Real Women?

April 22, 2014

While we live in a society where thin women draw the envy of many, there has been recent backlash in the form of “Real Women Have Curves” campaigns and internet phenomena. They  are rejecting the model standard of thinness and calling for full-figured women to love their bodies.

 

However, this movement has inspired an unexpected response. Thin women are responding to these claims that they are somehow less worthy of attractiveness and womanhood due to their size.

 

Regan Smith is a college student. She stands at five feet, two inches tall and weighs less than 100 pounds. I asked her to discuss the way her size influences the way people perceive her beauty, as well as the effect this has on her own perceptions.

 

Smith says her physical size is something that draws uninvited commentary.

 

“Being little, and the fact that people comment on it on weekly basis, makes me feel like a child as opposed to a woman.”

 

Smith points to hypocrisy in our current culture. We have become hypersensitive to those who are overweight. Society only shames those who find larger individuals to be somehow less attractive.

 

“It’s really socially acceptable for people to comment on me being skinny, like even people I just met. You wouldn’t say that to someone in the opposite direction. You wouldn’t meet someone who was fat and say, ‘Do you eat a lot?’ But people will ask me, ‘Do you eat ever?’” Smith said.

 

Smith mentioned that she perceives beauty differently based on the reactions of others to her size.

 

“I do think it is more difficult to look at someone who is my size and think of them as beautiful, because of the way others respond to me. I notice first that they are skinny and then that they are beautiful.”

 

Just as there many heavier individuals who wish to lose weight to avoid unwanted attention and unnecessary criticism, there are thin individuals who wish to gain weight for the same reasons. Smith gives a voice to this group.

 

“I think it would be easier if I looked more normal. I don’t feel like I look anorexic or malnourished, but I people say that I do all time.”

 

Smith ended her interview on her a confident note. She ultimately does not allow others to define her, and she will not define the beauty of others.

 

“Real women do have curves, but also real women have stick figures. I am short and very skinny, but that doesn’t make me less of a woman.”

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