"Real Women Aren't a Size 6"
"Real Women have Curves"
It would appear that lack of reality runs in my generation.
I do understand that such statements have most likely become popular as a form of backlash against the media for portraying all models as 'unbelieveably' skinny. But I absolutely do not think that blanket statements like "Real Women have curves" is the answer to that problem. Because the inference of that statement is that all non-curvy women are also fake women. And what the heck is a fake woman, that's what I want to know.
Actually, Women are women--they aren't really separated into the real ones and the fake ones. And, while the problem of the media portraying only skinny girls is a real problem, it's not the only one. Because if you really are short or slender or both, you know from experience that finding clothes that fit well in American stores is a challenge.
If I shop at teeny-bopper stores, such as Forever 21, Charlotte Russe, or the Junior's department of larger stores, I can find clothes that fit around a size 3-5 for jeans and XS-M for tops. I think stores like Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister carry small sizes, but their prices are too expensive and their stores are too smelly so I boycott them. At stores more geared towards adults, such as Express, Banana Republic, and the Gap, I'm typically a 00 for pants and dresses and XXS-XS for tops. The problem is, I usually don't like teeny-bopper stores because their clothes are often low quality and too trendy for my tastes. And their dresses are mostly too short to wear without pants (according to my height and the length of dresses I prefer to wear). But finding dresses that fit at adult stores is not terribly fun either. I've completely given up hope on ever finding a dress that fits at your typical JC Penney's or Sears. Angel bought me a lovely dress from Banana Republic for my birthday last year. He picked out a size 0, which turned out to be significantly too big, and they didn't carry anything smaller for that dress, so I had to return my birthday dress. I ended up getting my birthday dress at Bettie Page--I had to try on many different styles to find even one dress that was small enough to fit.
The Misses department rarely carries clothes small enough for me, and I'm too tall to really shop in the Petites section. Countless times I've seen a mannikin wearing a fitted dress, and I get excited, thinking that the store must carry small sizes--only to find that the too-large dress is pinned to the back of the mannikin, only giving the illusion that it fits. Hello, stores? I can't just pin my clothes in the back to help them fit better.
So, there is an interesting contrast, then, between the skinny models portrayed in media and the clothing actually available in stores.
I know that the reason I'm skinny right now is because I'm very young. I haven't had any children yet. My body will change in the future, I'm sure. But the thing is, I'm not the standard of how small people can get. I know women in their 30s and 40s and even older, who've had multiple children, who've lived long, full lives, who are a head shorter than I am and significantly more narrow. Where are they supposed to buy their clothes, I wonder? Are they destined to spend their entire lives shopping in the children's department?
"Real Women are..."
Why would it ever be a good thing that the realness or unrealness of women were determined by the shape of their bodies? I'm pretty sure no one's body is standard. Tall girls, short girls, skinny, and curvy--we all have trouble finding the perfect sizes in stores. But that doesn't give anyone the right to determine which body shape is "real" and which is "fake". Ideally, we could all get our clothes tailor-made for us, and that would solve some problems. But the truth is that a woman could be mean and evil at a size 2 or a size 22. And a woman could have a gracious and loving heart and have a sincere passion for serving God at any size, too! So yeah, it would be nice if we could all buy clothes that fit. But what matters is what we do with the bodies we've been given.
I'm not trying to start a debate on who's prettier, and I'm not trying to argue that more companies should make clothes that fit me. I'm also not interested in the healthy vs. unhealthy debate.
What really matters is that:
"The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7
So stop knocking the skinny girls. Let's focus more on the attitudes of our hearts and the actions of our hands than on the measurements of our hips, shall we?