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Finding My Pretty Was My Privilege

Updated: Jul 16, 2022

“Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief she is beautiful” ~Sophia Loren~

I’ve noticed the algorithms on my social media have been directing me towards a lot of content on healing, self-love, and personal development. Recently, the algorithm saw fit to show me content on the topic of pretty privilege, which I noticed was striking a lot of nerves. In general, pretty privilege is when a woman experiences certain advantages in life because of her beauty. There are so many nuances to the subject of pretty privilege, that it’s impossible to encompass everyone’s experience and perspective, especially when the term “privilege” is used. For example, women who are conventionally viewed as pretty may have a hard time getting people to see past their looks and into who they really are as a person. I remember being a huge Tyra Banks fan growing up, but I never cared to hear her talk about insecurities and self-esteem. I mean, she was a beautiful supermodel who made money because she looked the way she did; what did she have to be insecure about? I’m happy to say I’ve since evolved from that way of thinking.

I’m not a woman who has gone through life “benefitting” from pretty privilege, andI had to do some work to finally find my pretty. I want to be clear that being aware of not having pretty privilege, does not mean I view myself as unattractive; this was a misinterpretation I noticed present in a lot of conversations. I am a woman who is self-aware, comfortable in her skin, and, I reiterate, had to do WORK to get there.

Pretty isn’t a term I ever really identified with. Growing up, I definitely heard ugly a lot; I can’t recall being called pretty even once. I did however identify with sexy, and I presented my body in ways that garnered a lot of sexual attention. Having suffered from body dysmorphia as a teen and a young adult, I had a very strange relationship with my body. I hated my entire appearance; I could find something wrong with any part of myself I looked at, so I went through a long period of not even wanting to be seen. Even though I hated my body, I did realize it was liked and desired by others, so I played into it, despite how uncomfortable I was, because it was the one thing I felt wasn’t deemed ugly by the masses.

It was a whole process, but I managed to do a complete 180, changing the way I viewed myself and my approach to self-love. I eventually became exhausted with worrying about what others thought. Regardless of whether or not someone is deemed to have certain privileges because of their looks, a person’s looks is never the end all, be all. At the end of the day, people on every point of the aesthetic spectrum has a life to live, and you come to realize 80-90% of life doesn’t give a f*ck about how you look. It’s about how you show up for yourself. There are those with a great awareness of their good looks, but with a low level of self-worth and self-esteem to go along with it. I was able to get to a place where I became more accepting of me, and began caring for myself in a way that made me feel genuinely good in my skin, f*ck how others feel about my features. I began to notice a difference in the way I showed up. I dressed for myself, wore my hair the way I liked, accentuated the features I felt good about, and leaned more into my femininity.

Pictures were a great tool for me to notice a change in how I began showing up. I used to run from the camera altogether, then I grew to hiding in pictures, and finally evolving to forcing myself to try to look nice and pleasurable. Now I have more pictures that capture myself feeling good and enjoying the moment, and not focusing on the flaws I could so easily pick out.

It feels amazing to find myself in the moment loving something about myself, like catching how pretty and golden my skin looks in the sun, or how bomb my eyes look under warm light. Yes, it took me a while to get here, but the road to finding my pretty by finding myself, has been nothing short of great privilege to me.

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