Reasons Not To Be Pretty

2 Jun

Along with the idea of romantic love, she was introduced to another—physical beauty. Probably the most destructive ideas in the history of human thought. Both originated in envy, thrived in insecurity, and ended in disillusion.
~Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye (via kosdetermination)

There’s something I’ve been trying to write for a long time but every time I try it comes out sounding like “OMG, being pretty is just so hard!” and that’s very much not what I want it to be.

In this, her fantastic slap in the face of the media, Judd calls out how criticizing other women based on appearances is an act of violence against ourselves and each other which the patriarchy has taught us is ‘normal’.

We experience brutal criticism. The dialogue is constructed so that our bodies are a source of speculation, ridicule, and invalidation, as if they belong to others…

Over time, I matured into the understanding that good and bad are equally fanciful interpretations. I do not want to give my power, my self-esteem, or my autonomy, to any person, place, or thing outside myself. [x]

While being punished for our aesthetic shortcomings may sting more, Judd makes it clear that being praised for good looks is an equally invalidating.  Prettiness is an equal sacrifice of power.

One thing that this fool did get right is that men are taught that they are owed prettiness from the women around them.   Women have two options; be fodder for his wank-bank or be loathed.

You don’t owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don’t owe it to your mother, you don’t owe it to your children, you don’t owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked “female”.


The longer we allow ourselves to be ruled by this guiding principle, that we must be pretty, we are giving our autonomy to others.  When we think that prettiness will buy the things we want we give others the power to say we aren’t pretty enough and use it as a reason to not give us the things we deserve.

Never underestimate the huge middle finger you are giving to the world when you make peace with your body.

~Frances Lockie

Judd was pretty.  Is it making her happier than the rest of us cretins or is she just as miserably scrutinized as the entire rest of the female population?  I rest my case.

One Response to “Reasons Not To Be Pretty”


  1. Need I Be Pretty? « Female Gazing - August 6, 2012

    […] also feeling like the absolute strongest.  I kept thinking about Ashley Judd’s claim that by wanting men to think I’m pretty I give them the power to deny me […]

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