“I’m Not A Beautiful Woman. Please Stop Gas Lighting Me.”
I am growing more and more frustrated at my inability to speak on my experiences as a woman who isn’t classically attractive. It seems like any time I try, I get drowned out by well-meaning, but tone-deaf waterfalls of “You shouldn’t say that about yourself!/You’re beautiful/Everyone is beautiful,” which make those saying those things feel good, but leaves me feeling worse, because not only am I not being listened to when I talk about my experiences, but I feel like I’ve been lied to by someone who truly does not understand where I am coming from. So, to keep them comfortable, I shut up.
Society still sees beauty as one of the most important qualities a woman can have. It’s not exactly a leap of logic for those who fall outside of the definition of hot/pretty/beautiful to feel like they are constantly being told that they have less value, despite their other good qualities. That constant negativity is HARD. IT HURTS. I am a high-achieving woman, and I have had too many experiences of men who bring much much less to the table speaking to me as if they’re being charitable and tell me they’re “trying not to go for looks this time (Why, thanks for that reminder Pete! I forgot I’m not a model, that was a close one there. You’ve mastered the art of the compliment!! How are women not hurling their panties at you? /s).” I have also experienced women who behave in an objectively condescending way as well regarding this issue as if I’m a sad, helpless, charity case despite having a good track record of getting sh*t done and taking care of myself.
I generally consider myself a kind person. But I’m tired of having to try so goddamned hard to be kind to people who look at me with disgust, AND I’m tired of trying to explain to prettier friends that this happens to me. I’ve been shopping with one of my closest friends who is a total knockout on top of being an awesome person, and even when I’m the one spending money and trying to be friendly, they dismiss me in favor of her attention, when she’s not the one spending money or talking to the salesperson. And I love my friend, but when I tried to talk to her about what happened, she looked for any excuse that the situation was anything other than him trying to chat her up because she is objectively hotter than me. Maybe she doesn’t want to hold the idea that it is somehow her fault that I was treated badly? I’d hope not, because I definitely don’t blame any of that on her. I just wished she’d listen.
We need to STOP tying beauty with worth. Beauty isn’t a virtue in and of itself. It just isn’t. Spare me the ‘biological’ arguments. A woman with a crooked nose is no less healthy than a woman with a straight one, all other qualities being equal. And it needs to be okay for a woman to say objective things about her own appearance, even if they aren’t flattering. It needs to be okay for less beautiful women to be secure in the fact that her value is in her other qualities.
Am I saying that it’s impossible for a classically attractive to have difficulties? Of course not, I’m not stupid. But I am saying that those problems can be very different if people don’t think you’re pleasing to look at.
Am I saying it’s impossible for attractive women to be insecure? Again, of course not. But considering how much open contempt I have seen for ugly women for simply existing, I have to tell you, that hearing a classically attractive woman talk as if she understands what I’m dealing with because she’s self-conscious about a little cellulite is very different from worrying about whether or not the car driving down the road is going to call me an ugly cow and throw things at me again when I’m just out for a run. It isn’t the same.
Please, I beg you, if you have a friend who’s tried to talk about being ugly, please just listen.
I just needed to get this off my chest, since no one will listen to me.