Real Women have…Vaginas? And a lot of other parts, but not necessarily curves

I think this might be a controversial post, and trust me I’m a little nervous about writing it because I try not to be an intentionally controversial person. But since I’m writing a blog on being healthy mentally, physically, and emotionally, this is a topic I simply cannot beat around. It’s the term: Real Women.

The first time I ever heard this phrase was at age 11 when the movie Real Women Have Curves was blowing up. The implication of this phrase seems very clear. In order to be a real woman you have to be all badda-bing badda-boom in all the right places. However, the underbelly suggests something a little darker.

If you don’t have hips…you aren’t a woman.

If you don’t have  weight to throw around…you aren’t a woman.

If you don’t have large breasts…you aren’t a woman.

If you are thin…you aren’t a woman.

I think you get my point…This idea is further pushed by images of modern day models.

It’s true that in magazines you don’t see many people over a size eight, but that doesn’t mean every thin model photographed throws up, isn’t living a fulfilling eating life, or should be put down for not being born with T&A, and hips that Lucille Clifton would write poems about. Larger kids are often teased growing up. Guess what, thin kids are teased as well, and I’ve read articles of several models feeling like odd ducklings growing up. Telling someone to “go feed that girl a burger” is just as mean as telling someone “lay off the Twinkies.” The common ground between big women, average, women, and thin women is that they are all people and all susceptible to hurt feelings.

This idea of “Real Women” being bigger can also be detrimental to someone’s health. I’ve mentioned this before, but unfortunately as the obesity rate in our country rises, we move further and further away from knowing what a healthy person can look like. People who want to take control of their health and limit themselves to not eating junk food every day are commonly teased.  As a black woman, I’m fully aware of the term thick. There are many healthy (black, white, and in between) women who have thick thighs. I’d say the lovely actress Gabrielle Union fits into that bracket, and although I don’t’ know her living habits she appears to be in very good shape.

 

However, you get a lot of this too.

Photocredit: Lipstick Alley

Yes, your thighs are “thick”, but this probably isn’t healthy. A lot of the times when people glorify this term they are justifying what can be overweight, unhealthy body types, and this isn’t good either!

You can be on the “bigger” side and healthy. We all know this gem.

 

You can be a waif and healthy. Check out model Chanel Iman below.

Teen Vogue. Model: Chanel Iman

And just as there are larger, unhealthy people, there are those who are dangerously thin and unhealthy

The Late Isabelle Caro

It was hard for me to find a photo of a model I know (I don’t really follow modeling too intensely) that was actually dangerously thin. There are a lot of blatantly edited photos to make someone look anorexic when they really aren’t, but this is French model Isabelle Caro who died last year from a lifelong battle with anorexia. She did a modeling campaign to bring attention to anorexia in the modeling industry. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for encouraging digital artists to Photoshop as minimally as possible. And I think agencies that employ couture runway models (as these tend to be the most thin) should encourage healthier eating practices and not push girls to lose unhealthy amounts of weight. But we shouldn’t let one job market dictate how we  treat people who aren’t badda-bing badda-boom.

A term like this pits females against each other, when instead we should be working together to create positive change.  The phrase “
Real Women” alienates many women who aren’t curvy and can make them feel unworthy. Ironic, as isn’t that how people who use the phrase “Real Women” also feel in relationship to the magazine media? Instead we should think this way:

Real women have hips…of all sizes.

Real women have weight…that settles in genetically predisposed places.

Real women have breasts…of all shapes, sizes, and locations (perky, saggy, they’re all good.)

Real women are thin…and athletic, and pear shaped, and curvy, etc, etc.

Real Women…Aim to get to know their body better every single day and help take it to the most realistic, healthy place possible in a safe and supportive manner.

…So it doesn’t have the same ring to it, but I think it’s a mantra we should all start living by!

Peel Away

❤ Jocellyn

Ps: Here are some great places to check out for motivating female images.

Oxygen Magazine, Muscle & Fitness Hers, Fitness RX. Yup, they’re all body-building magazines! Modern day female body building is broken down into 3 categories. There’s figure, which is a bit more muscular, Fitness (tends to be made up of former dancers and gymnasts), and Bikini where the muscle tone is apparent but more subtle. These women work really hard for their bodies by exercising hard and smart and eating super well.

 

Blogger Ciara Gale. I follow this girl. You should follow this girl. She has great style, a killer work ethic, and a body that you should be envious of…for .2 seconds until you realize that she started out at ground zero too and you can achieve the same things!

Another place to look: duh, around you. Okay, here comes the sassy-Jocellyn: don’t always depend on media to please your every expectation. Look around you to see women and men of all shapes and sizes. There’s your best bet.

Rock That Body

Here’s the deal. I feel that I can sit here and comfortably talk about healthy diet without being hypocritical, but when it comes to exercise I don’t really have much jurisdiction. There are 3 schools of thought. One is people who are great at incorporating proper diet and exercise. There are people who invest a lot of time in their physical physique, but their diet is horrendous. And then there are people like me who put good things into their body, but don’t train the outside. I know I need to better balance this in my life, but at the same time I’m a firm believer that eating healthier is much better than destroying your inside with junk food. Tosca Reno, wife of Oxygen magazine creator Robert Kennedy, is well known for her series of Eat Clean books. She says your body is 10% genetics, 10% exercise, and 80% diet. Have you ever heard the phrase “abs are made in the kitchen”? That might be a reason why you don’t have a six pack, despite your best workout efforts. But one cannot forget that Oxygen is a magazine for women who are serious about lifting weights, so exercise is still paramount. Tosca’s body is a product of pure dedication and hard work; something we should all aim for.

Tosca Reno

                Right now the only physical activity I get stems from my Ashtanga & Vinyasa yoga practice. This has really built up my arms, but I view yoga as mental exercise, a way to let go of the ego, and a time where you can slow down. Ashtanga will definitely make you sweat, but the cardio benefits are very different from, say, going on a run. As a veteran wagon-faller-offer when it comes to running, I know not to bother with it. I wish I could run. I envy people in their shiny spandex beasting down the roads. My knees and shins just cannot take the stress, and no matter how carefully I approach the matter I always get injured. Thankfully this past summer I found BodyRock. Perhaps you’ve stumbled across the videos on YouTube. Body Rock is the brainchild of Zuzana &Freddy. Zuzana was formerly a porn star in Eastern Europe before Freddy married her and saved her from the profession. She is really the sweetest girl and it comes across in her videos. Zuzana is a great example of how you can really turn your life around. Though the videos do have a sexual aspect to them, if you look beyond that (and actually try the workouts) they are very demanding. I was put off at first, but if anyone is going to be sexy it should be this girl because her body is fierce.

About 2 months ago she and Freddy announced they would be splitting up, but still working as partners for the site. It’s all very sad, as they were such a great team. The site is going through some changes, but there are over 600 prior videos with Zuzana featured, and the new workouts are still top notch. The videos focus around HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) Training that uses body weight and some equipment.  The hosts will explain modifications for beginners or people who don’t have equipment. I’m never sure why I haven’t been able to stick with her workouts before, but when I do them I can see significant changes in my body. Yesterday they just started their 12 Days of Christmas Workout Series, and I’m going to jump in. If you are someone who isn’t used to working out please take things slowly and listen to your body. There is no pride in having sloppy form and injuring yourself!  Every day people are starting out on BodyRock and doing what they can to make it through the workouts, so you are not alone.

To stay true to myself and give you guys and idea of what I’m doing for the next week (maybe longer!) I’ll be documenting my workouts and what I eat in a day so you can see the variety and options.

Now Peel (and sweat) Away!

Jocellyn

PS:

Here are some other workout sites to check out.

The Tabata Protocol was developed by Izumi Tabata. It is based off of moderate bursts of energy with short rests. This helps burn fat as you are keeping your heart rate up.  Zuzana and other B.R hosts use the Gym Boss interval watch to keep track of their active and rest periods. It’s not too expensive, but you can also use these free websites.

http://www.beach-fitness.com/tabata/

http://tabata.sperker.de/#

 

Check out Blogilates if you are looking for something a little less high-impact. This chick seems so infectious. As of today I’m currently following her 90 day plan as well as Body Rocking a few times a week.

 

Bex Life is another YouTube workout sensation who is fit and healthy in order to set a good example for her kids. How awesome is that? She features new workouts every week and lots of yummy recipes. Many of them are great intro dishes to raw veganism.

 

Gain Fitness is a website I found on Stumble Upon a few weeks ago.  You let it know if you are working out at home or in the gym, how many minutes you have, and what areas you want to work. It’ll then spit out a workout for you with reps and sets. The home workouts don’t use any equipment, but feel free to supplement in weights if you have some.

 

Okay, I’ve given you plenty of resources. No excuses :-p