Not too long ago, I read a social media conversation in which average-sized women were bashing the fashion industry. That’s reasonably popular, isn’t it? After all, we’ve had years and years of fashion moguls telling us through commercials, advertisements, and runway shows what the right look for a women should be — and it isn’t what most of us look like.
But the conversation of these women turned to statements I’ve heard before, like these:
- “Normal-sized women don’t wear those clothes.”
- “I’d have to be a toothpick to wear that!” (Or twig or pole or ___.)
- “Real women have curves.”
And I thought about that — how quickly the conversation turned from blaming the fashion industry for hurting women’s image of themselves to comments that likely hurt other women’s image of themselves. Strange as it may seem, some women really are a size 2, naturally, without starving themselves for a photo shoot.
Unfortunately, we ladies sometimes fall prey to the same one-size-fits-all thinking that we decry the fashion industry for having. And I’m just going to say it: We need to give each other a break, ladies.
While we have certain womanly aspects in common, God our Creator has made us gals in a variety of shapes and sizes. Just how pronounced our curves are or the number on our clothing’s label doesn’t define us as “normal” or “real-sized.” If God made you that size and you’re maintaining your health, you’re very real, very womanly, and very beautiful.
I’ve honestly never known any woman who didn’t struggle in some way with her appearance. Maybe you struggle with maintaining a healthy weight. Maybe you feel like your body is disproportionate. Maybe you wish you could have some of those curves that other women talk about, but you just don’t.
I doubt that many of us fit the “ideal woman” size and shape, and our perceived shortcomings are in different areas. By the way, those gorgeous models don’t even fit the ideal woman size and shape, as the vast majority of them are “photoshopped” into a fictional version of themselves. Famed supermodel Cindy Crawford once said, “I wish I looked like Cindy Crawford.” I’m giving Cindy a break for not looking perfect, but I’m giving that break to every woman out there too.
Let’s collectively fight against the popular voices that attack our self-image. We need to embrace the reality that we are wonderfully made by our Creator (Psalm 139:14) and beautiful to those who love us (Song of Songs 4:7). We also need to stop creating some unrealistic version of what a “real woman” looks like — whatever that image is.
Real women are as varied as snowflakes.
You are a real woman. I am a real woman. We do not look alike. And that is God’s favor upon us in this world. He is a true Artist, creating an array of beauty that extends past anyone’s effort to box us in and make us conform like factory-produced dolls. Big or small, tall or short, large or thin, curvy or straight, let’s look deeper into the heart of the women we interact with.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29).
Let’s build up the self-image of the wives in our midst.