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Thursday, June 20
The Indiana Daily Student

Imaginary women

Let’s make one thing very clear, Dove soap. Every woman is a real woman.

As we move through our day, it seems that whatever ad campaign currently shouting at us on television or from a billboard that has anything to do with women, offers you one of two options.

A glossy model or a “real” woman.

To be perfectly frank, I’m sick of all of it. I also am of the firm belief that if you let advertisements seriously affect your happiness in any way, you might be suffering from a chronic need to care too much.

However, I can’t yet get behind the idea that women are either so skinny they’re impossible ideals, or real women because they get a stomach roll when they sit down.

It creates the need to be part of extremes, and it creates tension between women over an issue that is unimportant in the grand scheme of things.

On top of that, it creates an odd hierarchy of body images. For the majority of these campaigns, being a “real” woman is a good thing. It makes you better than the next girl. It is used as a qualifier, as a way to measure value.

That’s not how it should be.

Being a “real” woman should simply mean being someone possessed of a complete personhood, who has individual rights and needs, who is allowed to have her own opinions and maintain a life and lifestyle that suits her and makes her happy.

It should not be a method for one-upmanship.

This kind of advertising and way of thinking creates dangerous competition between women, and many get caught in the middle and saddled with eating disorders or dysphoria.

At this point, it seems like discussing this subject is like beating a dead horse. But for students, and female students especially, it is important to remind ourselves that as we become independent adults who pay for our own apartments and groceries, that the freshmen fifteen isn’t really that big of a deal.

We also need to remind ourselves that defining who we are by the size of our waistlines is an unproductive way to spend time.

Even though we don’t care to admit it or think about it, this is a vulnerable time for us.

This is a time when we are desperately trying to figure out our next step, and any idea can seem like a good idea the first time around, up to and including listening to campaigns that tell us to compete with other women for being the most “real.”

At the end of the day, if you’re happy, that’s real enough for me.

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