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Real Women Have Curves

I first remember hearing the phrase 'real women have curves' when I was about fourteen or fifteen years old. It was around the time the backlash against Size 0 began, and suddenly thin was out and curves were in. A petite frame was no longer something to aspire to. 'Real women have curves', don't you know?

I hate that saying.

A real woman can be curvy, she can be skinny, she may have voluptuous hips and boobs and thighs or she may not. She might have a large bust and slim hips; she might be what they call a pear shape, and have a round butt and a smaller top half. Real women come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and two people who wear the same dress size can have very different proportions.

Emma Watson is my ultimate girl crush and this quote is one of the many reasons why.
(source -

Rather than celebrating this diversity, it seems that many media platforms are set on pushing the idea that we should aspire to look a certain way. Back in 2006/7, it was all about trying to squeeze into the equivalent of a UK 4. Then they changed tack and suddenly you were only 'real' if you could fill a bra (although you still weren't supposed to be plus-size).

I think that's why the 'real women have curves' saying gets to me so much. When it first became popular, I was an insecure teenager with AA boobs and maybe the smallest hint of a waist. My two best girl friends at school were (and are) both beautiful and voluptuous, and I felt like a little boy when I stood next to them*. I was already feeling anxious about my body, and then I kept reading that in order to be 'real', I should have the curves that had so far eluded me. What was I, a fake woman? 

While my bra size did increase a little, I've remained rather petite in stature, and gradually I've come to love the way I look. It turns out that there's a lot to be said for self-acceptance, and for taking the time to look after yourself. At the end of the day, my body works the way it should, and that's something to be thankful for. Making the most of what you've got is far more satisfying than trying to fit someone else's version of ideal.

You cannot celebrate one type of appearance by trashing another. Our bodies are all different, and that's a wonderful thing. Wouldn't life be boring if we all looked the same?

As for now, I see a lot of mixed messages. There is definitely more of a focus on health (that fitsperation! Those green juices!) but I still see magazines with covers about people in the public eye who, we are told, are sad because they've either lost or gained a few pounds. And while it can be frustrating when your weight fluctuates, does it really warrant a front cover? It's not exactly news; it happens to everyone at one point or another. Leave them in peace.

Have you ever had any similar experiences to mine? What are your thoughts about body confidence? Let me know in the comments!

* It worked the other way too. They were reading and hearing that anything over a size 10 was 'fat', and felt like they were too large in comparison. In reality, all three of us were normal, healthy girls who just happened to have different body types.

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Beth, 23, South East England. I'm a writer with a love of books, lipstick, and the Oxford comma. I love beauty and I also love animals, so I only buy, use, and feature products from cruelty-free brands. (Seriously though, I am the person who stops to fuss over every dog she sees.) You can also expect posts about vegan/vegetarian food, and plenty of musings about life as a 20-something. Want to get in touch? Email me at

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