazine had this lovely front cover.

womens running

Now don’t get me wrong – it was lovely to see a woman on the front of a magazine that looked more like me than they usually do and I applaud Women’s Running for showing a diverse selection of women running. My problem was with some of the comments posted on the picture

“It is about time we see a real woman on a running magazine!”

“Well done, keep it up women’s running, no more stick insect on the cover please!!”

“Makes me want to read your magazine! Not many people put a normal sized woman on the front of their magazine. Well done!!”

“An actual real person on a magazine cover!!!”

“Finally real women on the cover!!!”

These comments are meant with the best of intentions I’m sure but I can’t help but feel for the other side of the coin. Are we saying that in order to be a ‘real’ woman you need to look like this – have we moved from fat shaming to slim shaming?

The long and short is that while I’d actively encourage magazines and the fashion industry as a whole to show women in the diverse forms we come in the public needs to catch up on this as well. We need to work together to encourage women to be confident in whatever form they come in and telling someone they aren’t a ‘real’ woman because they look different to you isn’t the way to do it.

You are a real woman if you are plus size. You are a real woman if you have hips and boobs. You are a real woman if you have an athletic build. You are a real woman if you are slim. You are a real woman if you are a size 6 or a size 26.

You are a real woman if you identify as being a woman.

If on the inside you feel like a woman then try to empower other women to feel the same no matter what their shape, size and colour. That responsibility starts with us – we need to demand the magazines we read and the images we see are reflective of multiple body types but we also need to make sure that we aren’t detrimental to others when we do it.

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