Thursday, May 31, 2007

real women

This bothers me.

Classic Knits for Real Women by Martin Storey & Sharon Brant

"The projects in this book are for real women: busy, hardworking women who want to enjoy life to its fullest. This book's purpose is to provide great patterns for women with real proportions. The simple, clean designs are accented by amazing details. Pattern sizes: 14-24."

I hate...hate...hate it when plus-size fashions are described as being for "real" women. Yeah, they're real women. I'm not denying that. But I wear a size 4-6. Am I not a real woman, too?

Excuse me for keeping fit and eating mindfully, and excuse me for having a small frame. (Have you seen the size of my wrists? Tiny!) I'm small. I can't help that. Am I supposed to gain an unnecessary 30 pounds just to be considered a "real" woman? Breastfeeding isn't enough? Giving birth isn't enough? Having two x chromosomes isn't enough? For the love of all that's good and holy!!

Yes, some women are small because they're anorexic. And some women are naturally ridiculously thin and tiny. And yeah, our culture does tend to make women who aren't that small feel badly about themselves. But we're all "real" women!!! And referring to plus-size women as "real women" just encourages negative feelings towards women who are smaller. ("I don't have to feel badly about not looking like her because she's not a real woman like me, the skinny bitch!") It's the same thing, in my opinion, as thinking that discrimination against white people couldn't possibly be racism.

Just because somebody belongs to the group that is considered "ideal" by our society - whether it be white, or skinny, or blonde (don't even get me started on the blonde thing) - that doesn't make it okay to hate them because of who they are, or because they're something you're not. If I can't call you a fatty fatty boombalatty, then you can't call me a skinny bitch. Make sense? (Not that I'm skinny!! I have a mummy tummy! I'm just trying to make a point.)

It reminds me of something that bothered me a lot when I was pregnant. People were always saying to me, "No! You can't be that far along! You're so small!!!" As if all women magically become the same size once they become pregnant? Never mind that I was actually measuring ahead throughout most of my pregnancy.

One woman who said this to me was about half as far along as I was and much bigger (not her belly, just her whole self). I didn't know what to say, other than "I'm just a small person, I guess." Because, well, I am. And if you were a size 12 before you got pregnant, and I was a size 4, I am never going to get as big as you will. Why do people have such a hard time understanding that?

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