Is it time for ‘real’ women to go?

Call me a snowflake but I have a problem with the term ‘real women.’ I’ve had it for some years now. I know because I spoke to @rachelperu quite some time ago about it & I said then that I wanted to write a blog post about it. Obviously I never did. 

Until now. 

The other day I received a marketing email from one of the UK’s much loved retailers with the subject title – lingerie designed, modelled and worn by REAL women – and I thought the time to write is right now. 

Now I absolutely love this campaign, as I truly have an issue with only seeing underwear and swimwear on ‘perfect,’ airbrushed, young, white bodies and it is about time that we get to see a full range of shapes, sizes, skin colours and ages. I am 100% here for that. 

Yet the term ‘real women’ irks and grates on me like Cheddar on a big, metal holey thing. 

By saying that the women in these images are real, you’re saying that others are not. That the stereotypical models used to model lingerie aren’t real women? Oh but they are. They’re just blessed with amazing genes and probably work incredibly hard to have that figure.

It’s like the phrase – real women have curves – yes, absolutely they do but some other real women do not. Not one. Straight up and down. Muscular. Angular with hard edges. Yet still a real woman. 

Back in 2019 one brand put out a model call for ‘real women with real bodies’ so did that mean that it was open to us all? Nope! Fortunately, someone had a word and they changed the language. 

Why do we have to celebrate one group of women while essentially putting down another? I appreciate that it’s because many women have, for years, been made to feel crap about themselves due to all the traditional marketing/models used and now it’s time to celebrate them. Again, abso-blumin-lutely! I just don’t want it to be at the cost of making other women feel any less of a woman. 

Seeing a full range of bodies in the media and advertising really is important to help most of us feel more confident and happy with what we have and not be self critical or torment ourselves with a lifetime of trying to achieve the beauty ideal that is unattainable for most.

However, can’t we just be genuinely diverse and celebrate us all at the same time, never to the exclusion of others? I’m definitely not normally one to get so sensitive over a word, I know there’s no actual harm intended, but anyone else agree that we’re all real and maybe it’s time to ditch this expression from advertising, magazines and general conversation!? 🤷🏼‍♀️

Going tortoise!

My Instagram bio says 100% genuine.

Hopefully, most of you will know by now how honest and open I try to be on here. I have a real problem with perpetuating the whole ‘fake/one dimensional’ side of social media. Obviously my feed is still a highlight reel but I’m always me. Anyone who’s met me in real life says that I’m like the person that I come across and that is exactly how I want it to be.

My Instagram bio also says positive midlife.

That’s true too. I’m annoyingly positive. I’ve watched the TED talks and read the books. I’ve cracked the code! I know that our brains are wired to default to the negative for safety and survival (from sabre tooth tigers and the like!) so we have to work hard to exercise the positive muscles of the brain. I know that we are what we think so if we think positive things and feel gratitude then we will feel all the good stuff.

Yay! Sorted! I’m bossing at life! Go me!

Except that in spring I started a slow and steady decline into the valley of negativity. I could feel it happening. It didn’t happen overnight. It was very stealth like. I tried to call in my Positivity SAS – exercise, sleep, eating well, getting outside, stroking the dog, having a word with myself, allowing myself some time to feel a bit shit, immersing myself in work activities etc. But the decline continued right to the bottom of the valley where I started to cry. At some point every day. Normally over nothing. Often before I’d even properly opened my eyes. I mean WTF?

Why?

I don’t really know. I still don’t know for sure. 

Options included: the six month winter, a year of Covidtimes, the drastic change to my working life, having a CDB oil break and those bloody unpredictable hormones! Maybe all of the above?!

All I know is that at some point around mid June, the absolute bitch from hell came to camp out on my shoulder and, with the loudest megaphone known to woman, she proceeded to tell me how useless I was, how unattractive and old I was, she even threw in “and you’re meant to be a model!” Who did I think I was trying to create a positive community for midlife women? She also shouted that I was a crap mom, wife, daughter, friend etc. She criticised me in every way that she could about every, single area of my life. 

She was my negative, inner voice and she was proper vile and so very persistent. You don’t want to meet her in a dark alley because she’d duff you up good and proper. I was definitely battered and bruised after my encounter with her. I felt totally useless, inadequate and a complete fraud.

My self esteem and confidence was pretty much in tatters.

When I feel like this I have a tendency to go a ‘bit tortoise.’ I go inside my shell and try and hide from the world, even though this isn’t necessarily the best thing for me. I just can’t help myself…

… a few more weeks have passed since I wrote the above and, while I’m still walking a bit of a tightrope and my self confidence is not totally back in place, things have majorly improved.

Why? I wish I had the answer!

I had a couple of very good chats with great women, I consistently took my CBD oil again and very importantly I started to take a lot more pride in my appearance. This has definitely made a massive improvement to my self esteem. Also my hormones may have fluctuated to a more stable place (who bloody knows what’s going on with them!?) Resilience became my word of the moment and I kept reminding myself that I have an amazing life!

The evil bitch vanished. I started to feel joy again. Frankly I started to feel like me again. 

I just wish that I knew what had changed?!

Maybe I’ll never know and my desire to know the reason why (so that I could sort it out) was only making things worse? 

Maybe at times, you feel just a bit shit for absolutely no reason and you simply have to ride out the storm until you’re plonked back down on the shore, a bit bedraggled, and you pick yourself back up and start again?

All I know is that I’m currently trying to be very kind to myself and it feels so much better than beating myself up!