Women are almost supposed to hate the way they look. That’s honestly how I feel sometimes. I remember days of sitting in my sorority house listening to my sisters complain about their bodies, their faces and their hair, and feeling like I was expected to join in, like it was some sort of womanly ritual to demean and belittle ourselves, fish for compliments, brush them off, and try and fail to diet. The trope of women asking their partners if they look fat is such a phenomenon there are countless articles available for hapless men trying to answer correctly.
I believe that part of this behavior (not the biggest part, perhaps, but an important part) stems from the deep-rooted cultural stigmatism that goes along with vanity.Vanity is Evil with a capital E. It is much better to be seen as the young, nubile, quirky young woman who doesn’t know she’s pretty or even care about her looks at all then to be the vain, egotistical, self-serving bitch. Isn’t that why protagonists in movies aren’t allowed to think that they are pretty until after the huge makeover and the dramatic reveal?
We’re conditioned to believe that egotism and vanity and pride are terrible qualities. Worse we believe that other people’s beauty and their belief in their beauty somehow makes us less beautiful. When the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show came around, a close friend of mine confided that she didn’t want to watch it because it made her feel inadequate. I told her that the beauty of the models on screen and her personal beauty weren’t mutually exclusive. Yes, there are plenty of very good-looking women on this planet. That doesn’t make us less so.
A few months ago, Samantha Brick made waves by talking about the downsides of being beautiful, and she was publicly villanized for her opinion. Here’s an article where she talks to other women who feel the same way she does. Even briefly reading through the comments, I see people calling her vapid, deluded, ugly, bitchy, catty and all sorts of other words I’d rather not repeat. I personally find this to be horrific. Has Samantha Brick made some tactless remarks in the media? Yes. Could she have presented her case in a better way? Possibley. Does she deserve to be attacked because she believes she’s good-looking? Absolutely not.
I’m about to admit something controversial. Much like Samantha Brick, I happen to think I’m very good-looking. I wake up most mornings, look at myself in the mirror, and think, dayummmm I’m hot today. Yes, I have bad days, but I have an overwhelmingly high opinion of my personal looks.
Just because I think I’m pretty doesn’t mean I think my friends and family aren’t attractive. I happen to hang out with a very attractive group of people. That’s the luck of the draw. I hang out with them because they have proven themselves to be amazing, supportive, and fun.
THIS IS THE IMPORTANT PART. Traditionally, this is the part where I’d post a picture of myself in knickers so that all my internet readers could totally agree with how super hot I am. Guess what. Nope. Because internet, your opinion on my looks is completely irrelevant. I could look like Gollum in drag. I’d still rather think I’m good-looking than spend half my day poking at my love handles and slathering makeup on.
I want my readers to know that it’s okay to think you’re damn hot. It’s okay not to belittle yourself to fit in. And guess what, it’s okay to try to stop your friends from hating the way they look.We need to change the conversation on self love and self pride, and making fun of people who are maybe a little vain isn’t going to help.
Guess what, internet. I’m hot as hell. And you are too.