Thursday, April 5, 2012

Why it's hard to be beautiful ...

I'm sure by now most of you have heard about the Samantha Brick fiasco of her writing an article about how hard it is has been all her life to be beautiful and how unfair people have been to her because of it.  First off, though I'm baffled as to why she thinks she is such a stunning beauty, I can also see how if she has a charming personality she could be very attractive.  Of course, that would be because of her personality - not her looks.  But then to me most people are like that - their personality and charisma over rides physical features.

There are three things that could be going on here and none of them are good in my opinion.  1) It is a farce.  In which case it is a tasteless and damaging farce because of how heavy-handed it is in the misogyny department (which is even more distasteful when the misogyny is coming from a woman).  2) Ms. Brick has just revealed to the entire world that she has a character disorder and/or mental/emotional illness to the point of being delusional, which is really sad.  Because someday she may get help and realize what's she's done and that would be devastating.  3) She did this for ratings and attention to further her career.  Which is also sad.  Really? You think it's worth it to turn on your own gender and make yourself look like a complete ass just to bring up readership?

This is my experience of being "beautiful".  First off, I have never thought I was beautiful and in fact have never even thought I was pretty.  At my worst I thought I was hideous.  But I actually have struggled most of my life with body issues which I know require therapy and a lot of re-learning to know myself and appreciate who I am.  But in my teens, twenties and early thirties I received a lot of feedback from people which eventually helped me to realize that for some strange reason a lot of people think I'm pretty ... or even beautiful.  I don't see it, but ok.  That's what it is.  I had endless lines of boys who had crushes on me, lots of lesbians had crushes on me, straight girls said if they were ever to want to be with a woman it would be me, gay guys said the same thing.  I have no clue why but that's just the way it was.

So, did anything bad ever come from being (or at least being perceived as) beautiful? No.  To me, it was a gift, the same way having a high IQ is a gift.  Or having a natural talent for something.  There is absolutely no downside to being beautiful.  In fact, with all my emotional troubles back then I'm not sure any guy would've looked twice at me had I not been "beautiful".  I think that it was a crutch in a way that guy's would initially overlook my emotional turmoil because of how attractive I was. (As I write this I still feel baffled because I still look back and say "But I wasn't beautiful at all - what was it that people saw???")

I'll tell you what the downside is.  It does not come from beauty or how anyone looks at all - the downside is believing that being pretty is the only worth a woman has.  And the belief that there is no romantic love other than lust and lust can only happen because of how a woman looks.  And sad to say, that downside afflicts many women no matter how they look, whether they have the stereotypical look that is considered "beauty" or not.  I would love to see the media stop propagating that kind of ridiculous mentality, but they never will.  Consumerism is based on the idea that none of us are ever enough:  we are not rich, pretty, successful or smart enough and never will be so we must keep buying, buying, buying.  So, hoping that the media will stop pushing women to believe that beauty is their only real value for being loved is like hoping that the Angler fish will stop putting out it's light to attract prey.

So, if we can't change the message the media sends out, we can at least change the message that we as individual women send out.  Even if we don't feel like we have worth for who we really are other than our looks, we can know that feeling is not reality.  Even if we feel like our husbands will leave us because we're middle-aged and don't look like a super-model, it doesn't mean it's reality (and if it it reality then I'd seriously question who you are married to and think about how it's better being alone or being with someone a lot more mature and less shallow and demeaning).  Every day I remind myself that there is a smart, interesting, loving person in this middle-aged body with a chronic illness, ten extra pounds, graying hair, excema on my hands and those damn witches hairs on my chin - and that is what matters in the world and to my friends and family.  And slowly I am starting to feel like that is reality - not the crap that the media spews or my immature belief that people only love me for how I look.  And it's important that women continue to validate that to other women too.  Unlike Samantha Brick.  Sister, you really dropped the ball on this one.  I'd keep your mouth shut for awhile now if you don't want to make yourself look even worse.

1 comment:

  1. Well said! I have my own point to make on my ridiculous fellow Brit... and seeing as she 'knows' I hate her anyway, I may as well let rip!