handsome/pretty privilege

I consider myself one of the luckier ones in the genetic lottery, if I do say so myself. As much as we (including myself) like to tell ourselves that looks don’t matter, the unfortunate truth is that they do. It’s deeply embedded in most of our subconscious.

So I would rate myself, on a good day, a “7 out of 10”. I refuse to quantify beauty for others, because that’s terribly demeaning for them as the score reduces their person to their mere appearance which they never had a choice in shaping. But for the sake of this post, I will do it for myself, just to show that I am aware of how I am viewed by others.

I recognise that having a nice face vastly alters the way some people treat you, compared to other more regular faces.

I ask a few questions in class, and I can feel like I’m already the teacher’s pet.

I am approached by people (men… boys.) who just expect me to be friendly.

People think I’m being “interesting as usual” when I’m actually being snippy at the moment.

I’m instantly liked by 90% of a group of strangers the moment I enter a room.

Am I being overconfident, too cocky, over my head about my SHEER BEAUTY?? I don’t think so.

I can’t stand it. It’s not about “being grateful” or not. By giving me this chance I never had to work for, I constantly feel like I don’t deserve it, because… I don’t deserve it. I am forced to live up to your expectations of being nice, having the ability to do well academically. As much as I do strive to do those because that’s part of my actual personality, I am rather put off by the fact people expect that of me because of how I look, not how I actually behave (because they never got the chance to observe me intently enough). It’s stressful.

On top of that, it’s absolutely unfair and discrediting to the people around me, who never got the opportunity of letting their personality or abilities shine 100% just because I unwittingly steal the attention from them.

I feel like I’m being terribly incoherent right now, and I apologise. I just wanted to rant because a niggling feeling at the back of my mind during my interactions with certain people constantly make me second guess my credibility. For example:

“Are they complimenting my personality/intelligence ’cause I look pretty?” (notice the irony)

“Why is she addressing me this way and not the rest of the class, I didn’t even do anything??”

“Wow I just said something so vapid. Why is everyone not judging me for being vapid, and instead, seriously considering my words?”

It’s terrible. I’m terrible. And I’ll never improve if no one stands up to smack me in my pretty face by rebutting me or giving me honest feedback, instead of keeping their thoughts to themselves not out of mere “politeness”, but fear of committing a social faux pas of “offending a pretty girl”.

I lament for having more credit given to me than I deserve, and being subjected to less automatic societal regulations than I should be.

I blab. Rant over.

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appearance

I tell myself to be confident, to accept and love who I am and how I look, that even if I’m not beautiful by anyone else’s standards, I can be by mine.

But some days, when I look in the mirror, I feel so, so ugly, the blemishes on my skin like flashing neon signs against a plain background. I feel too ashamed to step out of the house to let the public see me, judge me, use me to make themselves feel better.

As much as I like to believe no one is going to bother looking at me for more than two seconds, what if, what if they do?

“jesus she should have put on make-up”

“thank goodness I wasn’t born with that kind of skin”

“is she allergic to something in the air”

Noise in other people’s heads. Noise in my own head.

Why do I look this way? “Ugly.” I don’t want to look this way.

But it’s okay to look this way.

Why do I think this way? “I’m ugly.” I don’t want to think this way.

And it’s okay to think this way.

Because I’ll think another way another day. Tomorrow I’ll be beautiful.