We Are Women. We Are Beautiful. We Are Real. (Part One)

When you hear the words “real women” what is your first thought?

Does your mind differentiate between women that are particularly thin?  Heavy?  Curvy?  Straight?  Are some real and others… not?

Media outlets, in all their various forms, seem determined to separate women into “real” and “unreal” camps.  Us versus them.  You versus me.  Most of this differentiation is focused on our body shapes, with “curves” somehow getting top-billing.  Now, I adore Christina Hendricks with all my heart, but she is no more real than Liu Wen.   Neither woman should be defined by her size, shape or color.  None of those make someone “real” and someone else, what… a figment of our imaginations?  An alien?  A mannequin? A Barbie doll?  Better yet – a Cabbage Patch doll?

I don’t know about you, but ALL the women I know are REAL women.

Yes, we come in different shapes, sizes and colors but these are not the things that define us.  We are so much more than that.

I’ve touched on this topic myself in various forms on the blog before, but a few weeks ago I decided to reach out to my fellow bloggers and see what they had to say.

  • What does being a women mean to them?
  • What do they think of when they hear the words “real women.”

I was amazed and overwhelmed by the positive response to my request and am proud to present Part One of a Two Part series.

Please enjoy these wonderfully moving words of wisdom from the beautiful and real women below!


From a young age, being a woman has been a loaded gun – it meant being put on diets in elementary school to realizing how much power my confidence and sexuality had in undergrad.  There’s an incredible power to being a woman and I think that’s why society tries in every way to make us powerless.  From telling us how we need to look, what we should weigh, what kind of households we “should” have, and how to balance beauty and intelligence – because god forbid in 2011 we’re both.

Sadly, I feel like most women aren’t in a position to receive messages and education on empowerment – and in a blogosphere of outspoken and passionate women, that’s incredibly easy to forget.  When I think about the women I work with, there’s often too much on their daily plates to really THINK about how they’re treating other women or themselves.  They’re too busy trying to get meals cooked, work full-time, get the kids from soccer practice, finish their homework, get good grades, fall in love or stay in love.  In many ways, it’s the biggest way the feminist movement has damned us – it put us in a position of needing to do it all now, and, in the process, providing us with so much that we neglect to think about how we interact and treat our fellow sisters.

The only way to empower all women is through how we act.  Be kind. Share compliments. Offer hugs and support. Work to break stereotypes and celebrate the choices women make in all aspects of life, because we have the ability to make a choice.

Written by: Ashe Mischief | Dramatis Personae | @ashemischief


A “real” woman is a state of mind.  For me a “real” woman is someone who is comfortable in their own skin.  They dress for themselves, not for the approval or attentions of others. A “real” woman doesn’t let society dictate arbitrary or outmoded definitions of femininity – to be a “real woman” means knowing yourself enough as a woman to express yourself in real time, your real life.

Written by: Bella Q | the Citizen Rosebud | @citizenrosebudz




It took me a long time to finally accept my body type; my fuller figure, my bigger build.  I’m still working on being happy and confident in my own shape, but acceptance is a powerful first step. I’ve found that it can really change your perspective and make those other goals seem a little less far away.  So often I feel that the media tells us we ought to look like something we’re not, that we should be constantly striving for something else.  It doesn’t make much sense in the long run.

The phrase “Look like a model” doesn’t make much sense either when you consider that the word “model” means a copy or representation.  For women who work as models the word defines their job, not their body type, not the circumference of their waist or the length of their legs.  We women don’t serve as a representation of anything but our own individual beauty.  No woman is a facsimile and I think it’s high time the rest of the world accepted that.  Acceptance really is a powerful first step, and it does lead to some pretty extraordinary change.

Written by: Casee Marie | The Girl Who Stole the Eiffel Tower | @CaseeMarie


We are women, real and amazing.  We are mothers, daughters, friends and lovers.  We are also so much more.  Each one of us is strong, beautiful and uniquely perfect.  We come in all sizes, shapes, colors, backgrounds and personalities.  This should be celebrated.  These beautiful differences add to our allure, our mystery.  There are so many truly wonderful things about being a woman.  We are exquisite.  We have more power and strength than many of us realize.  And unfortunately, many of us undervalue ourselves.  I wish we could all see the beauty within each one of us.  We are superheroes after all.  Seriously, many of us give birth to new life and sometimes, multiple times!  How many men can do that?  So today is the day we look ourselves in the eye (via mirrors, of course) and promise to value ourselves and see the beauty within.  We are beautiful.

Written by: Catherine Swanson | My StyleLife Philosophy | @StyleLifeCS


Real women are not defined by a body shape, race, culture, religion or appearance.  Real women are defined by the heart.  We have a soul that cannot be denied, and a mind all our own.  We can come in many shapes, sizes, orientations and personalities – our common threads may differ from person to person.

For me being a woman means I strive to remain strong, to be confident, to own who I am and not let others control me – I just want to be the best me I can be.  I don’t strive for perfection, that unattainable goal, I just want to stay true to all I hold dear.  To me a woman is just one of two genders – we’re women because we’re not men – we were created differently and uniquely.  What’s more important to me than being labeled as real or not is if I know who I am no matter what others perceive me to be.  We are often misconstrued as things we’re not in today’s society and to me the ultimate goal is to maintain integrity and identity all my own.  We can have scars and flaws and that’s not a bad thing – it’s things to embrace as what we were born with or what happened to us in our life stories.  Being a woman was not a choice we made, it’s an opportunity we were given.  Gender is not a burden, and boundaries aren’t impossible to cross.

Included here is a picture of my arm (completely unretouched, not an edit made) and it shows something I’ve had since birth, just like my gender – my birth mark.

Written by: Elle | Elle Enchanted | @ElleEnchantment


For a lot of fashion magazines it would seem that “real women” are those women with curves.  Sure, they are real, just as real as the models that are more often than not featured in these magazines and on the catwalks at fashion week and just as real, again, as those of us who find themselves in the in-between size range – somewhere between the models and the plus-sized women who are deemed somehow more “real”.

I wish that when a fashion magazine featured “real women” it would include ALL types of women.  Women from size 2 to size 20 are real because they exist – I just wish we could celebrate every size of woman rather than holding one up as “better” than another.  Whatever shape or size, every woman has the potential to be truly beautiful and the right to be celebrated.

Written by: Emily aka Shopgirl | Sugar and Spice | @sugarandspiceSG




Only recently did I begin to enjoy and feel blessed that I am a woman.  I love that I can wear a dress, I can wear make up if I want to, I can wear tons of jewelry or nothing at all, and still feel beautiful. I am beautiful because of the curves of my body, the way my mind thinks, there’s just so much more.  You can compare the way I see being a woman to many pieces of artwork, Botticelli, Cezanne, Vermeer.  All of these artists portray such beauty in the female figure.  It is amazing to be able to embody that beauty and feel like a piece of artwork, whether I am in sweat pants, a gown, or jeans and a t-shirt.

Every woman is a “real” woman, whether she is skinny or fat.  Every woman is beautiful in her own wonderful way. I am so happy that I get to be a part of that.  Even though that means cramps, menstruation, clothing fitting issues, whatever it may be.

Written by: Kirstin Marie | Kirstin Marie | @kirstinfoley


The term “real women” is yet another way for society to divide us, to make us doubt our worth, and turn on one another.  Well I have news for you: we are all real women, regardless of age, race, height, weight, size etc!

Embrace your womanhood, and wear it with pride no matter what society says!

Written by: LaCara | Oh La La Curves | @LaCara91








As I approach the big 3-0, I’m learning what it truly means to be a woman.  I’m learning that confidence, courage, sexiness, the ability to love, and the strength to persevere isn’t found in the things outside of me.  It’s not in a pair of shoes, the perfect job, the perfect figure, or even in my husband.  I spent my teens and 20’s chasing all that until I realized they all have been inside of me all this time!

So being a woman to me is learning how to celebrate yourself, be brave enough to go after what makes you happy, and forgiving yourself when you stumble along the way!

Written by: MJ | FIERCE | @MJ_Beauty


To me, ‘real women’ should mean women as they are, women that haven’t been airbrushed within an inch of their lives.  It shouldn’t be – but all too often is – used to be disparaging about other women as a way of making ourselves feel better. Women’s egos can be far too fragile in this regard because of the effect of the media; if this were a conspiracy it’d be an incredibly effective ‘divide and conquer’ tactic.

As part of my local feminist group I helped sticker public bathrooms with positive messages for women, eg “ignore what the media says – YOU are beautiful!”  I don’t always feel happy with how I look, but I keep telling myself that ‘I’m beautiful as I am’.  Some day I’d like to go beyond this and think, “I don’t need to be beautiful to feel good about myself.”

Written by: Mrs B | Mrs Bossa Does the Do | @mrsbossa


When I was asked about my thoughts on being a woman, I suddenly felt very uncomfortable.  Not because I don’t consider myself as one.  But I feel the same way about boldly stating in print ‘I am a real woman’ as when football or royal weddings come up and I want to buy some innocent patriotic paper cups: will people know I’m doing this out of bonhomie and fellowship, not hatred?  Will they know I actively fight racism as part of my day job?  I start to apologise and fumble. It only takes a few – often filled with righteous indignation – to ruin a word or an image for everyone.

I am a small woman: height and waist size, I’m petite.  I also happen to have a large bust, which seems to have saved me in the past from hurtful ‘give her a sandwich’ comments.   I have not been so lucky with ageism. It seems it is not offensive to ask a woman her age if you think she’s too young to be taken seriously.   I know (and I am not showing off, this has affected employability in the past) I look about 10 years younger than my real age.  Like being slim, on the surface it’s a boon: not when the ignorant use it to base assumptions on.  I have big eyes and a babyface: but I’m not a little girl and this isn’t an indicator of some luxury-filled soft life.  If you think it is, try doing my job for a day: it’s not one for little girls (nor little boys).  I am a real person, just as you are a real person.  I am a real woman because of my gender – but the real part of that phrase has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with the size of my brassière, my weight or my skincare regime.  It’s to do with maturity and integrity: something that those who mis-use the phrase to hate lack.

Written by: Perdita | Perdita’s Pursuits | @PerditasPursuit


Being a woman in this society is more empowering than ever before.

Written by: Stephanie | The Loudmouth Lifestyle | @THELOUDERMOUTH


I used to hate my widow’s peak and my nose.  I always thought my hips were too wide and my thighs too muscular.  Then I realized all the things I disliked about myself were the things that made me unique and special.  No one else looks like me, no one else has my figure or my features, and that’s what makes me a real woman.  None of this “I have curves so I’m a real woman” crap from me.  But I am a real woman because I accept myself, my flaws and my body as it is, and embrace all of it.

This acceptance of myself, and the world around me, is what makes me a real woman.

Written by: Suze | Miss Vinyl Ahoy | @RedHeaded





I am an intelligent, intuitive and an interesting person.  I love life in spite of all its ups and downs.  I can endure all the pain in the world and still smile.  I have an ability to find positive in everything and think straight regardless of the complications.  I believe in raising the bar and not following the beaten path.   I am not ashamed to admit when I am wrong, nor am I ‘unnecessarily’ modest. I believe, neither my struggles nor my achievements define me.  Neither does my size, skin color, caste or religion.  But what does define me as a woman is my compassion, care and honesty! I am on a life-long journey to be the best version of myself.  Hence, I am a real woman.

Written by: Tanvi | The Fabulous Life of Not-So-Rich and Infamous | @Tanvii



There you have it.

14 different women.

14 different answers.

1 common theme.

We are ALL women.  We are ALL beautiful.  We are ALL real.

Click here if you would like to read Part Two of this series!

{ 44 comments… add one }

Leave a Comment

  • Katie Berger November 24, 2011, 11:05 AM

    What a doctor said when you were born doesn’t make you a real woman either! Womanhood is who you are in your soul.

  • Pat Buss August 7, 2011, 2:00 PM

    I have been told by some one I really care for that I am heavy. Is that really a friend?
    I was always told you love a person for who they are………I feel like a real woman.
    Please reply

  • sd July 13, 2011, 3:09 AM

    Let’s not forget the suffering of our foremothers in their struggle to give us freedom.

  • Debra Saad July 11, 2011, 3:45 AM

    Ladies are really beautiful inside and even out…No matter what it is, they are still beautiful…

  • Angela July 9, 2011, 1:11 AM

    Wonderful article. I love seeing the different women’s points of view on what it means to be a women. I particularly identify with Perdita in that I look a lot younger than I am and as a result people often don’t take me seriously. Congrats on being selected for Links a la Mode this week!

  • Tracy F. Presley July 7, 2011, 9:43 PM

    We are women, we are beautiful…We are who we are…

  • Christina July 7, 2011, 12:16 PM

    Amazing post. So true and thank you for being so vocal about this.

  • Suze July 6, 2011, 10:12 PM

    I am late to the commenting game (that what crazy work hours, getting stuck at an airport and vacation will do to you!). I am so honored to be listed among these amazing other women. I think it’s truly amazing that we all gave different answers. That pretty much sums it up- not one specific thing can tell you what it’s like to be a “real” woman. We are all different, and you know what? That’s ok! It’s what makes the world more fun. No one wants to be the same as everyone else!

  • Amy Harman July 6, 2011, 1:24 PM

    I love this post! It demonstrates the diversity of real women. And all women are real women! More than the comments, I love seeing the pics of all the women expressing themselves. Great work!

  • Bettie J. Brown July 5, 2011, 8:26 PM

    We are beautiful, I agree to that!!Ladies, no matter who and what we are, we are exceptionally beautiful…

  • Kyla July 4, 2011, 12:26 AM

    I love this post!!! Probably because I, too, am a real woman. I don’t look or think or feel or live like anyone else on this planet, and no will EVER be just like me. That’s such an empowering statement. Thank you so much for reminding me!

    And I adored the ladies comments. They were beautiful and so different in their thinking. It really made your point.

    Have a great day everyone! And feel proud of who and what you are!

  • Trish Jones July 1, 2011, 1:42 AM

    I agree that we are beautiful and intelligent…Women are very powerful too…No matter what they do and no matter what they say, we are who we are!!We are gorgeous than ever…

  • For Those About To Shop June 30, 2011, 2:05 PM

    I love the Kristen Marie put a photo of herself eating pizza. That’s real! I also love what Ashe said about our being powerful as the reason society tries to take away our power. It’s always been that way. I’ve begun to look at my body in a different way this last year and it has everything to do with choosing to be celibate. I don’t objectify myself anymore and am in awe of my body for the fact it could grow and birth two children and all the other amazing things it can do. My 11-year-old plays soccer and when she hoofs the ball hard her coach says “Good Leg!” That should be the meaning of having good legs. When I told her that she shared that in horseback riding “Good Seat” means you had a great ride. Our butts and legs should be admired for those kinds of achievements, not how visually appealing they are to men. Our bodies are not objects. If I can do anything in this lifetime it’s to change that mindset even a little bit.

  • shooting star June 30, 2011, 11:04 AM

    a good read and very interesting to read so many women’s perspectives!!!

  • Fabienne Jach June 30, 2011, 2:46 AM

    Wow, I’m so moved by this post. I want every female friend to read this, I want all women to read this, actually! It’s powerful and beautiful to hear what these wonderful ladies have to say. Thank you for making this happen.
    xoxo, f
    The House in the Clouds

  • Mode Plus June 30, 2011, 1:30 AM

    What a beautiful post and all these women/girls sharing. I absolutely love this. We must keep giving our counter voice to the what society/media is labeling us to be. Let’s free ourselves than free each other.

  • Johanna June 30, 2011, 12:54 AM

    I think you have a great point of view. In my blog I had a article about why media and the stores wants to divide the women. Even Queen Latifah said she wants to ditch the term “plus”. She said women comes in sizes, just numbers. Interesting! Great job girl!!

  • Kara June 29, 2011, 4:44 PM

    So many great points brought up here. We’re all ‘real’ no matter what!

  • Perdita June 29, 2011, 4:00 PM

    How humbling and gratifying to be placed alongside these excellent human beings! All real, all women, all looking fab, all talking sense. Kudos.

  • Metsy June 29, 2011, 3:15 PM

    Wonderful to read their words of wisdom, but also to see their photos. 🙂 Makes me realize that I need to give myself a break more often and not try to be perfect in everything I do. I’m worn out and I bet a lot of the blame lies with me. :/

  • birdie June 29, 2011, 2:05 PM

    Love this. I have ALWAYS hated that “real” vs “unreal” stigmata. All it does… all it’s ever done, is pitted us against each other, just like “skinny” vs “curvy”. Just like “feminist” vs “feminine”.

    You’ve got to wonder why society continues to propagate these black and white categories that we’re supposed to fit into, that continually pit us against each other. It’s not like this for guys, is it?

    And what do we get for it? Campaigns with “real” women. Gals body-bashing Crystal Renn as she loses or gains weight. Girls who snark at each others’ outfits, trod on each others’ beliefs. Bash each others’ boyfriends and friends. All because “I’m a woman. Isn’t that what I’m supposed to do?”

  • Fajr | Stylish Thought June 29, 2011, 1:49 PM

    This is truly brilliant and can’t say enough how diverse women truly are! We are always put into these boxes o what truly defines a woman, but no one but a woman herself can define herself. This speaks to one of my favorite quotes by Audre Lorde

    “If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.”

    Kudos on such an amazing post with amazing thoughts and amazingly real women!

  • Jenmarie June 29, 2011, 1:47 PM

    This post is so up-lifting! Thank you for putting it together!

  • Tanvi June 29, 2011, 1:06 PM

    I will have to re-read this post several times. Today seems like a good day though … One harsh comment can sting for a while and then I get t read what all the fabulous women have to say and realize it is not that big a deal after all.

    Great concept, B! And Thanks for having me here in your space again! 🙂

    ♡ from © tanvii.com

  • fuyume June 29, 2011, 12:52 PM

    This post is beautiful, amazing and heart warming. i hate the phrase real women as ive often been told im not a ‘real woman’ so this post deeply resonated with me. we’re all real and its loely that this post reinforced that point xx

  • Shybiker June 29, 2011, 12:47 PM

    Great idea for a post and terrific answers from these smart women. Lots to reflect on here.

  • FASHION TALES June 29, 2011, 12:08 PM

    I really loved this inspiring post, and most enjoyed reading everyone’s interpretation. I agree with all of this from loving your flaws as Suze stated, & “raising the bar & not following the beaten path,” as Tanvii said to being comfortable in your own skin as Bella shared – to mention a few. All of these above are true.

    I feel a “real” woman looks in the mirror knowing her ability to walk in her style confidently, she doesn’t let anyone who might have a strong opinion on her style inhibit her from wearing “her style.” She may even be a woman of many layers, yet she knows exactly who she truly is. Excellent post B! 🙂

  • MJ June 29, 2011, 11:42 AM

    Just what I needed to read this morning! I absolutely loved this! I thought the idea behind this post was brilliant and absolutely needed, because real women are all women! Too many times we find ourselves apologizing for what we are instead of celebrating who we are! We were chosen to bring life into the world! That alone is a feat in itself and makes us powerful! I agree with Casee Marie that the media can tend to make us powerless but they can only do that if we let it!

    I am soo humbled to be included with these amazing ladies!

  • Katy June 29, 2011, 11:32 AM

    B – Thanks for sharing this and getting 14 other stunning women to share their thoughts too. I am so sick of the labels and the roles we and others seem to put us into. Not one of us can be defined by a single phrase or terminology. We are unique, strong, graceful, beautiful – all in our own ways. – Katy

  • Casee Marie June 29, 2011, 10:47 AM

    This turned out to be absolutely amazing – and how could it be anything else, with such fabulous women sharing their admirable insights? I feel like my bit went somewhat off the topic, I never even used the word “real”. Oh well, it was only one in a sea of truly inspirational writings and I’m thrilled I was able to be a part of the end result! Thanks again for embarking on this, B. I’ll be coming back to it whenever I’m feeling un-real to remind me what “real women” really think. And I can’t wait for part two!

  • Bella Q June 29, 2011, 10:43 AM

    I haven’t had my coffee yet so my words are sticky in my head like white rice. That said, this is such a powerful and empowering post- so wonderful to see such a great variety of responses on what it’s like to be a real woman. I’m honored to see my image and words amongst such wonderful spirits- so many of them I read moved me- so many endeared me even more- Ashe, Mrs Bossa, Miss Vinyl Ahoy!, Casee Marie to quickly name some, just pulled me closer to them by their powerful sentiments put in words. I’m coming back to write a more thoughtful response and of course to read the comments- sometimes the best part. GREAT POST, B!

  • Ashe @ Dramatis Personae June 29, 2011, 10:07 AM

    This was such an inspiring post to read first thing in the morning. Bella, Casee, LaCara and Mrs. Bossa especially resonated in me… and the Loudmouth! I love how succinct and powerful her statement was.

    Thank you so much for including me, and I can’t wait to read part 2.

  • Rocquelle June 29, 2011, 9:58 AM

    This is AWESOME!! There are no words to explain how wonderful I think this post is!!! We are ALL real women, and once we realize this the, we will all be so much more powerful individually and as a whole!!

  • Dana June 29, 2011, 9:45 AM

    This is awesome. I think it’s interesting that “real women” has turned to somehow mean “curvy” or “big” women. To me it has always been the difference between what the media portrays as the “perfect woman” (with size, shape, and attitude) and what makes me, well, me. What makes me unquie is what makes me real, and the media does a poor job of portraying that about celebrities and models, making what you see a bit of a farce. Either way, I love this article. Bravo.

  • Joanne Faith June 29, 2011, 9:39 AM

    I do love this. It is hard to get swept away in the ‘real vs not’ debacle… it’s a bit funny like that. If you were to ask me what I thought of ‘real women’ I would say… it should just be about being you & being happy being you. :> Real is day to day living… and just that. Ironically it’s not always what we put on our blogs, or even online but without being a fly on a wall it’s almost impossible to capture.

  • Emily June 29, 2011, 9:30 AM

    Thank you so much for including me!!!!! These are such inspirational women and I feel honoured to be included 🙂

  • SACRAMENTO June 29, 2011, 9:12 AM

    Thank you for a fantastic post.

  • YvonnaLivianna June 29, 2011, 9:10 AM

    This is a post after my heart! I love this, I agree we are all fabulous and have something to bring the world’s table. Great GREAT POST!


  • LaCara June 29, 2011, 7:29 AM

    This is such an inspirational post, and I’m so glad I was able to be apart of it!! These beautiful women have truly inspired me, and has brightened my day!!

  • A Brit Greek June 29, 2011, 4:34 AM

    I absolutely loved this post and the words written by each woman. Beautiful post.

    As i looked at the title, before i read the rest of the post, I thought, how can one possibly define a ‘real woman’ when ALL of us are Real Women. We should all embrace & celebrate who we are.

  • THE-LOUDMOUTH June 29, 2011, 4:31 AM

    Well, for being The Loudmouth, I’m a woman of little words.

    But I can tell you, I’m proud to be a woman. And I’m proud to be amongst these women.

    I love that all women are different. If we were all like me, well… I’d be super annoyed.

    And can I just say that Kirstin’s photo is super cute with the pizza!?

  • Alexis of NorthOnHarper June 29, 2011, 4:16 AM

    Ahhh…. I love this post so much. And I keep kicking myself for missing the deadline!! (Esp since my photo and comment were good to go, I just forgot to email it in time!!!!)

  • Courtney June 29, 2011, 12:09 AM

    “So being a woman to me is learning how to celebrate yourself, be brave enough to go after what makes you happy, and forgiving yourself when you stumble along the way!”

    It’s women like MJ who make me excited about getting older!

    This is a truly fantastic post. I think we all needed it.

    The controversy over what’s real and what’s not has had me thinking for years. When I first saw the film *REAL*Women Have Curves in college, I looked at myself and thought, “Well I don’t have curves like America. Am I still a ‘real’ woman?” It’s an awful feeling to be put in that corner. I don’t think any woman should be made to feel less than for having or not having something.

  • MJ June 29, 2011, 11:45 AM

    Thank so much Courtney!! That’s means so much!! 🙂