Pretty Girl (Dis)Privilege

Jordan Shorter, Staff Writer

In the past, I would have never written an article like this, simply because I wouldn’t have really cared to do so. At first glance, this topic may seem very shallow and unimportant, but it is something that I feel needs to be addressed.

Over the past year, I have noticed people treating me a certain way because, in their eyes, I’m “pretty.” I don’t walk around gloating about how beautiful I think I am, but people often come up to me and tell me. Although one may think that being complimented on their outside appearance is uplifting, it also has some negative aspects. I know that I am certainly not the first person to go through this, and I feel that I speak for many when I say that I am tired of the assumptions that people make about me based just on my look.

For starters asking someone, “You are so pretty, how are you single?” is NOT at all a compliment; or at least it isn’t to me. I’m 16 years old and have other priorities, college for instance. I know that my peers mean well are just kidding, but to me it’s sort of insulting. Sure, I am pleased that in other people’s eyes I am physically attractive; but by adding that in, it takes away from the compliment. People make it seem like my looks are all I have going for me, and that honestly hurts my feelings.

Secondly, assuming that someone can’t possibly be insecure because of their perceived beauty is just straight up annoying. I’m allowed to pick myself apart from time to time, because it’s normal. I’m allowed to not be 100% content with my appearance all of the time, because there is no possible way I could be. There is no living, breathing human being who has never had a physical insecurity, no matter how minor it could be.

Regardless of how well people may fit society’s ideals, they are still just as susceptible to being insecure. This goes way deeper than just outer appearance. Just by common observations, I’ve noticed that there is a fairly consistent double standard. Thinner people shouldn’t talk badly about themselves, attractive girls shouldn’t voice their insecurities, people that get good grades should never be disappointed with their marks, a star athlete is looked at sideways if they lack even a little bit of confidence, because they are supposed to “carry the team.” Why is this? Who made the rules for who gets to feel badly for themselves and who doesn’t?

I’m not advocating for pity parties, because they really don’t get you anywhere; but I am advocating for people to simply be more understanding of one another, and allow people to feel however they want to feel in the moment.

The truth is, sometimes I don’t want to wear makeup, or look exceptionally nice for school. I definitely feel pressure to maintain my “pretty girl” image. Whenever I wear yoga pants or a baggy hoodie, I always get comments like, “Wow Jordan, you’re taking it chill today.” Once when I didn’t wear makeup, I had a teammate ask me if I was sick. That really made me question whether the “good looks” that many claim I have are even natural. Ever since then, whenever I am makeup free, I hear this voice in the back of my head telling me I look “sick” and making me feel significantly less pretty. Whenever I go for a more “casual look” I try to make fun of myself first, so I don’t receive snarky comments.

I don’t want to make it seem like I don’t greatly appreciate it whenever people say something nice about my looks, because it really does make me happy. I am just tired of people invalidating my problems and assuming I should be happy just because on their eyes, I’m good looking. That makes absolutely no sense.

Because of the various comments I receive, I am constantly wondering how I look in the eyes of others. I found myself so consumed with my looks, that I would actually cry if my makeup wasn’t “perfect,” or get frustrated if I couldn’t pick out the right outfit. There are so many misconceptions that pretty girls truly have it all. I’m not denying that there is a slight privilege in certain situations where an exceptionally attractive person is involved; however, to assume that people shouldn’t and can’t feel certain emotions because of their looks is absolutely ridiculous to me. We should all have compassion, and realize that looks truly aren’t everything. Someone who looks very well put together on the outside could really be struggling on the inside, and people in general should be more sensitive to that.