Thursday, July 9, 2015

She's Not Even That Pretty

Tonight I went to go meet my family for dinner, and I as I was driving a random thought popped into my head. And let's be honest, that happens a lot. It's hardly noteworthy, but the thought was about how vicious females are towards one another for no other reason than jealousy or just generally being a bit of an asshole. There are so many ways in which we are terrible to each other, but this thought was focused on something more specific than just generally cattiness and shit-talking.

I'll share with you all a couple of experiences that demonstrate exactly the specific behavior I want to talk about.

Experience 1:
Back in college, I met a guy, Sam*, that later became my boyfriend (now ex-boyfriend). We met through mutual friends and hit it off. We were still just friends for a little while, but gradually started hanging out more at friends' parties. There was another girl, Stacy who was very much into Sam. Sam and Stacy had flirted a bit, but ultimately he wasn't really that into her. He decided that he wanted to pursue a relationship with me, and so we did. Well I found out a little while after that from a mutual friend of mine and Stacy's that when Sam decided he liked and wanted to date me that Stacy was pretty pissed. "I don't get it. She's not that pretty," Stacy told our mutual friend.

Experience 2:
Fast forward about four years to when I started my first non-retail job. I was a receptionist for X company, and pretty much from the beginning got on well with most of my coworkers. I had been warned about one female coworker in particular by the former receptionist. She told me that the female coworker probably already hated me because I was young and pretty. I told her that I appreciated the heads up and would be aware, but really I brushed it off as I'm not one who likes to get caught up in office politics and gossip. Well, as it was, I ended up being pretty good friends with the female coworker about whom I had been warned, so I chalked it up to a personality conflict between the former receptionist and my new friend, Beth. We eventually started going out for drinks at a bar a couple of blocks away from the office, and as time went on we became better friends. Then one night while we were at the bar, she told me that she felt bad because back when I first started, some of the guys in the office were talking about how hot I was, and she told me that as they were talking about me, all she could think was, "She's not even that pretty".

"She's not even that pretty."

"I don't get it. She's not that pretty."

Why is that necessary to point out? I mean, really. Why do we do this to one another? Do we think that by pointing out that the girl who got the guy or the girl who is "fresh meat" and therefore getting a lot of attention isn't pretty that somehow you'll be more attractive? I mean, what is this behavior? I get it, Stacy and Beth were jealous. I'm familiar with the emotion as my green-eyed monster has reared its ridiculous head numerous times. I've even been known to utter variances of the two above phrases in the past, so I know where it's coming from, but Jesus Christ, could we not? Why do we have to base someone's worthiness on their physical attractiveness? There is so much more to each and every one of us as a human being than the way our facial features and bodies are arranged. We have thoughts, feelings, opinions, and beliefs. I'm going to go a bit Tyler Durden on you for a minute: We are not our eyeliner. We are not our cheekbones. We are not our asses (which we already think is too big/too flat/too wide). We are not someone else's opinion of us.

Please stop doing this to each other.When women say things like this about other women, all it does is drag women down as a whole. We are in so many ways agreeing that there really is nothing more to us than how we look and how aesthetically pleasing we are to anyone with eyes. I mean, from the mouths of babes, amirite?

Everyone has insecurities. Women and men alike, but I don't know that I've ever heard a guy say to another guy, "Man, I just don't get it. Why did he/she pick him? He's not even that hot". I know that guys have their own way of guy bashing, but that's not what I'm focusing on this time around. This is about us ladies. We are hearing so much in the media these day about how famous women are standing up for Women's Rights and refusing to play the game of "Who Do You Think Is A Slut?", and I think that's wonderful because honestly so many of them are role models for other women. They're showing us that it's not cool or graceful to call someone a slut or a bitch or to fat/skinny shame. They're teaching us that everyone is beautiful and everyone has a purpose. While some of us already know that, others need that example to be set for them.

But the problem is that this type of dialogue still happens. It's great that famous women are standing up and saying that this type of behavior isn't acceptable, but it's not enough. Regular, everyday women need to take part as well. Realize that before you flippantly say that you don't think they're that pretty, maybe that woman thinks so too. And what has she done to hurt you? In most scenarios, nothing other than being a perceived threat by you. Maybe she has a thing you want and your jealousy over her having that thing caused long lasting damage to her self-esteem. I know, I know...a woman shouldn't even base her self-worth on how she looks, but let's be honest, most women want to be perceived as pretty. No woman has ever gone, "You know...I look rather like a gremlin. Let's take on the day!" Unless she is, in fact, a gremlin, in which case, I'm wrong and please carry on, Greta. And I know that there are a lot of women out there that couldn't spare a half a fuck if someone thinks she isn't pretty, and to be honest, I want to be those women when I grow up. I want to not care if someone says someone basically says that I'm not attractive, but I'm not there yet. It's so much easier said than done, and I hope to one day achieve that level of "go-fuck-yourself-I-couldn't-fucking-care-less-about-what-you-think-of-me"ness. Until then, please just shut up.

She's a strong, independent gremlin, and she don't need no validation.
I think that being pretty and beautiful is about so much more than if you have clear skin or perfect teeth or a perfectly symmetrical face (science, y'all). To me, being pretty is more about who you are as a person. It's being kind to those you meet. It's being a person who tries to do her best to do the right thing and to be a good person. It's having quirks that make you, you. It's knowing that just because someone has something doesn't make what you have any less meaningful or important. And it's a million other little things that make each person special and unique. 

Maybe it's possible that the guy chose the other girl because he thought you had an ugly personality. Maybe the other girl got a lot of attention because she was just being herself and seemed happy and was fun to talk to.

But here's the thing: Why does it matter to you so much that the guy chose the other girl? Why does it matter that the other girl is getting more attention than you at the moment? Why are you putting so much importance on what these guys think about the other girl and, by comparison, you? You are worth so much more than your looks too. So the guy didn't choose you or the guys are fawning over the new girl...big, fat, fucking whoop. You are also worth more than being that guy's girlfriend and you are worth so much being a nice piece of ass. It's time to start acting like it.

Maybe the next time you're in a situation where a guy you like decides he's not that into you and decides to pursue another girl (or no one at all), you move the fuck on because why would you want to be with someone who doesn't want to be with you or whom you have to convince to give it a shot? Give yourself more credit than that, lady! Your value is not based your dating status. And maybe the next time you hear the guys talking about what a hot piece of ass the new employee is you shut that shit down. And not by saying you don't see what all the fuss is about because she's not all that pretty. Do it by calling them on their shit. Saying something like, "Seriously? You assholes do realize that she's more than just a walking vagina, right? I heard that she knows Krav Maga and ripped off a guy's testicles by accident in her last tournament. And she killed a bear. I think it was at the same tournament." But you also don't want to start terrible rumors, so maybe follow it up with, "Just kidding about the Krav Maga thing, but I'm if sure if HR wouldn't fire her, she'd rip off your testicles if she overheard you saying that shit about her." I don't know. Like I said, I don't do office politics, so you pick the dialogue- just make sure it doesn't include your opinion of her attractiveness.

It's possible that right now some of you might be thinking this is all hippie-dippie, Kumbaya bullshit, but I assure you it's not. You think that it's not your responsibility to coddle the people with low self-esteem.

"Just get better self-esteem!" you might shout. Well, thank God you're here. Why didn't we think of that? Shit...we've wasted all of this time not loving everything about ourselves (which we should because, let's be honest, we're goddamn rock stars) when we should have just taken a trip down to the Self-Esteem store and picked up some fresh, new and improved self-esteem! Egads, you're right! Also you're not helping. I don't even want to hear your thoughts on depression.

"Why do you care what other people think about you? It sounds like you're the problem, not them...get over yourself and stop being so sensitive!" you chant, which to be honest is a fucking weird chant to have. Do you see how long that chant is? It's ineffective. Also you're an asshole. Do better.

"How am I supposed to know if someone has self-esteem issues, and my comment is going to hurt them terribly?" I'm glad you asked. You don't. You never know if someone is battling with cripplingly low self-esteem. I don't know where everyone gets the idea that in order to have shitty self-esteem you have to look like this:

A lot of people I've known had low self-esteem, but you never would have known by looking at them. We don't come with a flashing neon sign. So to answer your question simply: you don't know what everyone's issues are so just be kind.

It's really that simple.

*All names have been changed