From a young age, I have felt an intense pressure to be “pretty”. I felt a pressure to look like the women on magazine covers and in movies, I wanted it so badly. I tried everything to be thin enough, smile more and have flawless skin – my everything was never good enough. I could never escape my awkward years – bad skin, braces, coke bottle glasses and a fear of speaking to anyone. But I thought that if I could look like the women in magazines, if I could exude that happiness that magically everything in my life would fall into place. Women all over experience this same feeling of not being good enough, not being “pretty” enough.
During childhood we are given toys such as Barbie – we dress her, do her hair, and some even allow you to do makeup. Boys are given chemistry sets, model trains and engineering toys. Why do girls not get the same? Why are girls taught that the most important thing is just to be pretty? It’s engrained in a young girls’ brain that she needs to look a certain way otherwise she will never find love or be worthy of accomplishing anything. It’s not okay.
As an adult I still battle these feelings every single day. I compare myself to women on TV or women that I know that men over sexualize. I feel inferior to these women, I feel like I don’t deserve love or success because I don’t look like them. It’s so fucked up. Why do we do this to young women? Men can get away with saying or doing whatever they’d like, no matter how they look, and society will still deem them worthy of love and success. Take for example our President: he said vulgar things about women, he spouted off inappropriate things about people of color and Native Americans – yet somehow, he still became President. No one tells him that he needs to lose a few pounds or wear makeup in order to do his job. While Hillary was given shit for not being attractive enough and for wearing pant suits.
Is there a difference between pretty and beautiful?
While I battle everyday with not feeling pretty enough, I know I am beautiful in my own way. Beauty is different. It encompasses everything about you – your personality, your accomplishments, the love you give, how hard you try, and the friends you have kept. It’s everything that makes you… well, you. I have found some of the most beautiful people are not always the most stereotypically pretty (as deemed by society). I would rather have someone call me beautiful than pretty. I would rather someone acknowledge my kindness and accomplishments rather than call me hot.
But why then do I still feel a need for validation that I am pretty? Seriously, I battle with this question daily. I’m not sure I will ever know the answer. I’m just glad I surround myself with people that value each other based everyone’s unique qualities rather than their media deemed attractiveness. And for now that will have to be enough. I just hope that one day, enough of us raise our voices in disgust with this current system and that future generations of young women (and men!) will not be forced to feel belittled by our society.