Real women have curves. Real women have some meat on their bones. Real women should be shown in ad campaigns, not those bony size twos — nobody likes cuddling with a bag of bones!
If you have heard any of the statements above you have heard a different kind of body snarking that is fairly socially acceptable, even among people who consider themselves feminists and generally body-positive. Many women feel justifiably frustrated with the uncommonly precise standards set by the fashion and television industry, so rather than taking out those feelings on the establishments and societal norms perpetuating them, they opt instead to criticize models and thin women.
Calling a woman fat is typically considered as awful (well, by everyone except the Daily Mail and Karl Lagerfeld), whereas telling a woman to “eat a cheeseburger” or insinuating she has an eating disorder or critiquing an actress’ performance based on her slim figure is somehow permitted.
Campaigns like Dove‘s sneaky “Real Woman” marketing scheme are just as obnoxious and as most — they’re simply more subtle about it. For example, in their recent “look how conventionally pretty you are to other people” viral video, they were still (A) selling products to increase this supposed “real beauty” and (B) implying that certain facial features and effects of the aging process are inherently less pretty. They’re not selling “real women”; they’re marketing products just like everyone else, except they do it by tugging at people’s heartstrings to make them feel like Dove cares about “real women” more than profits.
So, let’s figure out what exactly other models are if they are not “real women.” They must be something, right? They may be robots, they may be aliens, they may be imaginary creatures from long ago. It’s up to you to decide.
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