Tuesday, May 5, 2015

What It Means To Be Pretty

When do girls first learn that being pretty matters? Where does the pressure to be pretty come from? Is there a difference between pretty and beautiful? What makes you feel beautiful? What advice do you have for girls who don’t feel pretty? These are the questions posed by Buzzfeed’s video titled “What It Means to Be Pretty” (watch it below). These days, everyone has something to say on this topic, and that’s because no matter who you are, you have had an experience with “pretty.” This includes all ages, genders, races, and classes. Every woman at some point or another has felt pressure to be pretty. In this video, the women share their experiences. Of course, most of what they were saying spoke to me. And why? Because pretty has power.


I distinctly remember in elementary school when I first felt the pressure to be pretty. To me, it meant the boys only liked pretty girls and no guys liked me, so I was not pretty. That is something that has carried into my adult life. However, I have always felt a sense of beauty. I always had a grasp on who I am as a person. I can see my own strengths and I value them. I can easily define myself in terms of beauty. I can tell you how I love to make other people feel good. I can tell you how much I appreciate my friends and let them know. I can tell you that I shine so I can be the light in other people’s lives. That is easy for me. It matters to me. And it matters to other people. But for some reason, beauty doesn’t matter as much. Beauty is an easy thing to grasp, but pretty is not. I cannot sit here and explain to you the exact reason why pretty people have more power in our culture. For me, it still has to do with boys. Looks wise, I do not consider myself to be above average, but I know I am an attractive person. Pretty? I don’t know. But I look at other girls who have the dates and the boyfriends and I see them as prettier than me. I personally never felt validated until this past year when guys showed interest in me for the first time when guys showed interest in me for the first time.  Why should that be okay?
This is me feeling very beautiful.
via Instagram
 
I honestly can’t answer my own question. But I want to answer a different one. What advice do you have for girls who don’t feel pretty? My advice is that you should focus on your own beauty. The right people (even guys) will value that. This year, I was in counselling and my counsellor went through breathing exercises at the beginning of our session. One of the things she said during this time is to “connect with the strengths and resources that lie within you.” In our last session, she asked me what those strengths were. I am good with my words. I know that words have an effect on people, and I can phrase things in ways that make my friends feel good. I can articulate my problems in ways that solve issues quicker. I have a big heart. This is a blessing and a curse, but I openly love so many people. I hold people close to my heart, and everyone has a place. People see that and are drawn to it. I have maturity. This has carried me through so many social situations. I have been able to see the overall perspective and take the higher road. I have been the bigger person, and knowing that makes me feel good about myself. It also leads me to live my life without regrets.
Recognizing and valuing my strengths has given me a clear sense of my own beauty, and I invite you to search yourself and connect to your own.

-Daniella