I’ve spent the past few days asking myself, “Do I feel pretty with no makeup on?” When my initial reaction was, “No,” I felt like a bad feminist, but then I realized: Being pretty doesn’t matter.
Before you say, “But in this society it does matter, and why is it wrong to want to be pretty?!” Trust me, I hear you. But consider this: What are the first words you use to describe yourself?
What I See
When I look in the mirror, I see a confident, strong, opinionated and brave woman. Pretty is never the first word that comes to mind when I think of who I am. Chances are it’s not what you think of first either. So why do we put so much worry into feeling pretty if it’s not what defines us as women?
It’s hard to feel pretty, and it’s no wonder. Flip open a fashion magazine and you’ll find the latest makeup that promises to airbrush your flawed skin. We look at the people around us and feel less than. But why?
A few years ago, I read a speech the late David Foster Wallace, and what he said resonated with me:
There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship . . . is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive . . . Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you.
If what we worry about as women is our appearance, then we will never get past the feeling that nothing will ever make us pretty enough. Focus on what makes your character and not what you put on top of our skin. There’s nothing wrong with liking or using makeup. And it shouldn’t matter if it makes you feel pretty because that is only one component that makes you who you are.
Letting Go of Pretty
So I say: Let go of pretty! Are you with me?