Are YOU a real woman? I can't tell if I'm honest. The glut of content I've read (note - I mean had shoved in my face by ALL THE MEDIA) is shall we say, 'conflicted' on the topic.
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On any given day in digital land, real women have curves, real women take care of their bodies, real women look after their man, real women are perfect mothers, real women eat cake/eat clean.
In one memorable article, 'real women enjoy anal'... WTF? Memes, opinion pieces, endless sodding Instagram quotes.
There are no fewer than 1,130,000,000 results on Google to be precise, 60,300,000 more results than there are for feminism. So we need to know if we are feminists less then we have to work out whether we are actually female. Which explains a lot.
Coined in the fifties by America's ad-men, the 'real women' tag was a cynical construct designed to use our innate insecurity to sell homeware and suspicious artificial ingredients. Ah, the 1950's, when men were men, women were domestic slaves and homosexuality was illegal. The clothes were nice, the cars were hot, Elvis was thin and rampant misogyny sold, well, just about anything. Good times, good times.
Delightfully, since then though we've discovered such wonders as the bikini, the contraceptive pill and some handy laws that mean women have the legal right to say no to sex with their husband. We don't smoke in hospitals anymore and television comes in colour.
So why, in the name of Emily Pankhurst are we still falling for this 'real women' tripe? It stands to reason that the only interest ad-men had in making us want to 'be' real women, is if we already had doubts that we 'were' real women in the first place.
Playing on deep-rooted fears about our femininity is a dirty trick indeed, but it only worked because we let it take hold. We played into the hands of the brands, buying into not only their Formica worktops but also their messages that to be good enough to be loved we needed to buy more, wear more, work harder. Their profits came at the hands of our already shaky grasp of our personal power as women.
Seeing as it's now 2016 and we should really know better, I thought I'd answer the question once and for all, saving you hours of depressing surfing with this handy list of all the things that do, or do not, influence what makes you a 'real woman'.
Being good at cleaning
Being bad at cleaning
Having a job AND children
Not having a job AND children
Not having children
Not liking cats
Wanting Botox (or not)
What type of parent you are - good/bad/gin swilling harridan
Not eating chocolate
Eating clean/cake/biscuits/bananas/olives any food substance whatsoever
Not eating cock
Enjoying a good weepie
Not enjoying a good weepie
Having a size 10 waist
Having a waist
Being 'thick' (bleurgh - that word is up there with BAE)
Not being religious
Being a feminist
Not being a feminist
Liking high heels
Not liking high heels
Being a girly girl
Doing a man's job
Doing a woman's job
Being a loner
Taking it up the arse or otherwise (!!!)
Having a boyfriend/partner/SO
Wanting a partner
Owning a house
Not owning a house
Being able to work out plumbing
Not having a clue about DIY
Anything else I have missed that isn't covered by the YES list below
Are you/ Do you identify as female?
Congratulations. You are in fact, a woman.
You are welcome. Now for god sake go and look up feminism. We're letting the side down.