2015's 'Miss Universe' pageant caused quite a stir in the political world. Esther Newman discusses whether these competitions are quite as innocent as they seem...Written by Esther Newman on 3rd March 2015
The Media’s ‘Real Woman’ PIP cause?
The recent PIP implant scare has been unavoidable, reported to affect 40,000 women in the UK alone whose assets are now filled with industrial grade mattress filler
The recent PIP implant scare has been unavoidable, reported to affect 40,000 women in the UK alone whose assets are now filled with industrial grade mattress filler.
I can imagine this fact would not be remotely comforting to find out, even without the risks it presents. The constant media barrage of 'perfect' has come to public outrage in the last few years with magazines and music videos being blamed for rises in bulimia, and a crash of low self esteem in British ladies. A survey by girl-guiding revealing half of 16-21 year olds saying they would consider surgery, which I imagine surprises few. With London Fashion Week fast approaching it's only a matter of time until the headlines are filled with critique of the catwalks and the girls that make their living walking it. My problem, however, lies not with the idea that curves are bad and everyone is 5ft 9” (which they're clearly not) but instead with the branding of this whole approach and in particular the line 'Real Women'.
I shall explain: Ann Summers' recently ran their Valentine's day competition, to find a 'Real Woman' to front its current new range of lingerie. The winner was decided by public vote and was won by the pretty 22 year old Lucy Moore, a student and the only plus size finalist in the competition, all is well. However, a copy of the new brochure reveals Lucy and the other two finalists adorning the front cover with the heading 'We are Sexy, Gorgeous and Real'. The girls look good in their red leopard print but the image is clearly air-brushed, which takes the authenticity out of the idea. This is then added to by turning to the first page of the catalogue to see a typical Ann Summers model advertising the range. To claim that the woman on page 2 is not 'real' and that Lucy Moore from Westminster Uni is, I think is a bit of a contradiction.
What makes Lucy Moore 'real' ? Is it that she's plus size? Is it that we know her name or that she doesn't have the body we expect of a lingerie model? Is the lady with the neat waist and pert boobs on the following pages therefore classified as not 'real', because, I imagine, she is a real woman, who works hard at maintaining her appearance and has a healthy diet, goes to the gym a lot and leads, I guess, a normal life? When both the girls have been airbrushed into super smooth versions of themselves I can't see that it matters either way.
For girls who are naturally petite and don't have those 'real woman' curves I can see that this has rather the opposite effect and being told that it isn't natural to not have hips and curves. Any night out at FAB will tell you there are a lot of very slim, real, girls at this Uni. Whichever way you look at it the public desire for big boobs is a massive industry and only getting bigger with no apparent inclination to change anytime soon. However, I'm not sure that having a toned, healthy body or a boob job stops you being a real woman.
Written by Lucy Challis