Pretty Privilege: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

Next on the list: beauty shouldn’t f****** matter.

Mirror, pretty privilege
UNSPLASH Steven Lasry

Pretty privilege is real, and it’s a problem. But there’s a side to the issue that hasn’t really been discussed.

Beauty is subjective. Every single human on this Earth has a different opinion, concept and idea of what it looks like. My mom has always said, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and I think that’s something that most people forget.

There’s always going to be dissent. People are going to have their opinions, and they’re going to have something to say. You could be a household name like Kim Kardashian, and the world will still plant those negative body comments.

No one wins. I know it looks like there’s a clear-cut winner, but that’s not the case. In this system, everyone loses.

So, the first take away from this: beauty is subjective, and prettiness doesn’t belong to any one person. Next on the list: beauty shouldn’t f****** matter.

I mean it does, or it can, but one step at a time.

How are people – like Miss Kimberly – losing in this scenario, you may ask? Well, let’s think about it.

In the systematic idea of pretty privilege, people on either side are objectified. Right?

But this is especially true of “pretty” people, who are valued mainly, if not entirely, for their appearance. This is obscured from our vision a little because we just conceptualize prettiness as a privilege which – *cough cough* – society tells us to do.

In diminishing someone’s worth to his/her appearance, we’re really just degrading him/her as a person. What about that kick-ass attitude? Or slap-stick humor?

Our culture is so geared towards appearance as a measurement of value, which is harmful to those who don’t fit that mold. But I think we should recognize that it’s also detrimental to those who do. It’s just all-around bad.

This idea bases tremendous worth on how a person looks, which just shouldn’t matter. Pretty privilege is a social construct. The reason it exists is because people – actively or unconsciously – give it power.

Photo by Mathilde Langevin on Unsplash

And while the industry is making moves to curb this, it remains to be deeply established. I mean, this stuff is culturally-ingrained.

We can’t resolve pervasive issues like these overnight, but we can work on ourselves.

A lot of the crap that goes into concepts like these are based around comparative politics. If we didn’t let others determine our self-worth, we’d be much happier.

So, takeaway: appearance isn’t everything. In fact, it’s not even a fraction of a fraction of your worth. But if it matters to you, own it. Just know that you’re doing it for yourself, and not for other people.

Audrey Hepburn – fashion icon during the Golden Age of Hollywood – wanted to change several aspects of her appearance, most of which “made” her career. So, while she was considered one of the most beautiful women of her time, even she wasn’t content with how she looked.

Everyone struggles with something. You just never know.

While someone who’s considered traditionally “beautiful” might have this kind of extraneous privilege, you never know what that person is going through, and you never know what that might be costing them.

And maybe, quite honestly, they’re just not seeing what you’re seeing.

We must learn to love each other. But most importantly—and obviously—learn to find that love for ourselves.

We need to keep in mind that we’re all human, and part of the human condition is being imperfect. It’s simply in our nature.

So, in a way, maybe we are perfectly imperfect.

Samantha Bertolino

Content Editor Associate

Samantha is a Connecticut native and an avid lover of reading, writing and poetry. She spent two months in Florence, where she studied business and the architecture of old chapels, in addition to developing a taste for espresso and tea.)

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