Today, I read something amazing on someone else's blog. I ended up there accidentally. Coincidentally. Or... did I?
In any case, it hit home with a huge CRUNCH, and I'm sharing it with you in case you are one of the people that needs to hear it too.
If you're not someone who feels that this message resonates with you personally, perhaps it will with your partner, or your girlfriend, or your wife.
I post a lot of photos of "beautiful people" on this blog. Because I really do think they're beautiful, and I like to look at things that make my motor run. I'm not apologizing for that, and I'll probably do it again in the future. Because pretty faces and bodies are nice to look at.
But deep inside, I've always felt that I could "do better". My mother raised me with long skirts, lace, and long hair. Being pretty was so praised in my family, it became, as it were, some sort of "emotional debt".
I never attend a family function where weight (either mine, or that of my sibling and cousins, aunts, etc.) is not an open topic of comment and discussion. People that are considered overweight are mentioned with murmurs of "it's such a shame" and "they/you used to be so....". Nobody intends to be cruel, but the collective impact of this grows exponentially over a lifetime until you believe it to be carved in stone.
According to my family's unwritten code of Being A Woman, if you are not pretty, or trying to be, or working out with weight loss in mind, or losing weight through some new diet, you are not living up to your potential. Not trying hard enough. Not good enough.
"8th Dec 2012 | 6,878 notes
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”.
- Erin, “A Dress a Day” (via grrrlstudies)
I think this is a really important topic that needs to be talked about more often, especially in reference to WoC (Women of Color), who have always been at the bottom of the bucket in reference to “prettiness”. This is why I am so weary of all these “Everyone is Beautiful!” type campaigns. I understand the importance of feeling attractive and I am not trying to shame anyone who thinks this is important to their self-esteem, especially in reference to this ugly, racist, sexist, ableist, younameit world. However, there is this problem with beauty being the thing to strive for that is getting on my damn nerves.
It has taken me all 19 years of my life to just simply acknowledge that beauty is not equal to goodness or love or some intrinsic holiness. And even now I struggle with this acknowledgement sometimes, much less am able to actively fight against it all the time. You grow up your whole life being told that you should be pretty or you should think you’re pretty or everyone else should think you’re pretty and so on and so forth. There is nothing wrong with feeling like you look good. Nothing. But this fixture on the aesthetic is sick.
And it creates this obsession about the way you look that is not healthy or helpful. Sure, feeling that “everyone is beautiful!”, including yourself, is great but what the fuck is so great about being beautiful? Why do we have to put so much effort (and anything else it takes) into feeling like we look good? You are not a better person when you are “beautiful”. You are not smarter, more talented, a better friend, more aware, more kind, more anything, really.
I am so fucking tired of being so concerned about my hair, my skin, my face, my body. I am tired of always having to psyche myself up and re-assure myself that I am good-looking/fuckable. I am so fucking tired of feeling like I should always feel like I am beautiful. Fuck this “pretty” debt, yo.
I don’t want to be beautiful, by either colonial standards or otherwise. I don’t want to be fucking pretty.
I want to be a good person. I want to learn how to be kind. I want to be softer. I want to be a safe shoulder for WoC out there. I want to be a better listener. I want to fight against racism and patriarchy and cissexism and ableism and colorism and casual ignorance. I want to take care of my family. I want to be smart and really good at writing. I want to be funny. I want to hook up with someone and have them say I’m sexy and I DON’T WANT TO GIVE A SINGLE, LONELY, SADASS FUCK ABOUT IT.
I don’t want to be fucking pretty.
Thanks, Dee. I needed that.