“Oh you’re so pretty! For, you know, a big person.”
Have you ever had that?
Or similarly, you get “You’re actually quite pretty. If you lost weight you’d be so beautiful.”
So you can be fat or you can be pretty, but you can’t be both because fat only equals ugly.
It’s not just if you’re overweight either. You get it for any label that is deemed outside of The Acceptable Box. Pretty for a lezzer, pretty for a black person, pretty for a disabled person.
“If you did your hair like this, and wore that, and made more of an effort you could look amazing!”
“What a shame you’re in a wheelchair, you’re quite pretty otherwise”
“I can’t believe you’re into women, such a waste of a pretty face”
What infuriates me the most is that, in my case, if someone sees a photo of my face they can’t tell any of these damming labels other than the colour of my skin. When presented with just my face they deem me worthy and attractive. Yet once they realise my face comes with my body they quickly change their tune. Suddenly I’m unattractive and they’re horrified that they considered me to be pretty. Then come all the digs… “You should be ashamed of yourself”, “You really should lose some weight you know”, “If only you were thin, then you’d be okay”. [Insert expletives here]
It’s silly though because nothing has changed about me or how I look. The only thing that has changed is their attitude. It’s the same when coming out to a homophobic person. I’m exactly the same person they’ve always known and liked, but the new information has made THEM different, not me. It’s purely judgmental and discriminatory, and just goes to show that we have all these rigid fixed ideas of what is right and what is wrong. When faced with a ‘right’ mixed with a ‘wrong’ we don’t know how to cope. And rather than try and relearn what we have been taught, we lash out, borne out of fear that we are liking something we’ve been told we mustn’t.
Again, it all stems from it being drilled into us that we have to look and be a certain way to be good enough. Your worth is not defined by any label. If your worth is dependent on anything it’s on having a good heart and a kind soul, but more than anything it’s based on how you value yourself. Labels were created to help us identify one another, yet instead they have become weapons to divide us and tear us down.
We are all different and therefore have our own definition of worth and beauty. Just because someone has a different definition to you doesn’t mean they are wrong or less worthy. It’s about respecting each other for who they are and what they look like, even if it differs from what you consider to be ‘right’ because only we get to say what is right for us. Find your version of happy and healthy, and shine!
P.S I’m pretty. Full-stop. No disclaimer needed.