I recently got attacked on a forum on a dating site for saying that I am often told I am beautiful in my profile. It doesn’t have a picture of my face—I just wanted to convey that my dates are pleasantly surprised, not that I think I’m Miss America. Personally, I really struggle with conceiving of myself as beautiful, and it has only been through learning to appreciate my inner qualities that I can accept feedback from others who tell me I am beautiful.
Interestingly, it was men who attacked me, saying things like, “Men always say a woman is beautiful, they just want to get in your pants” and “Get over yourself” and “Gee, you really think you are all that—when I see a woman who thinks she’s on a pedestal that just makes it more fun to kick it out from under her.” Two even commented on how all beautiful women are spoiled and never work a day in their lives and should try living in the real world. Wow—I was shocked at the hostility that simple comment evoked. Do these men realize that what they are saying sounds like they think a woman should not be allowed to value herself and that a woman who values herself should be taken down a peg? And they certainly make an assumption about where I get my information.
Actually, I don’t believe that what anyone with an agenda says about me is necessarily true or untrue. It’s when they no longer have an agenda or they simply offer information with nothing to gain that I believe them. For example, I believe my daughter’s tweenage friends when they say they wish they were pretty like me. That’s a pretty honest reflection. But it isn’t the point. Why shouldn’t a woman believe when others say she is beautiful? Her trust in their words would be more beautifully honest than their lie.
I did amend my profile. I changed it to: “People often tell me I am beautiful, but that is in a real girl and not a Barbie doll sort of way (and I think has more to do with how I am than how I look).” That perhaps sums me up a little better. I certainly have my flaws and I am not beautiful in the way that a teenager or twenty-something is (I’m forty-one); I am beautiful in the way of women who wear their age with grace and are comfortable within their skin. Still, no matter what anyone else says, why shouldn’t a woman have a right to feel beautiful?
I would hope that everyone (male or female) can recognize what makes them special and gorgeous, for everyone has something beautiful about them, whether it’s the way that they carry themselves, the warmth of their laugh, the twinkle in their eye, a genuine earnestness, a talent for something or nothing—everyone has something that is beautiful, and everyone deserves to shine. It really doesn’t take anything away from the next person, and it just might add something if they can stop to appreciate the beauty of those around them.