Pretty Girl Plight
I had a conversation with a dear friend of mine yesterday about the female propensity to judge one another, based on, well, absolutely nothing, or more often than not, based entirely on how someone looks. So as evocative as it may be, I’m writing inspired solely by her and as a shout out to pretty girls everywhere. If I’ve turned you off, you should keep reading. Because this isn’t a commentary on how hard pretty girls have it in the world, because in general, girls period have it pretty hard in this world. But this is more about calling out the human inclination to hold back the people who intimidate us, because let’s face it, we all do it, and I want to know why.
When I met Destiny a few months ago, I was instantly impressed by her ocean blue eyes, dark hair made for a Pantene Pro-V commercial, and skin that looked like she just walked off a Caribbean island. I was also instantly aware of my rebellious Irish skin, my splotchy, fatigue-ridden face, and the fact that my own eyes resembled the perfect shade of poo. When I found out Destiny was the mother of a high energy two-year old boy and looked like she was rocking a well sculpted abdominal area, I stared at my leftover kangaroo pouch and reminded myself it was the bane of my existence. Destiny is fashion-forward and frequently forces me to question “What Would Destiny Do” when I am trying to remind myself I am still young and can pull off shorts that hover above the knee. Sure, I do have 4 years and almost a full 7 years of marriage on her, but case in point, Destiny is nothing short of beautiful. Ok, she’s pretty short, which is the only thing keeping her from being able to make millions on a catwalk, but she still turns more than a few heads when she walks into a room.
But here’s the problem with Destiny. People, namely fellow females, hate her for nothing more than a really good pair of chromosomes got together and produced a perfect little human combo. Get to know her and you’ll find that the person she is has very little to do with the way she looks; you’ll quickly understand why she has a glow that pulls you in. But in her world, she’s constantly discouraged by her inability to get women to give her a chance and let her show that not only is she going to crack you up with her rendition of Nelly songs from a decade ago, she’s pretty caring, considerate, and even more importantly, ambitious, driven, and intelligent.
I can empathize with her. While I don’t have the Caribbean skin that I would like to borrow from her and my hair doesn’t shine like diamonds, I’ve got my good side and based solely on the fact that I might be mildly attractive, assumptions are made before I ever get a chance to prove them wrong. On more than one occasion people have claimed I wasn’t smart enough for something, or that I can’t be taken seriously, or that I only got to where I am because of how I look. My entire middle and high school, and now into adult life when I thought high school behavior was long gone and we were all grown up, has been a series of phone calls and conversations with my mom asking her what I could do to find more girl friends. My argument is always that if they just give me a chance, I am the nicest person in the entire world. No really, I am. Like sweet tea nice. I know that may have sounded mildly narcissistic, but it’s a truth about the way women see other women. If they’re not pretty enough, they’re not worthy, and then if they’re “too” pretty, somehow their looks crippled them from any intellect upstairs. And the saddest part of it all is that it is other women placing those labels.
They do the same thing with news commentators, politicians, and any pretty woman in a leadership position. Sure, they are good enough to be Miss America, but apparently don’t meet the criteria to be in charge of America. We constantly judge world changers who appreciate a nice haircut and know the value of a perfectly sized heel. Even if it is in a sassy shade of red. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a female commentator on TV and told myself, “God, I wish I had her __________ (insert any physical trait other than what I have here).” It’s natural to look straight at what you see, but it’s much more rewarding when you try to figure out what you can’t see about a person.
I’m one of those people who thinks people in all shapes, sizes, and colors are just plain beautiful and if God wanted us to all look the same, we might be a little bored with what we see. But I also think real beauty comes from the glow that people like Destiny put out in the world. The characters from the movie Mean Girls actually do exist and they are lacking in the humanity department; few people would probably tell you they are truly beautiful-although they ultimately have the potential to be.
I can honestly tell you, I’ve never heard Destiny say a single bad word about anyone. Even though it may have been warranted. Ok, I take that back. Her husband has been on her list a time or two, but husband-bashing sessions are good for the soul and are ironically, in my opinion, the key to a happy marriage. They are also part of the marriage contract…read the fine print. But she makes a point to look for what’s beautiful in everyone, even if they hate her for what’s beautiful in her.
I told Destiny not to dumb herself down. Not to hide her intelligence, her ambition, or anything else that might intimidate another woman, because at some point along the way she’ll lose the glow that sets her apart.
I refuse to accept the idea that in order to make other women feel better about themselves, we need to feel worse about ourselves. Sultana Khan, another spikethewatercooler.com contributor said it best in her recent article, “Sense of Self,” when she said, “taking care of yourself means putting yourself first, and that may be the hardest lesson of all.” We need to know it’s ok to be who we are, short, skinny, fat, tall, whatever, and not worry about the naysayers who have nothing better to do than sit around and figure out how to hate us.
I propose that those women should be working on their own glow, otherwise supermodel looks or not, they’re nothing more than ugly.
Image from http://www.soulsatisfactionforwomen.com/let_go_of_your_inner_critic