That thunder of hooves you can hear is my high horse at full gallop. I am, as my friend Audra would put it, cranky. That’s a drastic understatement. I’m close to being incensed. No, I am incensed. This is one of my very rare serious posts and I am seethingly angry.
Here we go. ‘Real women have curves.’ This is a familiar saying to anybody who spends any time on the internet, and especially on Facebook. It’s supposed to be a rallying cry, women speaking out about societal perceptions of female beauty. Real women have curves. It’s a feminist article of faith.
Well, I’m sorry, it’s not feminist. It’s deeply, profoundly anti-feminist, and here’s why. The women who say this are wilfully ignoring or decrying any of the sisterhood who are not curvy. What this mantra says is that if you don’t have a bosom, and a waist, and a rounded stomach, and a proper arse, and critically if your thighs don’t touch, you’re not a real woman. You might just as well yell, ‘Hey Titless! I’ve seen bigger currants on a breadboard!’ It’s like being back in secondary school.
It’s a blatant and very hurtful insult to those who are naturally slim or skinny. Not the anorexic Skeletorettes who live on coke and lettuce leaves, but the naturally non-curvy. I went out with a girl once who was 5’8” and weighed 100 lbs soaking wet. She made Olive Oyl look like a Botticelli. She had stick thin legs, thin arms, narrow hips, a 32A bust. Not at all curvy. I thought she was very sexy indeed. At the other end of the spectrum, I had a six-year relationship with a woman who was clinically obese. She didn’t just have curves, she had curves on her curves. I thought she was sexy too.
The odd thing is that while women are banging on about sexual stereotyping of the females of the population, they think nothing at all of perpetuating male sexual stereotypes. The internet is thronged with images of men that these feminist urban warriors have posted . Every single one of these men has magnificent pecs and deltoids and biceps, you can count their ribs, they have a six pack for abs, sturdy thighs, shapely calves. They typically appear wearing nothing but a cowboy hat and Calvin Klein underwear with a pair of socks stuffed down the front. They have no body hair (some designer stubble on the face is, however, curiously de rigueur), and have clearly just had a rubdown with baby oil.
So are these Adonises with Photoshopped perfect musculature, a back-sack-and-crack job, and a fondness for baby products real men? No. They’re fantasy figures, in the same way that the Page 3 girls and Victoria’s Secret catwalk models are fantasies.
‘It’s just a bit of fun.’ Really? Is it? Are the Chippendales just ‘a bit of fun?’ How come female strippers or pole dancers aren’t ‘just a bit of fun’ then? I don’t find them at all fun, but using this twisted pseudo-feminist logic it would be OK if I did. Sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander, as they say.
Women quite rightly object to the manipulated stereotyping of what is beautiful or attractive as regards their own sex. I’m with them all the way on this one. But the whole ‘real women have curves’ thing is just another way of stereotyping, isn’t it? It excludes non-curvy women, and in this way is even more of an insult because it’s women insulting other women. At the same time these selfsame curvy women feel absolutely at ease with perpetuating a male sexual stereotype of perfection. That’s not logical, and it’s an insult to both sexes.
There. I’m glad I got that off my (slightly hairy) chest.