What does a “Real Woman” look like anyway?
Yesterday we wrapped our lookbook shoot for BODYPOP – my new high fashion, high intensity activewear line. We’re also a few days into our music video shoot before we wrap that too. Never have I ever produced anything of this caliber (I’m usually in front of the cam, not behind it) and I’ve been riding this HUGE learning curve. Tough stuff. However, I’m blessed that I’ve had talented friends and amazing people in the industry step in to help us out with valuable advice or work with us side by side. Everybody involved has brought their expertise to the table in order for us to make my original vision come to life.
It’s so cool literally turning your thoughts, your dreams, your ideas into reality. AH I can’t wait for you to see everything. Some of these designs literally were from my original sketchbook from college.
Now, I want to talk about something else.
Today I posted a picture with 2 lovely ladies who helped me model the collection.
Then it came. The barrage of commenters saying that they were “disappointed” that I didn’t use “real women” to model my line.
Real huh? Well…one is actually a Blogilates fan and the other is a friend from college. I can also assure you that I hugged both of them and they didn’t magically disappear into thin air. They were made up of molecules that constituted a legitimate female human being. They were in fact, real.
But now I am going to dig deeper. Because I know that what we are really talking about here isn’t the definition of the word “real” but the interpretation of what it means to be a “real woman” in today’s society.
Let’s take a look at this picture. Can you tell me which person you think looks most “real” to you?
Or shall I ask it like this: Which woman represents the “average American woman” best?
According to statistics, today’s average American woman is 5’4”, has a waist size of 34-35”, and weighs between 140-150 lbs with a dress size of 12-14. About 50 years ago, the average American woman was 5’3-4” with a waist of 24-25”, a weight of 120 lbs, and a size 8 dress size. I don’t even need to get into vanity sizing, but that size 8 from fifty years ago is not what a size 8 is today. It is actually a size 4. The US Department of Commerce dropped it’s uniform sizing system in 1983, so designers can do whatever they please in order to make women feel smaller and buy more clothes. So the takeaway here is that the average dress size fifty years ago was a size 4 and now it is a size 14.
Now that we’ve established that the average person has gotten bigger and heavier throughout the years (due to lack of movement, the increase of fast food, larger portion sizes etc.), we can talk on a level playing field. Are you mad that I didn’t choose to showcase models that represent our “average US woman” which really is a huge red flag that something needs to be done here? Today over 30% of the world is overweight or obese. That’s 2.1 BILLION people. There’s 7 billion people in the world.
Between 1980 t0 2013, rates of being overweight soared 28% in adults and 47% in children.
Guys, this is a real problem. Our next generation is going to be unhealthy, riddled with diseases, and immobile if we don’t do something about this now. First we need to take care of ourselves, but as we get older and have children of our own, we need to teach them how to make the best choices for themselves. YOU HAVE TO BE THE CHANGE. Show them that veggies are yummy and that playing outside is better than video games and being stuck on your computer. Kids don’t grow up wanting mac ‘n cheese and soda. Someone feeds it to them. I’m not 100% blaming the parents because I know that the media and the food industry has a lot to do with marketing these sugar-laden things to our kids. They don’t want to see sales go down, so they will do whatever they can to continue mesmerizing us into buying their products.
You guys all know that I am a huge advocate of loving your body and reaching your best potential regardless of your shape, size, color, background etc. It has nothing to do with how small your waist is or how big the distance between your thighs are. It has nothing to do with how you look. It has everything to do with who you are.
You, I, Monique and Alyssa – we are ALL real women.
We all strive to represent fit, active, healthy people who work hard to look the way we do and feel the way we do. Let me make this clear too: We are not here to represent the “average woman”. Nope. Because I don’t want to be average. I want to be the best version of myself and I hope that you want to be the A+ version of yourself too.
[edit 3:59AM] In the above paragraph, I just want to clarify that I didn’t mean I don’t want to ever show size 14 women. I mean in a motivational sense, I want to showcase women who are strong, beautiful, and unstoppable. Women who go beyond average and push their own boundaries regardless their size. The use of the word “average” swaps a little in that paragraph.
The reason why Blogilates even exists is because I want to ignite the strength, the power, and the beauty that every woman has within. Together, we are all here to inspire everybody to get up, get fit, and have fun while doing it.
So let me get back to Monique and Alyssa. My girls aren’t photoshopped to create a look that is unattainable and they aren’t starving themselves or practicing unhealthy and dangerous habits to get their bodies. (Trust me, we ate lunch together and they finished the whole thing.) I don’t want to have to defend them but when people are putting down my friends, it’s not okay. Ever. They are human, they have emotions, and they probably read those comments too.
Everyone has a talent to share with the world. Your job is to find it and WORK IT. Turn that talent into your career…your passion…your contribution to the world.
Monique and Alyssa are models. It is their career and my goodness, they are killin’ it. I am so proud of them and so happy to know them. Monique was on America’s Next Top Model, walks runways internationally and Alyssa is getting her Masters right now in Education.
The other part of the argument is that y’all wanted to see more body types. I TOTALLY get that. For this shoot though, I was not able to financially afford many models other than the two (just so you know from a business standpoint how decisions were made). You want women with big boobs, short legs, long torsos, broad shoulders, huge bubble butts? You want to feel like you can relate. You want to see that anyone can be a fashion model, not just tall, thin types. I hear you loud and strong. When this line debuts, I want you guys to help me send the message across social media that ANYONE can wear BODYPOP as long as you’re exuding confidence in yourself and you’re treating your body right. I’ll come up with a hashtag, maybe something like #everyBODYPOP or #BODYPOPreal…or how about you help me come up with something cool actually!!?? It takes more than one to make this change. Let’s do it together.
As you read at the beginning of my post, you now know that we wrapped the photoshoot but we haven’t wrapped the video shoot yet. The girls that we are working together with to create the music video can do crazy things with their bodies that literally freeze me with amazement every time I watch them.
Trust me, I’m gonna show you what real women can do. They are powerful, beautiful, and UNSTOPPABLE.
This is what Blogilates and my new activewear line, BODYPOP, is here to inspire. So I hope you come along for the journey and help us all be the next agent of change in the world.
References for Statistics: