The pretty trap

Alanis Morissette once said, “What I have to say is far more important than how long my eyelashes are.” In this brief sentence, Alanis openly challenged the societal notion that all women must be pretty. Oh, come on, we all know it’s true. The pressure for a girl to be pretty is so heavy that if a baby girl is born and she is not “pretty,” the parents are highly disappointed.

And parents of pretty girls are always so very proud. That is a lot of pressure to put on a baby girl to make sure her genetic pool consists of the best of both parents’ physical attributes. Yet that is exactly how most of the world thinks. If a baby boy is not aesthetically pleasing, it is waved off because his brain or his brawn can pave a path to success for him.

However, for a girl, even if she has a brain, without having beauty it means very little. And heavens forbid if she has or wants to have brawn! That blasted box society squeezes women into is shallow on so many levels, but it is also counterproductive to the ongoing development of human race. It is time to change our way of thinking and stop insisting that a woman’s beauty is her most valuable asset.

I discovered this quote last week and it inspired me in a profound way: “You Don’t Have to Be Pretty. You don’t owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don’t owe it to your mother, you don’t owe it to your children, you don’t owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked ‘female.’”

I grew up as a very pretty girl. I found that beauty to be quite constraining, as I wanted my brain to be more important than my physical appearance or the size of my breasts. Frustratingly, it took years to work past the beauty part so others would see the brain part. This is wrong. How can we build a society like this and expect the human race to rise to its full potential?

In the past few years, ongoing ill health has taken a toll on my body. I have gained weight and my face and body have changed in many ways, which means my beauty has faded. To those in society who worship beauty, there is nothing more sinful than when a beautiful woman gains weight or “lets herself go”.

The endurance of female beauty is a must. Health does not matter. The mental well-being of the woman does not matter. In fact, nothing else matters. A woman is expected to be beautiful until the day she dies and if she is not, then she has let all of us down.

In today’s society, women literally starve themselves to be “pretty”. They pay lots of money to do their hair and their nails. They get surgeries to make their face more “beautiful”. Those surgeries now include sucking fat out of the women’s stomachs, faces and thighs only to have fat inserted into the buttocks. Breasts are enlarged, lips are thickened and eyebrow enhancements make women look permanently surprised.

How very sad that so much money is spent on these procedures to sustain female beauty instead of simply accepting that women are beautiful just the way they are without being altered.

As my own beauty faded over the past few years, even I found myself pining for those days when it was a given that I was pretty. I worked so hard to get beyond my so-called “prettiness,” so why on earth would I care when it was gone? I should be rejoicing, not grieving. Yet as women we are trained from birth that we must be pretty.

However, in the past few months, there has been a shift in my way of thinking. I have stopped caring about beauty all together. My health was so poor between the months of June and August that I really did not think I would live much longer. It was scary. That whole situation put things into perspective for me and I realised my health is more important than almost anything else.

I recently cut off several inches of my hair and got rid of the light blonde highlights. My hair is now a dark blonde that is close to my natural colour. I wear very little makeup and have decided that the chemicals that come with much of the cosmetics and toiletries we use are harmful to my body – so they were tossed and replaced with natural alternatives made from herbs and vegetables.

These were all changes I made regardless of whether others liked them or not. I was going to do what it took to be healthy because that was more important than being pretty. But when I found the aforementioned quote, I had an epiphany…I did not have to be pretty.

It felt like someone had set me free. I was released from the ridiculous notion that I must be pretty. It no longer mattered if society approved of my non-prettiness or not. I did not owe prettiness to anyone. Prettiness is not a rent I pay for occupying a space marked ‘female.’

I know instantly what many, especially the men, will say. They will say, “What about the men?” Will men have to start going around with ugly women on their arms? A woman with brains or a beautiful spirit is obviously not good enough. This is a good question. What about the men?

As I see it, women are forced to go around on the arms of men who wear no makeup, do not dress in clothes that are revealing and do not get surgeries to be more “beautiful.” Surely that works both ways. If not, just tell that shallow excuse of a man, “If you can’t love me for me, then hit the road, Jack!”

Email: stellasays@gmail.com

The pretty trap
Alanis Morissette once said, “What I have to say is far more important than how long my eyelashes are.” In this brief sentence, Alanis openly challenged the societal notion that all women must be pretty. Oh, come on, we all know it’s true. The pressure for a girl to be pretty is so heavy that if a baby girl is born and she is not “pretty,” the parents are highly disappointed.

And parents of pretty girls are always so very proud. That is a lot of pressure to put on a baby girl to make sure her genetic pool consists of the best of both parents’ physical attributes. Yet that is exactly how most of the world thinks. If a baby boy is not aesthetically pleasing, it is waved off because his brain or his brawn can pave a path to success for him.

However, for a girl, even if she has a brain, without having beauty it means very little. And heavens forbid if she has or wants to have brawn! That blasted box society squeezes women into is shallow on so many levels, but it is also counterproductive to the ongoing development of human race. It is time to change our way of thinking and stop insisting that a woman’s beauty is her most valuable asset.

I discovered this quote last week and it inspired me in a profound way: “You Don’t Have to Be Pretty. You don’t owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don’t owe it to your mother, you don’t owe it to your children, you don’t owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked ‘female.’”

I grew up as a very pretty girl. I found that beauty to be quite constraining, as I wanted my brain to be more important than my physical appearance or the size of my breasts. Frustratingly, it took years to work past the beauty part so others would see the brain part. This is wrong. How can we build a society like this and expect the human race to rise to its full potential?

In the past few years, ongoing ill health has taken a toll on my body. I have gained weight and my face and body have changed in many ways, which means my beauty has faded. To those in society who worship beauty, there is nothing more sinful than when a beautiful woman gains weight or “lets herself go”.

The endurance of female beauty is a must. Health does not matter. The mental well-being of the woman does not matter. In fact, nothing else matters. A woman is expected to be beautiful until the day she dies and if she is not, then she has let all of us down.

In today’s society, women literally starve themselves to be “pretty”. They pay lots of money to do their hair and their nails. They get surgeries to make their face more “beautiful”. Those surgeries now include sucking fat out of the women’s stomachs, faces and thighs only to have fat inserted into the buttocks. Breasts are enlarged, lips are thickened and eyebrow enhancements make women look permanently surprised.

How very sad that so much money is spent on these procedures to sustain female beauty instead of simply accepting that women are beautiful just the way they are without being altered.

As my own beauty faded over the past few years, even I found myself pining for those days when it was a given that I was pretty. I worked so hard to get beyond my so-called “prettiness,” so why on earth would I care when it was gone? I should be rejoicing, not grieving. Yet as women we are trained from birth that we must be pretty.

However, in the past few months, there has been a shift in my way of thinking. I have stopped caring about beauty all together. My health was so poor between the months of June and August that I really did not think I would live much longer. It was scary. That whole situation put things into perspective for me and I realised my health is more important than almost anything else.

I recently cut off several inches of my hair and got rid of the light blonde highlights. My hair is now a dark blonde that is close to my natural colour. I wear very little makeup and have decided that the chemicals that come with much of the cosmetics and toiletries we use are harmful to my body – so they were tossed and replaced with natural alternatives made from herbs and vegetables.

These were all changes I made regardless of whether others liked them or not. I was going to do what it took to be healthy because that was more important than being pretty. But when I found the aforementioned quote, I had an epiphany…I did not have to be pretty.

It felt like someone had set me free. I was released from the ridiculous notion that I must be pretty. It no longer mattered if society approved of my non-prettiness or not. I did not owe prettiness to anyone. Prettiness is not a rent I pay for occupying a space marked ‘female.’

I know instantly what many, especially the men, will say. They will say, “What about the men?” Will men have to start going around with ugly women on their arms? A woman with brains or a beautiful spirit is obviously not good enough. This is a good question. What about the men?

As I see it, women are forced to go around on the arms of men who wear no makeup, do not dress in clothes that are revealing and do not get surgeries to be more “beautiful.” Surely that works both ways. If not, just tell that shallow excuse of a man, “If you can’t love me for me, then hit the road, Jack!”

Email: stellasays@gmail.com

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