Trigger Warning: Eating Disorders, Transphobia
There has been a new marketing trend* of ‘real women’. Many corporations have decided to market using ‘real women’ models or to a ‘real women’ audience in order to create a body-positive image that appreciates women. This is a way for these corporations to step away from the standard of using thin models to a more ‘healthy’ and ‘realistic’ cast of models. So, they use ‘real women’ who are women with a larger and fleshier body then the women that are usually used in marketing campaigns.
Let me first say that I do agree that eating disorders are socially created and are a huge problem for women (and men) in this society. It is teaching girls that self-destruction is the most effective way to get ahead in life and that thinness is the purest form of beauty. I am extremely against these attitudes. So, I am not saying that I fully hate this campaign tactic. But yet, I still have a problem with the campaign. I think the marketing technique is still using body shaming and body policing to get ahead, I think that these ads are still sexist, I think that the women who are showed in these ads are still normative looking so I think that the campaigns are more of a hype then an actual effort in radical change in beauty and also I think that these advertisements are very transphobic.
“This is how real women look like” is kind of a twisted up way to think. A women can look any way that she wants to look and it won’t make her any less of a women. There should be no standard at all. It is that simple. These campaigns suggest that anyone who does not fit into the body types shown are fake and unreal. This message is a similar message that the normal marketing campaigns who use thin women are sending. The message is that what defines what a women is and what a women’s body should look like is up to someone who doesn’t own that body to decide.
Also, as always the way a women looks is what is being focused on when these campaigns are describing real women. These advertisements are sexist because they say that gender is something aesthetic. That gender comes with child-bearing hips! That the aesthetics of a women is the best way to classify her instead of her opinions, questions, thoughts.
Also, the girls in these advertisements are not beautiful in a radical way. They are still stereotypical beautiful. Yes, they weigh more but they still have slender arms, bigger tits then stomach, smooth skin, femme appearance, and all and all are not defying typical beauty standards in a radical way.
Second of all, these advertisements are extremely transphobic because no transwomen are ever used as an example of what ‘real women’ look like. Apparently you are only a women if you are born one, which isn’t correct. Once again transpeople are alienated from our culture and not considered when companies make decisions.
I mean, okay, I’m not saying this isn’t optimistic but it isn’t optimistic enough. The phrase ‘real women’ hurts. In a communication and language based society where ideas are actualized by the way they are expressed and delivered simple word choices say a lot. Just by saying ‘real women’ on these campaigns the message that is sent is that women can’t define for themselves what a women is, a women’s definition is based on beauty, and transwomen aren’t real women.