Recently, a friend posted an article on women's negative experience in being "pretty". These involved having their boobs grabbed w/o permission, not being taken seriously, having people think you're dumb, etc...My friend's comment started off with "To me, pretty is a dirty word. I am more than just pretty..." and then went about explaining all the things she was instead/in addition. Unfortunately, I cannot find the post now, and she put it more eloquently than I can but she included stuff like, "I am drinking all the tea. I am a mess while crying on your shoulder."
On many levels, I agree with all her statements. As a woman, a human, I am a lot of things. Some of those things have to do with my gender (yes, I am frequently more emotional on my period) and other of those things just have to do with me being human (I love animals). As a feminist, I want to also assert that my looks have nothing to do with who I am and that I am not trying to look good for anyone but myself. At least, that is what some modern feminism seems to want me to think.
The reality of it is this, yes, I want to look pretty for people. I want to look sexy for my partners and classy for my friends. I want my grandmother and aunts to be proud of my professionalism and my coworkers to respect me because of the way I dress and look. However, I feel bad for wanting to be pretty. I feel bad for men, who are now being taught (whether directly or indirectly) that they can't compliment a woman on her looks. I think the point here, is being missed.
Yes, for sure, definitely, that should not be the ONLY worth of a woman. It should not be anything that you base a relationship solely on. But, I think we need to be honest with ourselves and each other - looks are the first thing you know about a person if you meet them face-to-face. You know this about them before they ever open their mouth or do anything. And unless you knew them/of them before you met them, this is the only thing you know. Does that give you a right to instantly judge them? No. But do you anyway? Probably.
One of my friends is a big, body-builder type with a buzz cut. I met him in Toastmasters. The first time he got in front of the group to do a short Table Topic speech, I did not expect what would come out of his mouth. I did not expect him to be so eloquent, so charismatic, so intelligent. This was me judging him based on his looks. Now, do I still think he is not those things I stated above? Absolutely not.
THAT is the point that I think we really need to get to. We shouldn't completely write off looks. We shouldn't shame people for wanting to look good for other people. Even implying shame, is not really a great step. What I think we should do instead is to recognize that looking pretty is not JUST for other people, it is for yourself as well. When I know I look good, it makes me feel good, too. Then, we need teach people that those judgement we make about people based on their looks NEED to change and evolve as we get to know those people. AND we need to actually get to know people, even if our first impression of them (physically) is a certain way.
Don't assume that all pretty girls are conceited. Don't assume all big, beefy guys are stupid. Don't assume that ugly people have no personality. Put stock into looks, but only superficially because, as it stands - that what looks really are. Superficial.
They are a part of you, just as every part so we should embrace them.
We should embrace every other part as well, physical and spiritual.