What real women look like


By Nancy Wylde

The ongoing debate continues over body image – especially women’s body image and what real women look like.

In February’s issue of Marie Claire magazine, Australian  Jennifer Hawkins ( Miss Universe 2004) posed naked to ‘bare all her flaws’  – (meaning no air brushing or retouching)  in the hope to show women as they really are.

Jennifer mentioned that posing naked for the cameras without any retouching or airbrushing gave her a sense of empowerment.  Courageous and bold as Miss Hawkins was, her body image still sent waves of controversy about what ‘real’ women look like.  In fact it was received as a statement of what ‘real supermodels’ look like.

In fact breakfast radio host and TV presenter Bianca Dye who had posed naked for Madison magazine in their November edition in 2009 ( curves and all) slammed the glossy fashion magazine Marie Claire for hailing Jennifer Hawkins as a ‘positive role model for body image’.

In another attack on Jennifer’s photos, former Australian Idol finalist and Young Diva Ricky Lee Coulter who is famous for being confident with her body posed for Woman’s Day to show  us  ‘how a real woman looks’.

Fact is that the average woman, the ‘real’ woman is anywhere between a 12-16.  Yet most of us ( women) who fit into this category are made to feel as if we are ‘overweight’.

So entrenched through television and magazines as well as conditioning since we were little girls that a size 10 is the ‘acceptable’ image for women that anything above a size 10 and we begin to look for fad diets to quickly lose the extra few kilos.

Such was the pressure of  ‘body image’  that a ten year old little girl whom I knew well from my teaching days began hiding her food under her bed and throwing away her school lunches as a result of her swimming coach suggesting she  losing weight to gain an extra few seconds on her time to maintain her title of champion.

Beauty pageants all over the world not only continue to seek out some of the world’s most beautiful women, but specifically women whose  ‘body image’  is  in keeping with that of a supermodel.

I for one would love to wake up in a world where a 40 year old woman, who has had 3 or 4 children, was eligible to enter such a contest, regardless of her shape or size and that the only criteria for entering the competition was that she was a woman.

If we are to have women represent ‘what real women look like’ we need to re-evaluate what the term ‘real woman’ means.

The average ‘real woman’ does not look like a supermodel.  Unless she has had cosmetic surgery she will no doubt have a little belly bulge, sagging breasts and lots of curves!

This does not make you ugly.  Glossy magazines and the media  make you feel ugly. 

How do we change this?

Support organisations and magazines that are attempting to change the ‘image of women’ and offer us a view of what ‘real women’ really do look like.

Nothing is more empowering for women than to begin to become pro-active in changing the way we are viewed.  There is no ‘perfect body image’.  That is a fact!

Social Bookmarking Service


Women and plastic surgery!

Did you know that 12 million people undergo plastic surgery each year and that 90%, yes 90% of them are women!!

This is a staggering figure and nothing could me more audible than these figures  to demonstrate  how women feel about their appearance.  The search for the elixir of youth, the anti-aging pill, creams and procedures to make them look ever more youthful than before continues to grow.

I am all in favor of looking at ones absolute best.  I’m the first person to do whatever it takes to ensure  I experience optimum health and I go to great lengths to care for my body and health.  With a nutritionist in the family, I have both a wealth of knowledge and the best advice.

However, what is it that drives women to look younger and younger to the point of plastic surgery?  And how much plastic surgery?

I believe there is an enormous amount of pressure for women to look consistently younger and younger and this is driving women of all ages towards some form of cosmetic surgery.

And what are the reasons?  What pressures are bringing this about? 

One of the pressures ( at least one that I am experiencing and have seen others experience) is that which comes from our workforce.  Older women are being replaced with younger women.  Do you know how many women do not disclose their ages on their CV?  And why are women feeling that they cannot disclose their ages?

For fear of not being selected for the job because of their ‘age’, because they would be deemed ‘too old’ for the job or gone past their ‘use by date’.  More and more women are working far longer than ever before in the history of time.  More women are still working full time well into their sixties.  However a ‘younger looking’  woman has the advantage over a woman who ‘looks her age’ ( if there is such a thing). 

Another pressure that seems to be driving women to cosmetic surgery is that of the need to  ‘keep her man interested in her’.  I have known countless women who have felt the need to have nip and tucks and all sorts of procedures ( painful as they can be) in their desperate attempt to  ‘ hold onto’ their man, or keep his interests in them alive.

This is sad indeed that women, or any woman for that matter feels that she would be loved less if she did not go under the knife for some cutting and pasting.  Fact is, if your man needs you to do this ‘for him’, to ‘make him happy’, then you may have to question your relationship.

I have seen many women on a first hand basis do just this.  Lift this or that, nip and tuck this and the other, endure a great deal of pain from several procedures all for the sake of ‘making the other one happy’ because he is dissatisfied with the hips that are too big, the thighs that are not the right size, the derriere that is too big, the breasts that are not large enough, the tummy that is not tight and the legs that are not long enough.

Remember these simple rules to finding lasting and real happiness:

  1. Self love is the greatest love of all. 
  2.  Finding lasting happiness is something that comes from within.
  3.  Loving and accepting of yourself is the first step to a ‘real relationship’ . 
  4.  You need to love the image you see in the mirror and when you do, so will others. 
  5.  If we look for imperfections we will certainly find them.
  6. Take care of your body to the best of your ability.
  7. Look for the beauty each day that you already have both inside and out!