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What Is Prettiness (and Why’s It Matter)?

9 comments | April 2nd, 2012

(story originally submitted as a comment to Distortion, by Mir)

What is it about prettiness that makes us care so much (me included)?

We fight “you’re not pretty” messages with “yes you are, everyone’s pretty!” messages. We don’t feel a need to tell everyone that they’re athletic, or agile, or a story-teller, or musical, or scientific-minded, or a great linguist. We accept that there are degrees of talent or luck and if you’re at the low end of these, that’s fine. Go be great at the things you’re great at.

Kind-of drives home how much prettiness matters, which is just weird.  {end story}
 

Why do we care so much about "prettiness"?  Do you care about prettiness?  What do you think pretty is?

9 comments

  • GdeH

    Posted on April 2, 2012

    I’m going to dispense with all the “pretty is how you look and feel on the inside” stuff. Pretty matters because we live in a culture where we do judge books by their covers. Pretty matters because men and women (and girls and boys) alike, give more currency to pretty than ugly. Pretty matters because who wouldn’t want to be prettier than not?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted on April 2, 2012

    I have cared about being “pretty” since I was a little girl. My mom would look at me and as unhesitatingly say “you don’t look very pretty in that” as she would tell me that I did. Being pretty in my mom’s eyes mattered more than being pretty in my own eyes. Even since she’s been gone, I always hear her voice in my head when I get dressed and look in the mirror.

    If I ever have a daughter, she will never hear the word “pretty” from me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted on April 2, 2012

    I don’t know why it matters just that I don’t feel very pretty today. I wish I did.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted on April 2, 2012

    I don’t think it makes much difference how many people tell you you’re pretty, if you don’t feel it inside it’s not worth much

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  • BK

    Posted on April 2, 2012

    I remember going through a very awkward phase in middle school. Then things changed, at least in other people’s eyes. It was so weird. All of a sudden boys started paying attention to me, wanting to hook up with me. I didn’t think things were all that different, but the outside world thought it was. It kind of sucked.

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  • JS

    Posted on April 3, 2012

    My dad never told me I was pretty when I was growing up. Looks weren’t even an issue. He spoke to me as an equal. We discuss real issues when we talk. I am usually amazed when people tell me I am pretty. I am. However, pretty is something I rarely worry about because I was loved and accepted by my family without ever bringing up looks. Recently I started calling my sons “handsome” and “beautiful” as an experiment. We all found it a hilariously shallow way to refer to each other. I hope they remember that when they start thinking about girls. :)

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  • AshleyR.

    Posted on April 3, 2012

    Pretty matters because it’s how we compare people to choose a mate. If you’re less pretty you’re less likely to have the mate of your choice, and will have to settle for someone who’s not the best looking guy/girl in the herd of people we experience every day. By calling someone ugly, you’re saying they don’t cut it to better the species(but you are right?). By calling someone ugly, you’re elevating your own status(in your head)as a human being because you’re arrogant enough to believe you’re grade A choice. While some people might disagree, I think this pretty much answers itself. Beauty is something everyone can compete in because we all have bodies and faces. Unlike special talents, we can’t visually compare even if someone were to show case. So, we just have to learn to get over ourselves. I think we are all guilty of this at some point. Ah, Humanity…

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  • Alladither

    Posted on May 8, 2012

    I read this just as I’m about to leave the house to get $500 injections in my lips. I’m feeling intense guilt and shame. But also a little excitement. I care deeply about pretty. And I wish I didn’t.

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