An Obsession with Beauty

Why is it then women have to believe they are beautiful?

Why is beauty valued above…everything else?

I want women to feel beautiful, because…it often feels like physical appearance is the only social currency afforded to women. When women greet each other, it’s a comment on what they’re wearing (“Oh, you look great in that color.” “Your hair looks fabulous today.” “Is that new?”)

It’s important for a woman to feel beautiful, because if there is one lesson that pervades culture, it is that “Women are meant to be beautiful”. It’s why Snow White got poisoned, it’s quite literally the only trait ever spoken of in The Princess Bride, it’s the one thing

Women have the responsibility of being physically attractive, and it gets culturally mandated to continue.

A woman’s job it so be beautiful.

So what if we…weren’t.

What if we could get to a point where beauty wasn’t a factor. I mean, it’s nice to like your appearance, but what if instead of wanting to be beautiful, women wanted to be strong, or courageous, or intelligent.

In every plot that I can remember, when it’s supposed to be celebrating a woman having traits that could be valued independently from beauty, it’s not. It all has to be additional to beauty. A woman can’t prove her intelligence until she believes she is beautiful. A woman can’t be strong unless she believes she is beautiful.

There are so many stories about a man reaching a point of competence – physical appearance is never mentioned. Physical ability is, but beauty and fitness are really only barely related.

There are no stories of a woman gaining competence through being competent, because it’s not enough for a woman to be good at what she does. There is a reason that every woman on a cop show runs around in high heels. It’s not enough to be good. A woman must be good *and* beautiful.

 

I want women to feel beautiful, if that’ s what they need to feel successful and fulfilled.

I just think that physical appearance shouldn’t be a reflection on someones life-worth.

I wish that women didn’t feel a need to reassure each other in their beauty, because women were confident enough in their other abilities that beauty was an afterthought.

I don’t think we’ll ever get there, but it sure would be nice.

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2 thoughts on “An Obsession with Beauty

  1. So, I could really ‘go on’ about this, BUT I promise to be as concise as I can. I do agree that is important for all people to feel comfortable with their appearance. It is also important that we attempt to be fit and do the best with what we have – on all levels. I also agree that women need to continue to forge on in the march for equality. But, I do not agree that “beauty is the only currency.” There are many women who have been (& continue to be) pioneers regardless of physical attributes one way or the other. And on the flip side – there are plenty of male ‘prima-donas’ and for some (especially politicians it seems) it leads to their demise. Many women achieve success of their own making (with an assist with those who came before us). Do NOT be fooled by Hollywood stereotypes. Women are working, excelling, achieving around the world; some locally, some globally. Good people are all beautiful once you get to know them. I’ll quit now. 🙂

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    • I’m not entirely sure I know what you’re referencing with the politicians..?

      I’m not trying to say that women can only be beautiful; that women can’t have other skills. Clearly they can. Shockingly, women are *people*. ;P

      This being said, I do think maybe beauty is the only universal currency afforded to women. It is the only thing that is expected from every woman – to be beautiful.
      Not all women are expected to cook/clean/be good at sports/bear children/be President/Take Over The World/whatever.
      However, a woman expected to do anything, is expected to do it while being beautiful.

      A man can say “I may not be pretty, but I’m strong!” and people don’t really care.
      If a woman says the same thing, she is immediately bombarded with feedback that her own priority of strength is unacceptable. She is required to be beautiful by men, and she is required to feel beautiful by women.

      What I’m trying to say is that maybe it would be cool if we could just let her set her own priorities, and go from there.

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