Monday, 25 January 2016

Motivational Monday // The "real woman" debate

After writing last week's motivational Monday instalment I felt as though I had barely scratched the surface of the multifaceted problem that is todays perception of female body image. I felt that at least another post was required to cover the issue and perhaps there will be more to follow. This weeks instalment will cover the rise of the "real woman" and the damaging effects this has to our society. 

The backlash against thin:

Last week I discussed briefly how very recently the IN thing was thin. With Kate Moss proclaiming her famous mantra "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels" many girls were having to cope with unhealthy thoughts encouraging disordered eating; and with larger women being pushed to the sidelines of the beauty spectrum receiving hurtful comments implying their beauty was tied to their size – it is no wonder that there was a backlash! 

The backlash is shown below: 

I applaud any woman that is happy to be the size she is. Good for you. What I will not applaud is 1. A woman who had to tear other women down in order to feel good about herself. 2. A woman who bases her self-worth, the worth of others and someone's ability to be sexy on looks and male opinion alone. This is an extremely damaging idea to be putting out. 

Why is this damaging:

For one thing, these "inspirational" quotes completely exclude the fact that many women are in fact not bothered by whether men find them sexy at all, because they are attracted to women. 
Secondly, why try extremely hard to change your body shape for someone who seems to be a bit of an arse anyway. Do not put yourself through calorie restriction because some guy said he likes skinny women and do not push yourself through extremes because some guy said he wanted your ass to be fatter. The main thing here is YOU DO YOU. 

We need to stop pretending that everybody shares the same body type. Not every woman can have big breasts or can have a thigh gap. Sexy comes in all shapes and sizes. 

Also one more point, since when did small boobs become no boobs? That rhetoric is really getting old. Sure, some women have a very flat chest. Some women have small boobs, some medium, some large. When you look at bikini hauls on youtube you have so many small breasted girls looking embarrassed as they tell the camera they aren't "gifted" in the chest area. It breaks my heart that we have been brought up feeling ashamed to have smaller boobs. Or even on the other end of the spectrum that some women were embarrassed to have larger boobs. 

Now, since small boobed ladies are feeling the pressure they lash out at women with larger boobs. 

Come on. This girl on girl attack is crazy. 

Every woman is a real woman. No matter what her size is. 

My experience:

As someone who went through puberty little by little in many stages I experienced a lot of hate regarding my body shape. The first thing that came in for me was a defined waist. I got some little hips before anything else happened. 

Secondly I got tiny pair of boobs ever so slowly getting proportionally bigger but I am definitely small chested. I was told at 12 I was flat chested and that I should stuff my bra. I was mortified. I thought people had noticed my secret of having a size A chest and thought the whole school would know. All the cool kids were already wearing bras and I was shrinking back in my vest. So to combat this minor bullying, me and a friend at the time did everything we could to fake these desired curves at the age of 13 or so. 
We bought push up bra after push up bra spending our pocket money in 'La Senza'. There is no shame in buying these, I still have one in my drawer because in some of my clothes I prefer the look of some boost but I was 13 and 14 only wearing these because I hated my chest. I didn't even like them! They became uncomfortable after a while of wearing them and were incredibly obvious to the girls in the changing rooms. 

I always had scrawny legs too. I used to wear leggings under my school trousers to look like I was slightly more filled out. I wasn't anorexic or cutting calories like you may be thinking. I was just young and not fully developed yet, competing with girls who were already done with their puberty run. Eating twice as much as I normally would to try and gain weight did nothing. 

It was only when I got to 16/17 that I started to love my body. I began to fill out more over time. There were many things I didn't understand before, that being petite I would never have some of the body types I idolised. But now I'm older I realise that even people older than me don't understand body types. Curvy can come in many sizes much like athletic body types come in many sizes. I am petite and very slender but I am relatively curvy for someone my size. I have a butt and my 30C boobs are all present and correct. More importantly I am getting healthier. I am 19 now and exercise is becoming more a part of my life. I love the feeling of my body getting stronger. 


From what I remember the summer time was the worst for my body confidence. Beach and pool parties are frequent and with light bullying being the norm I hated the mandatory bikini uniform. Thankfully, we are in a time where different bikini brands cater to different shapes of women. I have a few tips for those of you that are dreading the summer season!

The main tips I can give you for feeling confident in your bikini is:
Know your dimensions. Many of the great brands are online which makes getting the right size tricky and lying to yourself about your dimensions won't help you. Get the right size and it'll look better on you.
Look at different styles of bikinis. Different styles suit different shapes! have a bit of a look around on Instagram or tumblr or google images and find pictures of women who have similar body types and what bikinis looked great on them. It'll really help you visualise your own body in that bikini. 
Remember, everyone has their own body hangups.  That girl that picked on your thighs probably hates her stomach. Or the one who mocked your large chest hates her arms. If you remember that then you may be able to shake off the worst of the comments. Obviously sometimes they may hit a nerve and it can be really hard to ignore, but the bigger person wouldn't attack someone else's body image.

Body confidence can be hard to learn but in my eyes the sexiest thing a woman can have is confidence in herself. It'll take time but it will be worth it and half the battle is not neglecting your inside. Think positive thoughts, eat your 5 a day, do some light exercise and the benefits will shine out of your skin. 

Have a happy week all of you! 

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Maira Gall