Being a girl is bloody hard work if you ask me – from the word go, we’re inundated with the expectations of society: look this way, talk that way, act like a polite little princess at all times, etc etc etc…it’s friggin’ exhausting. There is so much pressure on us to look a certain way – look flawless, but make it look like you didn’t put in any effort (because vanity is gross, y’all)…it’s all just a little much.
If you’re a regular Pretty Thing reader, then you already know what I look like – if you want a refresher, here’s my mug, in all its glory:
Yes, I know you can see the top of my boobs in this picture…so what? That rack is AWESOME!
Now, most days, I pretty much loathe my appearance. I generally try to avoid looking in the mirror any more than I have to, because, frankly, I can’t stand what I see. Everything about that face bothers me – now, tell me, why is that? I don’t remember being quite so hideously ugly as a child (if you knew me then – was I??!), so when did that change? What happened along the way? I’ll tell you what happened – I grew up dreaming of a career in magazines (yes, I know they are a dying art these days, but not a day passes that I don’t wish with all of my might that I had done life differently somehow and ended up working in magazines – it’s my dream) (sorry, that sounded totally cheeseball, but..it’s true). Each month, I read every magazine I could get my grubby little paws on – Sassy was my favorite (of course), but I also leafed through Seventeen and YM (they had subscriptions to those in the school library), as well as Vogue, People, Us Weekly, Ms., and the great Canadian magazine Chatelaine (Gram was a subscriber). I read a lot of articles, I saw a hell of a lot of ads and models, and, since this was the ’80s, I saw some right craptastic fashion and hairstyles…and I emulated those like nobody’s business. See – Exhibit A-C:
I know, right? Christ. What the hell was I thinking??! Heaven only knows, but I thought I was cool. Anyway, after a lifetime of looking at pictures in magazines, and then seeing my own feeble memories and photographs, is it any wonder that I hate the sight of myself? Probably not, right? It almost makes sense…and I think it’s sad. When we are little girls, we usually kind of love ourselves and love seeing what we look like (my Wee One is constantly watching herself in the mirror – she thinks she’s hilarious! I concur!!) – but somewhere along the way, the fact that we look like real people and not supermodels starts to wear us down, and then we get to the point where we can’t stand the sight of ourselves any longer (well, at least I got to that point – hopefully you haven’t, because you, my dear sweet friends, are gorgeous). Do you remember that great ad campaign from the ’90s (it might have been The Body Shop that started it?) about the fact that there are three billion women who don’t look like supermodels and eight who do? I loved those ads – here’s a reminder for you:
So true, eh? For the majority of us, looking like a supermodel is something that will NEVER happen, so…why do we try? What the hell is the point in aspiring to such lofty heights and then falling short and feeling like shit because we failed??! It’s just stupid. We need to embrace the idea (and I’m not preaching at you, friends – I’m talking to myself as much as anyone else here) that how we are is MORE than good enough. Last week, the brilliant Kate Conway (who will probably be known forever more as one of my spirit animals) from XOJane posted this story – and it is, quite possibly, one of the best, most life-changing things that I have ever read – ‘The Case for Meh: On Being OK With Non-Hotness’….here’s a few excerpts:
The problem (or, OK, one of them) is that hotness is, at its core, a subjective concept. My personal incarnation of hot-like-burning, for example, involves bony elbows, copious facial piercings and a fondness for puns, which I’m sure does not completely overlap with everyone else’s drink special at Genital Happy Hour.
And realistically, I know that pizza-slice shaped fuckwads with round faces and a propensity for hermiting light somebody’s fire out there, even when it’s no one within a seven-mile vicinity of me.
But while I think most dudes get the message that someday, they’ll ping that someone special’s fuck-radar, women often get sucked into the same sexy-or-bust K-hole that is Every Single Network Television Show, Ever. Conventionally unattractive dudes finding true love is often the plot, while conventionally unattractive women finding it is usually the punch line.
I don’t know if I’m weak-willed or mush-brained or what, but even chanting the phrase “unrealistic expectations” like a mantra often isn’t enough for me to be able to look at a magazine cover and not think, “Ugh, her face is so much prettier than mine.”
Logically, I know Photoshop and celebrity stylists work wonders, but my dark grumpy hindbrain is still perfectly content to add Scarlett Johansson’s Cosmo cover to its Personal Failure Scrapbook.
So it’s no wonder that half of women are supposedly unhappy with their looks — we hold “hotness” to such a nebulous standard that the whole concept becomes transmuted into this vague idea of happiness and visible sternums. And ironically, “confidence” is apparently the number-one signifier of said hotness, which seems, to say the least, a little counterproductive.
To that, I offer the following proposal: maybe we should just stop trying to be hot. Instead, we should revert to “meh, good as it’s gonna get.”
Hear me out! For those of you who have mastered the art of being vain, please don’t let me stop you. Consider me your biggest admirer. If there is a vest you put on or a lipstick shade you wear that makes you feel like the stoniest fox in the city, fucking do it. I am in awe of you people.
But for those of us who simply cannot look at a face-forest without seeing the pimple-trees, I offer an alternate solution: stop trying.
Wear jeans to a club! Stop wearing makeup! Start wearing makeup! Insist on not smiling at strangers! If your friends tell you they don’t like your outfit because it’s weird, find new friends! Dress up the huge cystic zit on your cheekbone with a tiny sunflower! Anything that turns down the tiny bad-feelings radio that lots of us constantly have tuned to our personal versions of the “Ugh, my thighs” station. You know how forcing a smile triggers a psychological response of happiness, even if we’re feeling salty to begin with? I’ve found that appearing to not give a flying fuck eventually gives way to not giving a fuck, period. (It is even more effective, for some reason, to perform this in groups.)
This sounds dramatic, but that’s honestly how trying to be “hot” or “sexy” feels to me. I can put on flattering clothes and take cleavage-y selfies and run up and down the San Francisco hills, but I’m always going to pick out the tiny flaws in myself that ruin the overall picture. It feels safer to be ambivalent; to think, “It doesn’t matter if I’m hot, really, because this is probably as good as it’s gonna get.”
I think this might come off as a self-dig. And it’s not, really. This is what allows me to access any semblance of that “confidence” that women allegedly pinpoint as being the most attractive part of themselves: knowing that this is what I bring to the table and trying to divert the energy that I would normally be tempted to spend methodically tallying all of my flaws into dancing or researching werewolf origin stories or doing anything, anything, besides sitting around and brooding about how I will probably never be good enough.
This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy getting dressed up to go out on the town or putting on eyeliner or bopping to Ke$ha on the street corner. I’ve just granted myself permission to stop constantly viewing “being hot” as my ultimate goal.
It’s the same concept behind posting ugly photos of yourself all over the Internet: it’s enormously freeing to give yourself an out from trying to be perfect all the damn time. Scary as fuck, don’t get me wrong, but freeing all the same.
For me, “looking hot” has stopped being synonymous with “happy” or even “content,” which, frankly, feels like a huge accomplishment. I don’t love my body; I don’t even particularly like it. But it’s the meat-bag I got handed, and the fact that I can sometimes view it solely as a functional series of moving parts that get me to where I want to go feels like a privilege to me.
Doesn’t she just blow your freaking mind??! I know. She’s so right – trying to look like some conventional vision of ‘hot’ is ridiculous, and causes all sorts of tomfoolery and hijinks to go down (remind me to tell you the story of my attempt at looking hot by going out in public in faux-leather pants…here in South Texas…in the heat…and how I nearly died of heat exhaustion, sweated so bloody much that I made a squeaky fart noise when I walked, and nearly had to seek the attention of the nearest EMS because I was about to pass out – I was hot alright…what an asshole I am). Kate has hit the nail on the head – we need to just accept that it is what it is, I am what I am, we are what we are – and move on. It’s going to be enough.
After reading what Kate wrote and starting to feel only a mild distaste for myself instead of my usual rage and hate, I heard this news story – and felt like I had lost faith in humanity yet again. Did you know that ‘tittooing’ is now a thing? You heard me correctly – tattooing your tits. Or, more specifically, your nipples, to improve their appearance. The fuck, people?????!?!?! Here’s a description from one of the many scintillating and enlightening articles on this topic that burned up the Interwebs last week:
Semi-permanent tattoos to darken and define nipples are becoming “the fashion” according to a report in The Telegraph. The two hour process costs around NZD$2,170 (per set), and the tattoos need to be touched-up every year to avoid fading.
The ‘tittooing’ process originated as a procedure for women who had undergone breast reconstruction, but is now serving women who want to look like the – often digitally altered – girls of page three and beyond.
The most common request is to darken the nipple and surrounding areola area, but some women also get ‘tittooed’ to achieve symmetry. There are at least 15 independent ‘tittoo’ experts in the Liverpool region according to The Telegraph, with clinician Gail Proudman telling them she sees more than three women a week.
“A lot of people want their nipples made darker. It’s the fashion. Some people think theirs are too pink or their boyfriends want them done. I think sometimes they are doing it because they are conscious of them being pale and they think it’s fashionable to have dark nipples.”
Now…here’s the thing, friends. If someone who was fortunate enough to get to see my girls commented on there being something wrong with my nipples, they would probably look like this when I was finished with them:
Seriously…if somebody was going to be so critical to say crappy things about my boobs (which are pretty great, if you ask me), and encourage me to ‘tittoo’ my nipples, I really don’t know how I’d react (let’s start with badly). This is taking vanity to a whole other level…not to mention how bloody painful that must be – Christ! It also requires a touch up every 12-18 months, which seems stupid to me, but what do I know? I’m all for doing things that make you feel good about yourself, but this is a procedure that seems to be rooted in hate – it’s your bloody nipples. They spend the bulk of their time happily ensconced in your bra just poking out when they’re cold and peeking out the top of your low-cut shirts. They aren’t in the middle of your face, staring at the world every day (great visual though, eh?) – and I’m kinda sure that nipples are like babies – all of them are beautiful in their own way. I’m sure that my nips could probably use some work – but they do the trick for me, so why mess with them??!!?!? I think that this is just ridiculous…what do you think, friends??!
PS: If I haven’t told you lately, I think you are fantastic and wonderful and way more than good enough Je vous aime! ♥♥♥