It gets bandied around a lot. The REAL women term. Now that’s a real woman! Real women have curves. Real women are this and that and whatever. And it irks me. I know that it gets used with the best of intentions. To normalise figures of all shapes and sizes. But it annoys me when people say curves/butt/boobs = a real woman and the rest are somehow inferior.

Now I have curves. I have boobs. I barely have a butt. Am I two thirds woman? I don’t have children, do I deduct a point or forty perhaps? Got married. Add or subtract a point? Business owner; Plus or minus…? I have big feet, does that make me a man? {yes, probably, but THAT’s a whole different post!}

Think about it.

The real women phrase {is it a phrase or a saying or what?} gets used a lot in relation to plus sized models. The plus sized consumer in general really. But even if you are using it to bolster someone. To compliment, I often wonder what the heck the skinny girls think. Are they peeved off?

Some of my dearest {and weirdest, but you know, each to their own} friends are tiny little things. Naturally too. Let’s call them the sample skinny girls group. Some have boobs, some don’t, really. Some tall, some short. Some rail thin and some with curves. Do THEY deserve to be reduced as women because they aren’t plus size. Or should we score them like I scored myself above? We could be here all night.

My Mother always said, you can’t bring yourself up by bringing someone else down. You will all just end up on the floor.So, REAL WOMEN, it’s time to get off the floor. Tall short, skinny, flat, curvy or athletic and everything in between. I say we ditch the ‘Real Women’ bull all together.

The only classifier we really have, is that real women have vaginas. And even that is negotiable.

  • kathrynoh

    To me a real woman is as opposed to someone who has been airbrushed, photoshopped and whatever else they do to those photos in magazines – the ideal we are all supposed to aspire to but no "real" woman can possibly achieve.

  • Karen

    Can I just say that this is one of the best posts I've read in the past couple of months? Kudos!

  • Toushka Lee

    *APPLAUSE*Favourite post of the week, fortnight even, probably month. And your mum is a very wise woman.

  • Megan Blandford

    YES! That term annoys me so much – the only things not 'real' are inanimate objects. People are real, end of story.Great post!

  • Katy

    Great post…as a big boob, no butt, lots of curves girl…I just like looking like me I don't think I'm any more 'real' than anyone else and I know my no boob,no curves, no butt tiny and fabulous sister in law will punch the next person that says she needs to eat more. We are all women and the fact that we are all so different is the exciting part!

  • Sarah

    Awesome! I cringe whenever I hear that term. It's offensive and does nothing but exclude so many women.I would say that a real woman is anybody who has a vagina but that's exclusionary as well. A real woman is anyone who wants to be identified as one!

  • Kudos Suger! See, can't call you Melissa, must call you Suger. The last line had me LOLing. I have been all sizes and the one constant throughout it all was the presence of a vagina… pretty sure I'm a woman.

  • Good Golly Miss Holly!

    YES! OH GOD YES! Let's hear it for women, and vaginas. HUZZAH! x

  • Veggie Mama

    I'm an absolute stick with a vagina. If I'm not a real woman, what the hell am I? Love it <3

  • HEAR FREAKING HEAR!So good it had to be re-tweeted. Excellent work, Ms. Suger.

  • Jenn


  • Definitely a real woman over here! Boobs? err not really (sorry hubby), curves? again, not so much. Butt? Um, Well I'd say yes, but them I'm a terrible judge of these things. So perhaps officially I'm not a real woman, heh? But I've had three bubs – and have the scars to show for it (and some scars I won't show for it, but my gynacologist knows where they are!). TMI – yes I know, but we were discussing vaginas weren't we??xxxCate

  • Imogen Lamport, AICI CIP

    Love this post – so true – the whole real women, skinny women, plus size etc is a minefield. Love your thoughts

  • Sheri Bomb

    FRIK YES!!! Amazing post and so so true! Also, love your mum's words! I think all round we need to be more accepting of each other and stop comparing ourselves to each other – we are all different so there is no point. If we could all stop trying to outdo each other or aspiring to unrealistic representations we would have no reason to feel the need to justify how we look.

  • Justyna

    incredibly well written post, said what so many are thinking. being a 'real' anything has everything to do with what's going on inside not what is perceived on the outside…. lovely sentiment!

  • MaidInAustralia

    'Real women have vaginas' – says it all really. Fantastic post, well done! Hear us roar …)

  • Carly Findlay

    I love this – so wise. There should be a ban on the 'real women' term and more use of 'diversity'.

  • Megan Leslianne

    For me, I have more of an issue with the term "plus sized women". Because "plus sized" is originally supposed to refer to models. "Plus sized models". We all want to whinge about how models shouldn't be stick thin, but the modelling industry isn't about the women at all – it's about the clothes. Putting them on a human and walking them down the runway is supposed to be like an art exhibition of sorts, not a reflection of reality. That's why those clothes don't actually make their way onto store hangers in that form – they're tweaked into something that women will really buy and wear."Plus sized models" are therefore anyone sized AU12 and up. This doesn't mean a size 12 woman is a "plus sized" woman. Just that she's a plus sized in regards to MODELLING.So, the term "real women" doesn't bother me at all because "real women" refers to any woman who is of a naturally healthy height, weight and shape. Whether she's short and skinny, short and curvy, tall and skinny, tall and curvy, or just in between. As long as she is healthy, I don't see the issue with the term "real women". That term was created to separate the majority of our female population with women whose job it is to stay as thin as possible in order to retain their careers.Technically, overweight women are also "real women", because any woman who lives and breathes is a "real woman", isn't she? But I personally think it's dangerous thinking to accept an unhealthy weight and/or lifestyle as being a "real woman". That's just my thoughts, and it's not supposed to come across in an offensive way. (I lost over 25% of my body weight a few years ago.)

  • L.O.V.E this post so damn much! At a size 10 i am not plus-sized, but nor am i a skinny little bird – i'm short with small boobs, small waist, big child bearing hips and some junk in my trunk! (Typically pear shaped, me thinks ). My sister is also a size 10, but she's taller, thinner, smaller of boob, narrower of hip and thigh… which just goes to show, even at the same "SIZE" women come in all different shapes and aesthetics.Encouraging and acknowledging healthy bodies, we should love women of all varieties!

  • Nail. Coffin.Word.xxx

  • 2 thumbs up from me, Melissa!Well said and wise.SSG xxxSydney Shop Girl blog

  • Love. I so agree. I hear it and I often say "as opposed to what? Fake women?". Though, perhaps there are some of those too.But I hear you and I agree with you. Shall now retweet you, baby!

  • Love love. I wrote about this a couple of months ago. As a size 8, no curves, no hips, no boobs kinda girl does this make me less of a woman? I don't think so! xx

  • Hell yes!!<3

  • Ms Styling You

    You rock, Melissa … linking to this post tomorrow x

  • Totally love it. Such clever writing.Your Mum is soooo right and unfortunately that floor is awfully full up…..Vive le difference!

  • This is such a fantastic post Liss I loved it so much!And yes sadly I can't hide it I really don't have boobs and am slightly weird..oh and big headed 😛

  • Unreal. Love your work babe. Well done 😉 xx

  • Love your honesty and spunk my friend. Love that picture of you – looking hot I say! N x

  • I miss my boobs. Here's to all the wobbly bits.

  • i wish you had smiled a little. your kinda like come on..just take the picture and get it over with so we can go DO IT!

  • Christie – Childhood 101

    Love. And laughing at your vagina line. That is classic 🙂

  • Cecilia @ Parenting Controversy

    Fabulous post! I have boobs, butt, curves, and I don't consider myself to be more "womanly" than anyone who doesn't have those things. I will however assert that I am more womanly than anyone who doesn't have a vagina. 🙂

  • Janine

    True true, but that's assuming that the term Real Women is "exclusive" rather than as we utilise it here at Real Women Australia as an INCLUSIVE term to put forward that ALL women are REAL WOMEN, including those who at size 16+ usually get excluded. So I say it again, Real Women includes ALL WOMEN and we are all deserving. Love your shape! Janine x

  • Miss Pink

    So very very well put. I wrote something about this quite a while ago, and I know Jodie from Mummy Mayhem has a post about it too. It does piss us smaller women off to hear those types of phrases, and it is derogatory to be saying so.I think the hard thing is you cannot EVER call someone "fat" but no one bats an eyelash if you call someone "skinny", like it's supposed to be some backhanded compliment. We should all be proud of our shapes. They are unique and beautiful just the way they are!

  • ♥α§ђ£ε¥™♥

    Absolutely…I was just as real in high school as I was when I shed 50lb a couple years later and was a size 5 and I was just as real then as I am now at a size 16. And if your large feet make you a man, do my child size feet make me a child again? Ha! And if you look from the front, I could just as well be a 7, but from the side I'm a whale! It's all about perspective, I don't think anybody is really "fat", because we're all proportioned differently. And my sister, she's the same height and a size 1! Just as much boobage too O.o The brat pulled off great genetics somehow! Another Ashley in the next neighborhood has been gorging herself and binging trying to gain weight, because people call her anorexic all the time. We're all real, but the world expects us to all shape to the same norms, and it's not gonna happen. We shouldn't expect it. I love this particular entry for highlighting how real we all are. I wish I could get more people online to read it!!!!!!!!!

  • What a beautiful picture, you look amazing! Totally agree with everything you had said in this post!

    • Whoops. My picture was lost in the transfer, it is now Taylor Swift. Awkward. 😉

  • Best. Post. Ever.

  • Kim-Marie

    Fanfrickingtastic! We come in all shapes and sizes and we're all real! Yeah baby! As Shania Twain sang, "Man, I feel like a woman!"I must remember this and amend my personal dictionary. I didn’t feel like a "real woman" for a long time because a part of me didn’t work properly. After years of infertility, irregular cycles and hormonal imbalances, I've recently started having regular cycles. Freaky to be experiencing this in my late 30s, 20+ years later than usual. I have been feeling "like a real woman" in the same way a teenager does when she first starts her periods. I told my doctor that I'm Pinnochio, "I'm a real girl, I'm a real girl!"Now, where's my copy of Dolly?

  • I AM offended by Megan Leslianne's comment. I have fought my weight my whole life, and now in my mid-50s I am certifiably obese. I lost 25 pounds (again) last year. I put on 30 this year without changing my strict diet. I still think I am a "real woman."

  • Niaina

    So much trans* erasure in the comments! It makes me sad.

    Real women have vaginas. And not. Some have a penis. Some have neither. Get over it. Real women are women, period.

    • I obviously wasn’t replying to each comment individually back when this post was posted but wanted to say that there is no way that I would advocate for any one who identifies as a woman to be invalidated. I believe the commenters were just responding to my last line about vaginas. Which, you’ll note includes that that is negotiable. Most declaring that yes they do indeed have one. Check! But like I said earlier, it’s not about checks and balances and who says what makes a woman, it’s up to you. Real women are real women because they say so. I strongly believe that and I hope if you ever come across this post again you will know I didn’t mean any harm.

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