I was a huge tomboy growing up (still am). I hated wearing anything that was remotely feminine. I was the only girl on my baseball team in elementary school and I distinctly remember winning the unsanctioned spitting contest in the dugout. I was the go-to tech guru and sports maniac of all my friends and played video games until the break of dawn. My dad and I would talk about cars for hours and I’d read all his Motor Trend issues that came in the mail. So as a child, whenever my parents’ friends would call me “pretty” or “beautiful” I’d feel this unease cloud me and I wouldn’t know how to respond. It wasn’t that I didn’t think I was so-called “good-looking”, it was that I didn’t care and I didn’t notice. To me it wasn’t a compliment, it was merely a formality, an observation. If I wanted a compliment, I wanted one based on my achievements, not something that was out of my control. Yet, for some reason, it seems to me that many people think that beauty is the greatest compliment you can give.
I think our girls deserve better than just being pretty. It’s no wonder women value beauty to the highest degree and hurt so much from it. At a young age we notice their looks and we comment on it, almost putting it on a pedestal. It’s ridiculous how being called ugly is more offensive than being called stupid. I mean after all beauty is fleeting.
The other day my friend and I were chatting and she brought up an interesting point. She mentioned that she’s heard from many people that it’s considered unprofessional to not wear makeup to work. I then stumbled upon this article by The Telegraph where they found that “more than two thirds of employers admit they would be less likely to employ a female job applicant if she did not wear makeup to the job interview” and 61% of executives said that not wearing makeup would have “detrimental effects on a women’s promotion prospects.” I don’t really feel the need to elaborate or comment much on this because anyone with a sane mind would see that this statistic is extremely upsetting. Men are merely assessed by their performance, but women have to consider their physical appearance on top of their performance? I mean let’s just break this down logically. Who’s usually on the top of corporate ladders? Men. Who’s doing the promoting? Men. This twisted misogynistic world we live in is far from equality, and newsflash, it’s not just the discrepancies in paychecks. The male gaze isn’t only in the media my friends, it’s everywhere.
I don’t mean to be beating a dead horse with this topic because many people have commented on how unjustifiable the world is to women. Sure you could throw in legislations and rules to combat this issue, but that only just grazes the solution to inequality. You could sue a man for his sexist actions, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s a sexist. If we’re really going to get rid of sexism we got to change the psychology and sociology of everyone, not just men. Maybe our current generations are at a loss here, but it’s not too late with the next. I think it all starts with calling that young girl pretty. I’m no guru on these issues. I’ve never subscribed to feminist blogs or taken a women’s gender studies class, but it doesn’t take an expert to look around the world and cringe at the ridiculousness. I’m going to challenge myself to not compliment a young girl’s beauty, but instead their actual worth on the inside. Will you join me?