I can’t believe I still hear this buzz term being thrown around. I find it a little disheartening that so many women still don’t see the problem with it. I understand the sentiment, but saying that there is a “real woman” means that there is also a woman who isn’t real. Who, then, is this fake woman parading around acting like she is “real”?
I get that it’s about women’s bodies, but that’s even more reason not to use the term “real”. For a long time women who didn’t look like 16 year old supermodels have been made to feel inadequate. Women have been held up to a standard that is impossible to reach. But those slender 16 year olds are still women, and they didn’t make the choice to look the way they do. What about the 16 year old girl who could be a model but doesn’t want to be? The skinny teen girl who likes wearing baggy t‐shirts and shorts and stick her nose in a book? Are we telling her she’s not “real” because she happens to look like the current female ideal?
What about Trans Women? When we say “real women” what are we saying about trans women? When we live in a world were some women were not biologically born as women. So is the term “real” even appropriate anymore? Real seems to denote that a woman has certain qualities (curves, blemishes, small breasts, female reproductive organs) while “fake” women have other qualities (no curves, no pores, no body hair).
So I don’t draw “real women”, but I do draw women with vastly different body types, backgrounds and gender identities. I love strong, complex, female characters. I want to see more of these characters represented in stories. But I won’t empower some women, by disempowering others.