On Appearances

It was once said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but commercialism and our modern, capitalist society has shifted the definition of beauty from subjective to objective. I know that I’m generally considered to be pretty. I know this because I’ve made a profit off of it for the majority of my adolescence. I know this because of the way men stare at me when I’m walking in public, and because of the strange facebook guys from third world countries who friend me, like all of my photos, and send me suggestive messages. I know this because of the differential treatment I receive in stores, classrooms, and family reunions. I know this because of the way people in a group setting will magically turn to me for leadership, before they learn that I’m a passive, spacey follower. I know this because almost every stranger asks me for directions, not knowing that I’m as lost as they are (perhaps I should wear a sign that says: I’m directionally-challenged, don’t bother asking). I know this because it’s the first comment that people will make to my parents when they meet me, including my college counselor’s first report which began: she’s indubitably attractive. I know this because my peer will ask a question, and the recipient will answer at length to me while I awkwardly nod, trying to seem interested. I know this because I’ve been through a series of boyfriends, all of whom without exception have been unable to come up with a reason for liking me within the first few months besides my appearance (the ones who have stuck around luckily were able to tolerate my quirky personality). I know this because of the mean looks I get from girls that are forced into the same circle as me, but cannot come up with a legitimate reason for disliking me and are consequently forced to bottle up their anger in silence. I know this because people tell me in every organization I encounter, not knowing that they’re the third person who has told me that day. I know this because people seem to think I’m a delicate creature and are eager to assist me with everything, even if it means helping me commit a crime. I know this because people naturally tend to gravitate towards me with the impression that I’m an omnipotent, charismatic being with supernatural powers, before gradually dissipating as they learn I’m a disorganized nerd who’s not all that interesting.
Why do I fit the stereotype of a “pretty girl”? Who knows. Perhaps it’s the blond, blue-eyed, long lashes, and big boobs thing (male reactions suggest that the latter holds the most weight, no pun intended). What bugs me is that the praise and constant attention for aesthetics takes away from an individual’s sense of self worth, of feeling like their actions and capabilities are meaningful; those individuals happen to be females, especially. I am reminded of the double consciousness theory that W.E.B. Du Bois first introduced; as a minority in a situation, you do not only see yourself, but you see yourself through the lens of society. As a stereotypically attractive girl in an all-male advanced physics classroom, I certainly felt conscious of everything I said and did; not because I’m heterosexual, but because I felt like I was not supposed to be there, that people like me were supposed to be portrayed as sexual beings selling perfume, rather than a geek who loves electromagnetism, robots, and locking herself in a room for weeks on end to invent new mathematical theorems. Who would be able to guess that I’m the Grace Kelly version of Spock? Indeed, I’m a walking paradox, and society has a history of struggling with paradoxes.
squirrelgirl99 squirrelgirl99
18-21, F
1 Response Dec 5, 2012

Very wise. If its any consolation, I get hit on by gay men sometimes here and there.