6/25/13

Real Women . . .

"Come on, girls. Let's show them how much fun it is to be in nothing but
our undergarments while crammed together like a flesh rainbow."
I just read this piece. You ready for a rant? Sure you are.

On behalf of people everywhere I'd like to officially declare the "shock" and "awe" or the "forward thinking" and "inclusive" nature of your all the marketing campaigns, artists, PR pros, life coaches, fashion designers, and encouraging words of parents, husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends, wives, friends, family, and neighbors that declare you don't have to be a blonde, sized two, and big racked 20-something with perfect teeth and a blue eyes to be an "attractive" or "normal" woman TRITE. (Would one of you verify that was even an actual sentence with proper punctuation? Thanks.)

Here's the thing . . . we GET it. We (nearly) ALL get it. And if YOU (dear reader) don't sit down and really FOCUS because I'm going to clarify the obvious for you. The world is full of ALL kinds of women. They are white, black, somewhere in the middle. They are tall, short, somewhere in the middle. They are thin, fat, somewhere in the middle. They are curvy, linear, somewhere in the middle. They have varying colors and styles of hair, teeth, complexions, mammary surrounds, legs, butts, feet, elbows, and (a personal favorite) clavicles. They are old, young, in the middle. They are smart, dumb, in between. You get where I'm going?

When Dove launched its "Real Women" campaign in September 2004 (nearly NINE YEARS AGO) there was something to it. The cynic in me will argue that, by then, our national self-conscious was already looking past print magazine ads to feel beautiful or "perfect" anyway but I'll allow it was the first BIG effort - from a company that makes beauty products and had, to that point, pretty much toed the line in its marketing, to say "No more, buckos!" (that was probably not the actual quote/tagline but I'm too lazy to track it down).

I get it. I do (calm down, people who love a woman with poor body image) - not EVERYONE is on board with this new world we've been living in for a few million years. Totally understood. Some people have had horrible people abuse them in whatever mental, verbal, psychological (or worse) way and told them their body and/or general appearance (or specific aspect of their appearance) was not good enough and they let it sink in. I get it. Some people (this effects men too, but to a much lesser extent) have harmed themselves and are unhealthy because of all this. My heart (vaguely) goes out. BUT their concern? It is an actual mental issue that is not going to go away with just my ranty blog post (But what it if did? Seriously. What? If? It? Did?) but that doesn't mean we're ALL still under some cloak of self-confusion.

I'm going to assume that 99% of Americans developed enough to make out shapes, colors, and sizes know know that genetics and environmental issues, life choices, and behaviors can change appearance. I'll say this to the hack photographer that inspired all this . . . eating (or not), carrying three kids and squeezing them out (or having them sliced to freedom) and nursing those kids (or not - some don't take to the teet - we get that, too) or juggling the demands of aging, mothering, working, friending, yogaing, not yogaing, couch sitting, boudoir photo taking, etc. etc. etc. leave the AVERAGE woman in America over the age of not-even-a-woman-yet slightly less than what was once positioned as beauty for our forced consumption. ONCE positioned.

Again - those women are rarer and rare all the time. Instead we see, rightfully so, "real" women in their place. NINE years in to the "Real Women" campaign . . . it is no longer edgy, ground breaking, or even all that kind. It is cliche and sorta' condescending, no?

Hillary Clinton is short, a little frumpy, and friggin' brilliant. Serena Williams is a force and fluke (not freak) of nature. I pick these two women because they were in adjacent articles on the web site open on the browser next to the one I'm typing this post in. But you could pick any other two women in the world and compare and contrast them and here's the thing . . . they are all attractive to someone (if that is even the point - which it is NOT). They are all accepted by MOST of the people around them for being who they are. They are all generally comfortable and confident and accepting of who they are.

I'll say this - I know a LOT of women (not biblicaly, clearly). Of the women I know, adore, and think are smart, funny, engaging, empowered, inspiring, enjoyable, well coiffed, confident, and otherwise wonderful to be around . . . I can't even tell you how many are "beautiful" or not in some flesh-only context. I find them beautiful in many other ways instead. No. I'm NOT an evolved man. TRUST me on that.

I'm just smart enough and self-aware enough to not let an advertising campaign or coffee table book of photographs tell me what is now, was then, or will someday be attractive, or "real" in a woman. I'm not impressed. I'm not moved. I'm not phased. I don't need this to help stuff to help me evaluate a woman. Or man. Or couch. Or light fixture. Or whatever.