What Lies Beneath

“Beauty is, by far, the most dangerous of illusions. It is very much like
trying to peer at the ocean floor; it is far too beautiful on the surface to see
where it has been worn jagged.”

I wrote this as part of an essay in middle school and it has always just kindastayed with me. I love how accurate it is. We as a society put such a premium on beauty…what it means, what it can do for you, what defines it, how to attain it. And is it really that important?

I have been called beautiful all my life. Despite my multi-layered illusions of deep shallowness, I have never believed it. But here lies the problems with being considered “beautiful” (which, in my case, apparently just means because I am fairly light with long hair):

1. It causes people to assume you’restupid. ALL THE TIME AND WITHOUT FAIL.

2. It causes people to be irrationally intimidated by you.

3. You cannot and will not EVER be judged for anything but being attractive.

4. You suddenly become a bitch, or at least you are perceived as one.

5. You are no longer a person but rather an entity; an armpiece, trophy and/or template against which all future women will be judged.

6. You somehow IMMEDIATELY become a gold digger and/or groupie-video-hoe thing. Do you know how many videos I’ve been asked to do?

7. Did I mention people assume you’re stupid? Oh and if you happen to have a slight country accent as I do (being born and raised in the south and all), not only are you stupid, but you’re stupid and COUNTRY. Which might be worse.

There’s always been a part of me that resented being called “beautiful”. Especially because it is so often followed with some variation of the phrase, “I had NO IDEA you were so smart!!” And I mean what does it really mean anyway? Not much except you were lucky enough to inherit the right balance of features and genetics that all somehow mix together in an amalgamation that does not scare small children and animals. But what does it MEAN? Why is it so important? Why do people go through so much trouble when really, sometimes when you’re “beautiful” you wish someone would just compliment you on how funny/thoughtful/intelligent/kindhearted you are as more than just an afterthought.

So I know someone is shaking their head at me, at the sheer audacity of me calling myself beautiful, let alone having the gall to complain about it. But really, it hurts. It somehow strips you of the ability to be human, to be flawed, to feel pain. Somehow, because I am beautiful, my pain is less real, less valid? I couldn’t have possibly suffered in life because I am beautiful? Life is suddenly peachy for me because I am beautiful? There’s no way possible I have ever been left, ever had my heart broken, ever been lied to, deceived, manipulated because I’m pretty? How so? Because this has not been the case for me. Maybe I missed that particular pretty boat. Who knows?

But I challenge everyone to think differently. You know that one pretty friend you have that you’re always complimenting on her shiny hair/great breasts/abnormally flat stomach/nice butt/pretty smile/perfect makeup or some variation of the theme? Find something else to compliment her on that doesn’t have a thing to do with her appearance. I bet she’s dying to hear it.