It would seem that on the mountain top of things women are 'supposed to' aspire to sits PRETTY while on the top of the male mountain top sits AMBITION. Pretty (by 'Pretty' I mean like a model, what TV/Movies/Magazines/Media parade and proclaim as the pinnacle of perfection not as in what a beautiful person is or even what I find pretty to be) is pretty f%$king boring.
-By Leah Bonnema (Stand Up Comic)
I'm starting a new blog series called I Got Issues that will focus on social and/or political subjects. This first piece covers a topic near and dear to my emotional eating heart: the value of pretty.
Pretty as a goal takes root at the very beginning in how we, as a culture, raise our girls: princess parties, glitter, dolls, tv shows with people who look the same, all mixing together with the need for acceptance to create what I like to call The Pretty Problem. Society pressures people to look and act a certain way; to stand outside the cookie cutter mold is to be criticized.
But at a certain point we all grow up and aren't in high school anymore. Shouldn't we know that it doesn't matter, that people in magazines are airbrushed, that striving towards a perfect way of looking (that doesn't even actually exist) substantially limits ones possibilities?!
Many people do say positive things to little girls like: You can an engineer (which my parents tried to do but somewhere along the line I got side tracked with thoughts of Hey-why don't I look like all these Cinderella biatches, those chics get everything. Then it takes another ten years to realize that those princess roles aren't all they're cracked up to be and by then you've not felt 'good enough' for a decade.
I'm not saying that I don't think I'm attractive, I'd totally f&%k me. But I am saying that if I were to regret one thing (as a general rule I don't do regrets as nothing good seems to come of them) it would be that I wish I had been proud of being on the math team, comfortable with how much I loved storytelling and living in a made up Star Wars like world and focused on working at the skills needed to create my own reality instead of wasting time wishing I fit into someone else's version of what my reality should be or should look like. It took me a long time to say "I don't care if you think I'm pretty, I'm funny."
There's a ripple of rumors out there in society that women have to be young and attractive while men can be old and getting young tail or that odd looking rockers get a buffet of beautiful booty and that it would not work the other way around. Well I think that if roles were reversed, the equivalent of a female Hugh Hefner could be as busted and old as he is and I bet she'd have a harem of hotties at her beck and call. I postulate that if I played guitar like Steve Vai I'd have a line of groupie dick around the block no matter how hard I'd been beaten with the ugly stick.
Maybe the problem is that we (women) are wasting time looking to be chosen, instead of putting the time into being in a position where we become the ones who get to choose? (I rewrote this numerous times both because I feel guilty writing it and because I'm trying to convince myself that if I just take a more proactive stance sexism will cease to exist. I'm also hungry from eating baby food in order to fit back into my jeans from a decade ago so who's the hypocritical asshole?!)
Humpty says "I'm really funny looking/Thats alright cause I get things cooking"
Take Adele, who IS a beautiful girl, but I'm using her as an example because she gets so many ridiculous comments about her weight. Adele is not making a living as a runway model, the broad can SING. So what does her weight have to do with anything?! It doesn't. It was so apparently clear at the Grammys, when other acts might have had lights, glitter, sound effects, half naked people flouncing about, Adele stood there and belted. Girl got talent. She doesn't have to add bells and whistles. Does she get critical comments and douchebags mentioning looks? Yes. Did it stop her from rising to the top? No. Because she is that good.
As an aside, do we really think Adele's songs would be so heartfelt and honest if she was all American Apparel. No. They'd sound like every other song where I can't tell who the artist is because they're exactly like the next piece of ass candy coming down the assembly line. Show me an artist who has always had it easy, who is exactly as "they should be" and I'll show you art that that has no depth.
"Perfect Pretty" isn't even real. Can we all move on now.
There has been much talk about Stephen Hawking, his sex clubbing ways, that he is twice divorced, that if Stephen was a Stephanie dudes wouldn't be hopping a ride the Hawking train. I call BS - get me a female who postulated that black holes emit radiation and I'll get you someone who does what they want regardless of gender, age, physicality, etc. I'd tap that quantum physics ass because he is genius. I would say the exact same thing if he was a she and sported a ladyloveglove. When we say "Why doesn't he have to be good looking" we're still assuming that the value is pretty.
Be who you are - not how other's tell you you should be seen
I mentally rub one out on the regular to Eleanor Roosevelt. It's lucky for us that Elizabeth Cady Stanton didn't spend all her time at the salon. I bet Margaret Thatcher got mad offers. Harriet Tubman probably had hotties all along the Underground Railroad but was all: Sorry, I got things I have to do. Lives to save. A world to make better. I'm not saying these women were unattractive, I'm saying it's irrelevant because they had other extraordinary ambitions. I didn't hear Indira Gandhi asking "Do you think I'm pretty" every five to ten minutes.
I don't recall what size suit Rosa Park's was wearing when she CHANGED THE WORLD
Of course it has its benefits to look like whats her face who looks like every other whats her face. Of course people (men and women) get chosen based on certain types. Of course I will always be fighting the 'Do I look ok's. Of course appearance does make a difference. But should that be the focus instead of working on getting better at something, of being so good you are undeniable?! I bet Whoopi Goldberg would vote no to that one. I'm sure Billie Jean King would say neigh. I'd gander that Marie Curie would've checked nopers as well. Women who dare don't give a f&%k about social expectation.
Don't drink the kool aid. Julia Roberts' role in Pretty Woman is of no more value than Kathy Bates' in Misery. Yeah there will always be some asshole (male or female) making comments about how women should look, some street (or YouTube) heckler screaming 'Yo ugly bitch' or relatives saying "You'd just be so much prettier if you changed your hair" - it's up to us to know that those comments have no value.
Of course everyone wants to feel attractive and look good (men and women) but placing appearance as a commodity above other things is like placing all your self worth on something someone else gets to decide. Something that's not even real. I'll tell you what Stephen Hawking didn't do, he didn't sit around at home waiting for someone to call him pretty.
Do we want to be great at something, change the world, or do we want to be the decoration on it
I'd put money down that you could be a one-eyed, 75 year, bathrobe wearing, old broad but if you worked really hard at something, like if you wrote and produced your own sci-fi series and it had its own channel, you'd have dudes filling your mansion (if you so chose) dressed up in little spandex outfits designed by you. Then some 15 year old girl might say: F&%k this home coming queen bullshit, I need to get home to write. I wanna be like that one-eyed old dame, she gets mad dick and makes her own money, and she don't even have to diet.
I'm not saying it's easy, but is it really easy for anyone?!