“I understand that we live in a culture where “beautiful” and “female” have a long and complicated relationship. I know that women want to comfort each other through the hurt of living in an air-brushed, surgically-enhanced, Top Model, Cover Girl society. I also know that the word “beautiful” can be used to describe the inner person and not just their looks. But I have to wonder if we’re really doing ourselves more harm than good when we insist on giving beauty such a dominant space in the sphere of women’s lives and conversations. Even in “acceptance” movements, beauty is a central theme.
Why is not okay to be un-beautiful? Why is it so painful to admit a lack of objective beauty where it may not, in any objective sense, exist?” “
“Why does the matriarchy feel so drawn to steeping itself in assurances of beauty? Not that I’m using men as a role model, but they don’t tip-toe around the subject of physical attractiveness, stopping to console each other that their beer bellies, balding heads and scarred faces are really, truly beautiful. They don’t insist on denying their realities or the realities of other men by promoting the concept that all men are “handsome” in their own way. Instead, they have come to take for granted a patriarchy where “handsome” may be a gift, but unattractiveness is really not that big of a deal.
I wish we’d get there. I suspect that when women quit focusing so much on beauty, theirs and other women’s — whether physical or in the broad sense of personality — that we will be able to change our real-world consequences. We will be more truthful, more realistic, more effective and therefore more tangibly helpful to one another.”
“We’re never going to make it okay to not be physically beautiful if we don’t get off this beauty kick we’ve been on for so long. We’re not going to change our futures and those of other women as long as “beautiful” remains a priority. We’re not going to change the culture that places such an inordinately high premium on female attractiveness as long we keep promoting beauty myths through the lies we tell ourselves and each other.”
These are all quotes from Jane Devin’s Please Don’t Tell Me I’m Beautiful.
Usually I am the first one to say that every woman is beautiful, even if society says they aren’t. Devin however, gives a different take on the situation. I don’t think she’s wrong at all. Maybe the American culture isn’t wrong, maybe it’s just us women who take it too seriously.
It takes a strong woman to know what she is and what she isn’t. It takes a strong woman to know what she can and cannot do (because most of us think that we’re Superwoman). And lastly, it takes a strong woman to know what she deserves and when she deserves better whether it be in love, career, and just life in general.
Maybe, we should start caring less about what our “culture” is, and start taking ourselves more seriously.