I’d like to take a little break from this blog’s usual program of fashion and textile history, New Zealandia, cats and pretty pictures to talk about something really important to me.
I have a pet peeve. I hate it when I hear the terms “real women” and “real bodies” used, when what they mean is “women with a larger width to height proportion.”
Actually, it’s more than a peeve, and I don’t just hate it. I find it mean, and hurtful, and incredibly rude and ignorant, especially since it is often used by people who are trying to celebrate women’s bodies. I read that phrase recently in an interview with a New Zealand woman who is trying to improve women’s body image. She said that she wanted to show “curvy women, women like me, real women” that they were beautiful. I just sat down and cried my eyes out.
Who are you to say that I’m not a real woman, with a real body, just because I am a true size 10 with a slightly less than average bust? My body is just as worthy of celebration as all of the curvy bodies the phrase usually refers too!
My body is 100% natural. It’s the product of genes, a decent diet, and a bit of exercise. I’ve never had anything added or padded or cut off (well, except for that mole the skin doctor was a little worried about). I haven’t starved myself or exercised fanatically or stuffed myself with chocolate for this body. It just happened.
Mostly it happened because of my genes. I have plenty of friends who eat similar diets, and have similar exercise patterns, and are shaped completely differently to me. And I think their bodies are beautiful. But my genetic heritage gave me a bit of extra height and medium bones and a small bust and a big ribcage and a great bootie and substantial thighs and not a lot of extra flesh elsewhere. And that has to be beautiful too.
Women with tiny, dainty bones, and tiny, dainty amounts of flesh on them, are beautiful, and real. Women with spectacular busts and hips to match are beautiful, and real. Women who can eat anything they want and still put on no weight are beautiful, and real. Women with tiny ribcages, and generous hips, and dimpled elbows are beautiful, and real. Women with stocky, muscled torsos and sturdy arms and legs are beautiful, and real. We’re all beautiful, and we’re all real.
As long as you are eating a decent diet, and getting a decent amount of exercise, and aren’t ill, you are going to have a normal, beautiful, real body.
Celebrate it! And celebrate other women’s bodies, whether they be slender or sonsy, pear-shaped or petite, broad, busty, buxom, or bony. We’re all beautiful, and we’re all real.
It’s really important that we celebrate all of our bodies, because most of us will have insecurities about our bodies.
I know I do.
I also know, rationally and objectively, that by the fashionable standards of 2011 I have a ‘good’ body. It’s easy to shop for. It very close to the proportions of my dressform. It’s not model proportions by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s reasonably close to the 21st century ‘ideal’.
That doesn’t change the fact that irrationally, and unobjectively, I have body issues. I’m not happy with every thing about myself. I prefer not to expose some parts of my body in public. I only drop the towel just before I step in the water. And I know I’m not the only one. I’ve talked to dozens of women whose bodies I’ve admired and envied, and every one of them is self-conscious about her body, and most of them were as astonished as I was to discover that the other also worried about her body.
The media is hugely responsible for our insecurities, but in some ways it’s getting better, and helping. There has been a lot of attention focused on curvier figures and more irregular figures, with countless blogs and magazines celebrating them.
In a strange way, that has made it harder for me. I don’t have the body these blogs and magazines are lauding. And when I see them called ‘real bodies’ or read articles about clothes for ‘real women’, the sense of rejection is acute.
Am I not ‘real’? Stuck in a no-mans land of less-than-fashion-ideal, but not quite genuinely-womanly? Rejecting all the bodies that don’t fit into these two categories is just as unfair and cruel as asking all of us to be shaped like models.
Instead I’d like all of our bodies to be celebrated, and admired, for what they are. Bodies of every shape. Normal bodies. Real bodies. Bodies that show that there is not one real, or normal, but a whole range of shapes that make clothes and fashion so interesting, and exciting.
For every body, no matter its shape, there is a cut and style that makes it look fabulous, and a culture and historical period that celebrated that body as beautiful, as ideal.
My privilege as a historic costumer is to study all these periods, and to put models with a whole range of shapes into clothes that were made to highlight just their shape, to show just how fabulous it is. I want my models to feel fabulous in a historical context, and to go away knowing that they can be just as fabulous in modern life, because their body is beautiful, and real.
And whatever shape their body is, whatever shape my body is, that’s a wonderful thing.
I never comment on your post, but I wanted to comment on this one.
I feel the same. I have a body a lot of people would like to have, but I’ve always been very conscious about being so skinny and having quite small boobs. Over the years I have ‘learned’ to just be happy with my body, and I am very much at peace with how I look now.
But whenever I see something about those “real women, with real curves” I also wonder… and what about me?
I realise they react against all the “perfectly skin model bodies” always shown… but instead of reacting by showing women with a lot of curve, I’d appreciate it too if they’d just show real women in every size and shape.
Glad you posted this!
poor western girls.
i lived my first 20years in the GDR without highglazed fashion- & teenagermags. we used to hang out on beaches naked (i still do). beauty was more the expression of a person, not only the “bodyimage”. i´m not careless about my body, but a lot more laidback then my friends from “western germany”. as a mature woman i say to you: dont cry over stupid mediathemes, only there for making money in some ways. you got a “dreamy” husband, have a great profession, live in a nice corner of the world. and you have all the things on hand to celebrate your individuell body – because you´re a seamstress!
The only quibble I have with this that unhealthy women can have beautiful bodies too. I don’t think you meant to imply otherwise, but I know tons of lovely disabled and/or chronically ill women.
As far as I’m concerned, if someone says they’re a woman, they’re a real woman, regardless of anything else.
Oh dear! I’m so sorry, that was not my intent! I would certainly agree that disabled and chronically ill women have real, and beautiful bodies, and are definitely real women.
When I wrote that phrase I was thinking of the feeling (which I know from firsthand experience) of being very ill and having the illness change your body and feeling that your new shape is alien and abnormal, and rejecting it as ‘yours’ because it represents an unhealthy you, and a state where your body is literally attacking itself. I was really lucky in that my experience only lasted a few months, but the memory of my body not being ‘me’ has stuck with me.
Cool, I assumed that was the case. You certainly don’t seem like the kind of person to think people with disabilities are less than.
Thank you! As a person who is petite-sized by nature and who often has to confront the “you must never eat!” comments by others, I often feel people think it is perfectly fine to insult anyone who is smaller than they are. I have read so many articles by people who are well-meaning, but talk about “real women” being “curvier” than I am. I deeply appreciate you taking the time to write and post this!
I am definatly not in the “thin” group, but I have friends who are and they struggle with their body image just as much as I do. Glad to see someone else doesn’t like the term “real woman”.
Yes!–please, please, please don’t use the phrase “real women” if what you really mean is a specific subset, to exclude everyone else.
There are lots of politics and gender theory and stuff about the exclusion and shame of carrying extra bodyweight, which is very real, but you’re right, there’s enough exclusion and shame to go around without making more. There’s exclusion and shame in carrying “too much” muscle, “too much” fat, “not enough”, “not in the right places” . . . could we speak out, as women, against the perfectionism, without defining a new ideal?
Probably not, because we’re also human, and as you point out, every culture has its ideal, and every ideal has its nonconformers.
So chalk up another vote for self-definition–if you identify as a woman, you’re real, and all of us who don’t conform to the current ideal can take comfort, as you have, that somewhere, somewhen, there’s a culture where we would have been the Perfect Woman.
Absolutely! We focus so much on the external, thinking that a perfect body exists, and ignore functionality. My body is pretty close to the social ideal but I have chronic pain and neuromuscular problems. It makes life hell, but I still look good :p
One of my big pet peeves is the fuss about cellulite. It’s normal! I’m tired of shopping for underwear online and feeling bad about my own butt.
Amen. Thank you for this!
I had this EXACT same rant to my partner the other night after reading an article about a company that wanted “real women, not professional models” to display their wares. It made me wild with fury. I hate the word or phrase “real women” or “real beauty”. If you are moving and breathing and are not a figment of imagination, than by default you are real!
It is good that more people are recognising the narrow limitation on beauty created by the media. But many of these “real women” campaigns do not undermine these narrow limitations – they simply shift them. From what I have seen, most campaigns featuring “real” models still feature women who are white, with flawless skin, long hair, straight shiny teeth and legs up to their armpits. And good for them! They’re all beautiful. But it appears the only way we can understand or define beauty is by creating a specific set of parameters and excluding everyone else. We only feel good by making others feel bad in comparison.
I would like to see beauty EXTEND in definition, not shift to another little elite club that most people don’t fit in. It should encompass thin and curvy, black and white, tattooed, piereced, freckled, ginger haired, scarred, disabled, amputated, or any other combination thereof.
Dreamstress, this topic is so important to me, and you have written it so eloquently and beautifully. Thanks so much. And sorry for getting carried away in your comments!
Also, what I have realised is that we contribute to this state of exclusion ourselves. Ask yourself – do you ever see a woman somewhere and think something negative or judgemental about her looks? Each time one of us tears down someone else, even in our heads, we contribute to keeping the definition of beauty narrow and exclusive. Learn to appreciate other diverse and beautiful bodies and suddenly it becomes so much easier to appreciate your own. And share the appreciation!
Last night I went to a party. Once there I took off my coats, underneath was a fitted tee. As I did, the host squealed with delight and said “I just love your figure! Look at that shape!” I was speechless, and felt awkward – but the instant warm fuzzy fabulous glow will last for days. So build up ALL the real women in your life with appreciation for their beauty!
I think beauty is the radiance of someone’s spirit shining through so you don’t notice someone’s exterior except as a wrapping. Physical beauty as a secondary attribute, as it were.
What a wonderful post! I couldn’t agree more – I hate it when people throw around phrases like “real women have curves.” It’s so offensive and thoughtless. Personally, I’m on the curvier, plumper side of things, so I’m the audience that the people are looking to appeal to with phrases like that, but I’m not buying it. It’s not acceptable to try to encourage one group’s self-image at the cost of others.
We need to be focusing on realistic ideas of what healthy bodies* look like, feel like, etc., and finding ways to positively encourage and enable people who want to pursue healthy habits.As it is, things are just a mess. Many people are so unhappy with their bodies, because we’re taught to be, and it shouldn’t be like that. We fetishize an unhealthy degree of thinness, and we’re paranoid about fat, to the point that people often don’t even know what a healthy range looks like – so the “health” claims get garbled and end up oftentimes just creating more harm. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just relax and see beauty all over the place, and when it’s appropriate, make available tools for people to use to help create/maintain the image they want?
*Not that bodies which aren’t healthy should be considered automatically unbeautiful. It’s just that “health” gets thrown around so much when talking about thinness and body image and so forth, but it ends up a being ridiculous oversimplification, and often a very damaging one.
You see, this is why I think historical fashion blogs are so interesting–and so important. They show that beauty is relative and changes, and they provide a place for people to oooo and aaaaa *and create* about clothes that *look good on them*, not what other people say you should fit into.
As an educator, I deal with young women (and men, and men’s ideals) who face this every day. We all have an opportunity to combat negativity towards bodies, but I count myself lucky to be able to address it directly.
Interesting. I read this as meaning, “Real women are allowed to have curves”, or “Curvy women are real women too,” not, “The only real women are curvy ones”. All women have insecurities about their bodies, which is completedly daft, but how things are. However those of you who are insecure about your small busts or slightly heavy thighs do not also have to endure regular verbal and even physical abuse from strangers, being treated like a freak in shops and restaurants, stared at by children etc. It is little wonder that the women of substance in our cultures sometimes overcompensate and overclaim the “real” space.
If there is an exclusion target to “real women”, it is the aspirational, airbrushed, overly-processed images of women that the fashion and beauty industry use to keep all women in their place and haemorrhaging their disposable income. Not lovely, normal, beautiful women. But the farther away from this ideal you are, the harder it is to claim any kind of beauty or normality, and so in some cases, the more likely to overstate it. It’s not right or fair, but I can understand it.
Absolutely true that in this particular day and age people who are the furthest away from the current ideal will suffer the most, and those of us not in that position have no right to downplay the difficulties of those people. That is part of why this gets me so riled up – because even the “real beauty” models stop at a size 16 to 18. This is a huge step from limiting them to size 6. But is it enough? And do we do ourselves a disservice by accepting it as enough under the guise “it is a step in the right direction”?
I used to use the term real in just the way you describe, “curvy women are real women too.” Then one day I read a blog post that showed picture after picture of real beauty images and pointed out that they were still all modelled after a set of ideals. Long Pantene hair in honey blonde. Flawless white skin. And I got her point that this is still so exclusionary and we can do better. And I decided to not use “real women” to refer to any subset of the gender as a whole. But – I think any reference to real meaning true and actual as opposed to processed, airbrush, physically impossible is absolutely true and honourable. Who has seen the Dove video showing the post-photo processing of a pretty girl into something beyond human? Crazy scary!
Mrs C, by the way, I think you are beautiful both inside and out.
Hm, I think this is a rather awful disservice to language, first and foremost.
I mean, are we just emptying another word?
Of course, this is a student of languages speaking.
Joie, I’ve seen the xrays. it’s not pretty in there 😉 But thanks, back at ya!
Mrs C, I think you are so amazing and wonderful as a person that the glare of your awesomeness makes it impossible to see the x-rays clearly!
photoshopdisasters.comI always thought of the phrase “real” as opposed to models in retouched photos in media, with emphasis on retouched. And since we all need a laugh every now and then, head over to http://www.photoshopdisasters.com/ for some of the worse examples 🙂
As someone who has gone from a BMI of ‘obese’ to a perfect size 10 with boobs and an hourglass waist, I’ve lived in both worlds. From being mocked and derided, to being the target of jealousy, envy and over-protective girlfriends.
Real is such a stupid word to use. By having a vagina, estrogen and two X chromosomes, I am a woman – a real one. What on earth is a non-real woman?
All I know is that a healthy happy figure encompasses all shapes. However we tend to talk about curvy ladies and morbidly obese ladies in the same breath – they are different! Very different! One group should be encouraged to love and flaunt their bodies, the others need every assistance possible to get rid of the lard – the fat rolls that hang to your knees are not ‘curves’ and should not be celebrated! Diabetes isn’t ‘celebrated’! Gout isn’t ‘celebrated’!
And that’s the rub. I hate that natural and healthy women are put together with women who put their lives and health at risk.
Please remember that being obese isn’t always a product of diet and exercise. Thyroid disease, for example, is one of any number of things that can make a person who eats a great diet and exercises lots experience extreme weight gain or loss. And I know from close friends with conditions like that that it hurts to be told that they need to loose or gain weight because their body isn’t attractive and shouldn’t be celebrated. It’s the ultimate body betrayal – first your own body turns against you, and then society judges you for not fitting in to a standard that it has created.
At the same time there are people with lucky genes that enable them to look slim even when eating a poor diet and not exercising, and science is proving that those people are very unhealthy, even if they don’t look it.
So I say celebrate all of our bodies! And then encourage everyone, no matter what they look like, to have salad with dinner and go dancing afterwards! 😉
I think we are talking of the sorts of people who eat garbage, and feed their children garbage, and then get offended when doctors tell them that they are unhealthy. These people take money away from those who need it (in the cases of countries with universal health care), and just as bad: cheapen legitimate health complaints of others.
It is sad to me bodies are not celebrated. Bodies are beautiful things that perform all sorts of wonders. We all have our favorite assets. There is something that makes every woman beautiful.
But food addiction is not something to be celebrated. And it’s unfair to lump healthy women in with the unhealthy ones under a euphemistic banner of ‘real women.’ Obesity, like smoking, is usually self-chosen and can kill.
So it is sad that healthy women who are over 145lbs or so are immediately grouped with women who have fed themselves too much. And it *is* sad that depression, thyroid issues, and no access to healthy food lead to weight gain. More people should speak up about that–thanks, Dreamstress!
I just think it’s right to clump people together who have very different lifestyles.
Elise I don’t see what this has to do with the issue of beauty. Does being obese exclude one from being able to be beautiful? Or only if it is caused by circumstances outside of one’s control? So, ‘real’ includes ALL women except those with eating disorders, ones that make you fat not make you thin? How very complex – people should be made to wear a badge so that others can tell who is who and not accidentally think someone obese is beautiful who eats too much chocolate. That would be terrible.
Surely the original point is that being judgemental about what consitutes beauty is counter productive to the wellbeing of all women? That’s what I took from The Dreamstress’ post. Celebrating bodies as they are and they aren’t does not need to include encouraging or discouraging circumstances/lifestyles etc that lead to the forming of that body. That is WAY too dangerous ground – the responses to this post are evidence of that – plenty of anecdotal evidence of upset caused by judgements and assumptions about appearance that are unfair and inaccurate already.
Exactly! I find nothing helpful in judging how people got the way they are. It’s the same as judging people for having depression – unhelpful, counterproductive, and almost always inaccurate. And being depressed is just as bad for your health as being obese. Do we condemn people with depression for taking money away from those in need? Isn’t the next step discouraging parents with a genetic predisposition to asthma/diabetes/heart disease/bad knees/depression from having kids – because those kids will need more health care? Or maybe we should stop playing contact sports and running cross country, because both of those have very high rates of leading to injuries that will need long-term maintenance and health care.
I just assume that I never know why a person is the way they are until I really know, and until then, the best way to make the world a better place is to just celebrate the fact that we are all beautiful, real people.
Thankyou Dreamstress for answering more eloquently than I ever could.
The simple fact is that shape does not equal lifestyle or health. Dislike unhealthy lifestyles all you like – but I think that one should not make assumptions, and therefore judgements, on lifestyle based on shape.
What interesting replies. Really, it’s a good thing to listen to and think about the opinions of smart people.
I will maintain that obesity is not a good thing. It kills people. There are demonstrated links to cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. It is something that needs to be addressed. But you are right, not on this blog.
But in no way do I not support people who are struggling with issues of all kinds. My ratemyprofessor rating demonstrates that. I’m just saying that it is a sad thing that healthy women–or women who are dealing with things outside of their control–are grouped with people who are hurting themselves willfully. Just like the original reply went: they are different–so different.
Of course it is hurtful to be derided. Should there be badges? Of course not! (funny comment, Mrs. C) I just wish that there could exist in people’s minds the difference.
Anyhow, three cheers for bodies, clothes that make bodies look fabulous, and a favorite feature!
Actually, I’d like to retract my comment.
Which one? Would you like me to delete it, or do you mind if I leave it, to show the flow of conversation and ideas?
Big does not mean healthy nor does small mean healthy. I’m bigger than my socially accepted sized mom and brother. They are on high blood pressure pills and watching high cholesterol. Both my numbers are normal (as is my sugars). I do have some life long body mechanic issues (back and knee) that would be lessened if I were smaller but likely contributed to my hate of exercise and there for my bigger size. (Downward spiral) But telling me I look like crap is not going to make me diet and get smaller. It did make me bulemic though. Now dieting is dangerous territory for me. It triggers all that nonsense. Want to help me? Tell me what you do like about me (don’t lie) and build me up. I’m less likely to trot off to the cookie bag if I’m feeling positive and happy. Don’t judge what you personally dislike (it is only your opinion after all) and think you are doing me and my health favors by giving “advice”. Just love me for who I am and let me, my genetics and God work out the details. When I see a bigger person than I am I feel sad because I know the hell the world puts them through. When I see a smaller person than I am I feel sad because they also have body issues that they struggle with and some of them may have nearly killed themselves to get to that size. I wish the world only looked at the soul and the clothes (which mirror the soul) not the in between.
Wowzers! If 145lbs is obese than I am screwed! The last time I hit 145lbs random people asked if I was OK and my doctor made me document my meals for a month to make sure I was getting enough nutrition!
I read that in a magazine, once. I was trying to show how silly it is.
Ah, that makes sense! Thank you for clarifying!
“For every body, no matter its shape, there is a cut and style that makes it look fabulous, and a culture and historical period that celebrated that body as beautiful, as ideal.”
You taught me that. And now I look at people in a different way. For example, upon seeing a painting of St. Agnes (the Czech saint) today, I realised my sister has a very similar face and would fit very well into a medieval painting. 😀
And sewing taught me that just because trousers are made awfully straight nowadays, it does not mean I have a big behind – it just means I have a very thin waist. 😉
I think you just made my week. That’s one of the loveliest things you could say to me 🙂
You’re welcome. 😉
(It also helps that my other sister, who has trouble finding modern clothes to look good in, looks fabulous in her kathak costume and other Indian skirts. Another reality-proven point to your view.)
Great post, put so eloquently as usual – thank you!
Yes. Thank you. As someone with a figure acceptable to modern aesthetics, I often feel that a) I’m seen as a vain peahen who tries hard to look this way (I don’t and the cookies will someday catch up with me) and that b) I’m not allowed to have or share insecurities or critical reflections of my own body. As a seasmtress, these are often really valid–“Huh, my darn short waist is going to make tailoring this difficult”–for a lot of us our comments aren’t meant as self-digs but honest evaluations! I’m so glad for historical costuming–it puts things in perspective, makes us realize the whole range of beautiful women, and lets us play with our notions of beauty a little bit. And makes you realize that every real woman is more beautiful when her clothes actually fit her, but that’s another rant about another topic of the modern plastic-girl-making media and culture.
The fact is, as MrsC pointed out so eloquently, there are plenty of fake women populating our televisions and magazine ads. They were real women, once–then they were manipulated and airbrushed into something else. I applaud the efforts to point this out–but as you say, Dreamstress, there’s a sense of rejection there, too, when we bandy about what a “real” woman is instead of embracing all the beauty out there.
I’ve noticed use of the term “real women” a lot lately too, and to me it seems to be the new nice way to say “lager lady.” I find it objectionable the same way I find “plus sized model” objectionable. But I also find the idealized body of the fashion world objectionable as well. The emphasis is put on being one or the other, and if you are one or the other you’re reviled by society by-and-large. It’s a no win situation. . EVERY one is beautiful in their own unique way and should be celebrated for that uniqueness.
I think this type of sentence refers to “photoshoped women”. I think it’s not about more curves here or here, but “keeping what is usually seen as a default”.
But I’m sorry, I’d be glad to see more normal women in magazines. Some tall and some small, some thin and some big… more diversity, like you can see when walking in a street. So I can’t blame when someone’s trying to.
I agree with you- all bodies are real! I have noticed before that when someone makes a statement that something that is outside the mainstream is relevant too, they try to make their point with the help of deriding the excisting norm. I don’t understand that. If I say that I think a certaing bodyshape is attractive, that doesn’t mean I think others are not. The opposite, in fact- I find it wonderful that we are all shaped so diffently!
So glad that you wrote this! I felt the same way when I heard someone talking about curvy women being “real” women on tv a few years ago. Love your thoughts on it.
I just noticed that I used the term ‘real woman’ in my latest blog post about the next Doctor being a woman. Which predated this one (I am not as prolific and disciplined a blogger as The Dreamstress) and in contrast to a Plastic. My concern is that if there was to be a lady Doctor, she would have to be a Beauty like his companions always are. I fancy a woman in her 40’s or 50’s with a few wrinkles and lines, no obvious predilection for makeup and complex grooming. In that context it is the comparison between what male actors are allowed to get away with and what women are. Adorable as David Tennant and Matt Smith may be, not to mention Tom, Colin, Peter, Jon, Patrick, Sylvester and Chris, none of them would be modelling Jockeys on a billboard if you know what I mean 😉
So you must not be a fan of the suggestion that Catherine Zeta-Jones would make a good Doctor? 😉
I love Alex Kingston as River Song. She’s still gorgeous, but in a very normal, approachable, way, with flaws a wrinkles.
I’ve just been reading studies on how women are attracted to a much broader range of looks than men. Scientists theories its because there is a biological advantage in ensuring a wide gene pool for our offsprings. Basically, it’s so one man doesn’t father all the children in the tribe! So yes, we may not like that all pretty female actresses look much the same while male actors get such a range of roles, but it might have as much to do with us (women) as with any cultural chauvinism.
What a powerful and insightful post — I read it twice, and wish more people could read it.
As one of your historical models, I can say with absolute certainty that I have experienced first-hand how amazing it is to find a period of time in which the clothes were made exactly for my body. While I might be jealous that I don’t have the ample bosom/hips of those who can carry off the Juno dress, or the Ninon one, I am decidedly happy that you put me in a 1930s silk gown, and let me wear the 1878 Renoir evening dress. I love knowing (because you told me) that I have a figure that can carry off 1910s fashion.
Although I’m a bit taller than average and have always been slim, I’ve suffered from the same old body issues as everyone else. What made me get over them — the point where when I’m on the beach I don’t suck in my stomach — is posing as an art model. Seriously — stand in front of 15 artists, all busy drawing you (and then complimenting you), and I guarantee that all of your body issues will disappear, as you’ll realise you’re merely a shape to put onto paper — and a lovely one.
Have you read Dr Seuss’ book the Snoots. It is about racism but could be applied to weight. It seems humans are not happy unless they can make themselves feel better because they belong to one group and not another. In our history there has been men better than women. White better than all the colors of the human rainbow. Thin better than fat. And don’t get me started on religion! I refuse to see groups. I decide I like someone because of who they are as individuals and not because of the group they belong to.