The Curse of The “Real Woman”


A size 16 woman has recently won a modelling contest to be the “face of” Ann Summers. The lingerie company were looking for “real women” to model their underwear. The winner, Lucy Moore, is undeniably good looking, and considerably larger than Ann Summer’s usual models.

Image: BigGirlBlue; Flickr

That’s fine, I say, it’s good to have variety and yes, it is good to show larger women. What absolutely makes me want to punch Ann Summers in the face is the use of the phrase, “real woman.”

I’m a size 6-8. I could not put on weight if you force fed me pizza for a month, it just doesn’t happen. Am I not a real woman? People seem to forget that discrimination against size works either way. As a young teen I was shouted at for being very thin, and it wasn’t great. I’m not complaining, whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I absolutely refuse to not be called a “real woman”, and I’m sure lots of other thin, boobless and skinny hipped women agree.

It’s hard to feel feminine when you’re told men’s ideal has 32DD boobs and a perfect hourglass, whilst fashion’s ideal is a size 4. It’s confusing at best and I’m sure the fact that huge quantities of women are yo-yo dieters reflects this.

What does it even mean? Real woman? Opposed to what? Are models not real women, are they merely fictional? Yes, women of that shape make up a minority, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist and need to stop being either revered as goddesses or scorned as not real enough, they are just people, like you and me, but with a much higher paying job.

Of course I don’t think that all models should be dangerously thin and pouty, for one, it’s boring, we’ve seen it. Using larger models is unlikely to catch on: the way I see it, loads of companies proclaim they use “real” models, then use a larger than average but very beautiful model. Then they sit and bathe in praise and go back to using their regular rakes. That’s not real women, that’s a publicity stunt.

We don’t need an influx of plus size models, tagged, “real women”. We need a reduction in photoshopped images, a wide variety of models in ALL shapes and sizes, not just very thin or large, we need all the sizes and shapes, no boobs, no hips, big hips and no boobs, big bum and flat bum. We need women to know they are ALL real women. Not just cuddly ones or skinny waifs too. We need the pressure to be removed from women, so that they don’t feel they have to be a size 4 to be in fashion or a size 16 to be a “real woman”.


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  • Tara Sud

    To be fair, a lot of models, actresses and people of the sort, probably eat just about as much as (if not less than) a homeless person — In my mind, THIS is what Ann Summers was referring to as the opposite of the “real woman”… Many models, are hardly attractive.. they do indeed have the stereotypical “tall and skinny” look. A few years ago, I remember when Miss Puerto Rico won Miss World or Miss Universe or whatever it was (I don’t watch that kind of thing with keen interest).. She fainted not much long after because she hadn’t eaten in days.
    Essentially I don’t think a size 4 or a size 16 woman needs to take something that Ann Summers (or any other company, brand, magazine, advertisement etc) projects as any verification for who they are.
    And also, size 16 is not big! Although size 16 women are probably more scorned as not being good enough than size 4 women are. They don’t even be given the alternative of being “revered as goddesses” !