There’s a beauty product company that’s doing a promotion to encourage the idea that all body types are beautiful. It’s always bothered me, and not because I think that if you fall outside the classic norm you should hate yourself or feel bad about yourself.
What bothers me is that the most important way a woman is to be valued is whether or not she is considered beautiful.
Pretty is not the rent I pay on this earth for occupying the space marked “female”. I don’t owe the world pretty. My value in this world isn’t higher because I am pretty or not. So I don’t need a commerical reassuring me that even though I’m fat, I’m beautiful anyway, as if it’s a pat on the head to reassure me I’m still valuable. Damn right I’m valuable. I’m smart. I have good insights. I’ve learned things I can teach people. Hell, when I was a teenager, and frankly considerably better looking than Susan Boyle, if offered the chance to take her looks if it meant her voice went with it, I’d’ve taken it in a red-hot minute. The fact I don’t sing well has always bothered me more than the fact I’m not movie-star material.
Whether or not I am beautiful is immaterial in the face of what kind of parent I am, how I treat my fellow human beings, whether or not anyone’s lives are going to be enriched from knowing me or not — not how goddamned decorative I am. I am a living, breathing human being. The idea that because I’m female I should somehow be ornamental if I want to be valued drives me up a wall.
The message that it’s okay to be fat because you’re still pretty is totally getting it wrong (and yes, there are plenty of fat people who are very attractve, indeed!). The message should be: Pretty is a value (and c’mon, pretty is nice to look at), but it’s hardly the only value and certainly not the most important one!