Real Women have Curves and Other Sexist Bullshit

Can we just stop it with the “real women have curves” bullshit already? Because by that logic I was some fairy tale daydream until I was 26 and had two kids (and my curves are not in flattering places). And don’t come at me claiming I’m fat shaming now. I don’t do fat shaming and I’ll tell you exactly why.

I was about 8 years old. My mom and I were getting ready to go somewhere, or maybe I was watching her get ready. It was somewhere fancy ’cause she was pulling on stockings. Dark grey. I sat there watching those stockings, the way they stretched and changed colour. I said to her “It looks like elephant skin.”

She told me I couldn’t say things like that, that it was hurtful, that people would be mad, embarrassed.

I remember being confused and defensive. I didn’t say she was an elephant, I didn’t even say she looked like an elephant. It was the nylons, the colour, the texture, not her. I was hurt that she was mad at me for something I didn’t do.

Looking back I understand she was hurt and embarrassed. At 8 years old I didn’t understand fat shaming because my mom was beautiful to me, inside and out.

She lived with grace and tolerance and acceptance. I know know how many friends told me they were surprised by her acceptance of them. This Catholic woman with a good marriage and two straight, cis-gender girls with A-averages who didn’t party and went to church with her every weekend – she accepted people. Didn’t matter to her if they came from single parent homes, if their parents were divorced or divorcing or how nasty that divorce got, if they liked to party, if those parties involved drugs or alcohol, how they dressed, who they dated, who they prayed to, if they prayed at all – she welcomed them all and treated them all with respect until they gave her a damn good reason not to.

She was diagnosed with cancer. She fought with strength and bravery. She died with grace and dignity. She was beautiful. And I have never in my life deliberately shamed a person for their size or shape because at 8 years old I hurt the feelings of the most beautiful woman I knew, I learned that words hurt, that insulting someone’s weight directly, or through implication, hurt.

My problem with this whole “Real women have curves” thing isn’t the curves. Go be curvy. Go be skinny. Go be plain or fancy or flouncy or frilly or rough or brash. Go be you. My problem is those first two words.

“Real women”

Thank you sexist patriarchy, you can shut the fuck up now.

This “be skinny”/”real women have curves” shit is just us fighting each other over something that doesn’t matter – it’s another set of unrealistic expectations that will always conflict. Be healthy, whatever healthy looks like for you. I am never going to be a size 0 again, NEVER. And when I was a size 0 it was a gift of genetics and metabolism, not will power (though I was a lot more active then too). My goal isn’t to be a size 0 again. My goal is to have more energy, to keep up with my kids, to feel good about my body, to feel sexy in the clothes I wear. What that looks like on me is going to be different than it looks on you.

As for this whole “But men really want …” WHO GIVES A FUCK. First of all, each man wants something different. Second of all, my husband fell in love with me when I was a size 0 and he stuck with me through two pregnancies and the resulting baby weight. Doesn’t matter that I’ll never rock those low-cut pants from high school ever again. He loves me for me, not for the size of my clothes. Isn’t that how it should be? I get it, we’re biologically programmed to find certain types of people more physically attractive than others – but everyone is programmed differently.

So let’s knock this off, right now. Let’s stop comparing ourselves to each other. Let’s stop it with the “real woman” labels and the in-fighting. We have more important shit to handle in this world right now so if we want the fat shaming to end, let’s start by ending the weight wars between us.