I really dislike the ‘real woman’ thing.
When I was 17 years old, a woman in her mid 20s told me I didn’t know anything about being a ‘real woman.’ Kinda brutal to tell anyone that, let alone a 17 year old girl. It stung. It stung for years. Over the years I transitioned from thinking “that’s not true” to “it’s true, sob” to “what is a ‘real’ woman anyway?”
So, from what I can tell, A ‘real woman’ is one that lives to fulfill the expectations of others. She dresses up, styles her hair, wears makeup, and her social and romantic relationships are what define her. By that definition I am definitely not a ‘real woman.’ Recently the label has been co-opted to describe overweight or obese woman. Getting a little warmer.. Of course, that interpretation still means disparaging others based on their appearance, which is the same damn thing as the original interpretation. So no, I don’t agree with it.
At age 31, pretty far away from age 17, I have this thought. Every woman is a real woman. Every single one. Unconditional.
Even so, I really feel reluctant to describe myself as a woman. There seems to be so much red tape around it. Marketing, advertising, commercialization, social conditioning all tie into and feed into a toxic vision of womanhood. Referenced from here-on-out on this blog, somewhat disparagingly, as being a Real Woman™. (Dove, please don’t sue me.) I was musing this morning that if I am not a Real Woman™, what am I?
And I looked around. I looked up at my framed diplomas. I looked at my bathroom counter uncluttered by product. I looked at my thin and unremarkable hair, not weighed down by product. I looked at my nails with their uneven and unpainted surfaces. And it was all fine.
I realized, I’m not a Real Woman™. I’m a FREE woman.