May 8, 2010

What does a “real woman” look like?

The barrage of images of ideal beauty drown diversity, tout the unreal as real and leave us wondering, “What does a real woman look like?”

This is what real women look like (feast your eyes):

All photos taken by Melanie Klein, May 6, 2010, as part of a dual-part class project. The body collage and photo-shoot allowed students to compare and contrast manufactured images of beauty and authentic representations of beauty. Body collages were taped from floor to ceiling to allow students to “feel” the onslaught of one-dimensional images and place themselves in front of the mass illusion disseminated via the mass media and remind themselves that “this is what a real woman looks like.” Body image film to follow.


  1. Great project! I hope we had something like this in our classes…

    Comment by Hithere — May 9, 2010 @ 12:23 pm

  2. nice means of creating a group conscience.

    Comment by Sarit — May 9, 2010 @ 8:02 pm

  3. […] overpowering nature of the magazine industry that women studies professor and founder of the blog Feminist Fatale, Melanie Klein, created a massive collage juxtaposing hundreds of images of women found in […]

    Pingback by The Daily Femme » Blog Archive » Questioning the Magazine Industry’s Ideal of Female Beauty through the Power of Photographs — May 15, 2010 @ 8:55 am

  4. […] you share how you decided to create the project “What does a real woman look like?” with your students? What were their reactions to your […]

    Pingback by Interview with Melanie Klein: Women Studies and Sociology lecturer and Founder of Feminist Fatale | Women's Interviews - The Daily Femme — July 26, 2010 @ 4:24 am

  5. I think that this is amazing! “What does a real woman look like?” that is a great question because it is defintely not what is all over the media. I think that is is close to impossible to find pictures or images that have not been altered in some way. This is eye opening because it really shows what real women in the real world really look like.

    Comment by Joshua. S — October 21, 2010 @ 9:12 am

  6. I love the backdrop, though I wish there were more smiles on these girls. Not only is there a creation of a colorful backdrop, but also a colorful scale of young women today. This is a great reflection of natural beauty. Beauty doesn’t have to be skin deep only. For women that have had plastic surgery and used this phrase as an excuse, I find it annoying. I can certainly relate and connect to these women in the photos than the women I see on magazines.

    Comment by Joanne S. — October 22, 2010 @ 3:35 pm

  7. Wonderful points! Going to need a good amout of time to entertain this website.

    Comment by Bettina Loli — December 1, 2010 @ 4:36 pm

  8. I love that you put it up on the walls for everyone to see! -Leora S.

    Comment by Leora Sheily — April 17, 2011 @ 9:17 pm

  9. I love this project! I hope we get to do something like this in class

    Comment by Danielle G. — April 19, 2011 @ 5:47 pm

  10. i think this is an amazing project that sheds some insight on how the media portrays women in ads versus how they actually look

    Comment by Shawn S — June 1, 2011 @ 5:31 pm

  11. This project seems very inspirational. It does a great job of getting young women to understand that the images of women in media are unachievable and impractical.

    Comment by Tiffany Majdipour — November 1, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

  12. I really gives props to this project. Good job to anybody involved! It is important that we see the truth and show WHAT IS REAL! Also, it seemed like it was a fun project 🙂

    Comment by Tandis Shams Fard — November 7, 2011 @ 6:50 pm

  13. Awesome project!!!
    Is is quite inspirational and empowering:)

    Comment by Jorge Garcia — November 22, 2011 @ 2:06 pm

  14. I’m quite jealous. Not only is this project fun and out of the ordinary, but it speaks to society about something most people would not be aware of: how unrealistic the images in the mass media are in comparison with the real world. Great job!

    Comment by Bridget T. — November 26, 2011 @ 6:57 pm

  15. Most men and women believe that the people on the television and on the ads, are real. And if women or male to live up to those standards they feel guilty and/or shame about themselves. It’s so much pressure, and I am nauseatingly annoyed of how much pressure their is to look perfect. When realistically these images are not real, they are Photoshop and these women dedicate their lives to look this way. The worst part is that most of us try to achieve this flawless look and when we don’t we are often devalued by men. Another double standard. I am glad I took this course, it really comforted me.

    Comment by JasmineG — December 6, 2012 @ 12:00 am

  16. I agree with this article because it is true about the question of what does a real woman look like. But the way that this is answered is by having men answer the question. They have no right to answer it because they are not a women. Many people believe that in order to succeed in society that one should be pretty and to look like the women that are seen in the television. This is not true because beauty is something that can not be portrayed into one type of person. That is why this disappoints me on how men try to make women feel bad about themselves by saying they are ugly or not pretty enough that is up to their expectations. This creates so much pressure to these women and that is something I don’t wish for anybody to experience. If women were to accept themselves as they are than we could be strong together and to try to stop all this madness of showing the false reality of what a real women is suppose to look like.

    Comment by Kimberly C — July 24, 2013 @ 4:50 pm

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