Ugly Acceptance Part II

31 Aug

See, I knew I would come to regret writing and posting a giant rant at one o’clock in the morning. Because now, reading back, and reading your awesome comments, I realize that there are a few things that I want to add, or explain.

First of all, my main point is that appearance-based compliments and insults are our go-to when it comes to women. I remember going through a really tough time in my early twenties and, when I went to the doctor to tell him how sad and hopeless I felt, he said, but you’ve got everything going for you – you’re young, attractive, and you’ve got your whole life ahead of you.

Er, what? How was that even a response to the problems that I was trying to fix?

When we want to make a woman feel good, we often tell her how pretty she is, how nice her hair is, or how well she’s dressed. And I don’t think that these things are bad in and of themselves, but I do think that this is indicative of how our society continues to view women. We consider a woman’s appearance to be her most important asset, plain and simple.

My friend L over at Life In Pint-Sized Form also posted about Ugly Acceptance, and I think she made a lot of really wonderful and succinct points. My favourite is this one:

” … the Ugly Acceptance movement … isn’t about accepting that you, personally, are ugly. It’s about accepting that beauty doesn’t fit into glossy little boxes with bows on the top.”

Yes, exactly. I’m not trying to say that you are ugly, what I’m saying is that all women, even incredibly beautiful celebrities, feel ugly sometimes. No woman can ever fully achieve the incredibly high standards for beauty that our society sets. And the thing is, I am tired of feeling like that is something that I need to achieve.

To go back to my original story about my trip to the doctor, imagine that same story but with a depressed young man in place of a young woman. Would that doctor ever try to comfort a sad, hopeless man by telling him that he was beautiful? Not bloody likely.

The next time you want to give someone a little pick-me-up, want to say something that will make them feel better, try to stay away from compliments about their appearance. Or, if you do really want to remind them that they’re pretty, add that they are also smart, and funny, and valuable to you as a friend. Praise their accomplishments and positive personality traits instead of their looks. Admire the things about them that they have control over, that they have done for themselves, instead of resorting to the old standard, but you’re bee-yoo-tee-ful.

For once, try to look beneath the surface, and see straight into that person’s heart (use your x-ray goggles for this). Chances are it’s beautiful, too.

See? So pretty.

See? So pretty.

5 Responses to “Ugly Acceptance Part II”

  1. Sara Hanna August 31, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

    While I do think you’re pretty (and please don’t knee my groin!), I also see that you’re beautiful on the inside (with my xray goggles of course). You’re a gifted writer, have a huge heart, and are kinder than most people I’ve known my whole life … and we barely know each other. Despite not being familiar with each other in person as adults, I DO value your friendship, and I also truly value your blog… it helps me to feel a little less alone. So thank you. ❤

    • bellejarblog September 2, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

      Thank you, this is so kind of you!

      I think I’m just really frustrated with how much I care about my appearance, how lacking I find myself. Writing about it helps, and reading your comments helps too ❤

  2. Leopard September 1, 2012 at 12:43 am #

    Great post again. I like to think of beauty as just a single aspect of a person. Yes, some people are beautiful and that can be celebrated, just like how people’s talents for playing tennis, or creating art, or writing, are celebrated. It would be absurd for Usain Bolt to attempt to shame Obama by telling him he couldn’t run very fast. Similarly, it is equally irrelevant to fixate on Hillary Clinton or Angela Merkel’s physical appearance, but people just don’t seem to get that.

    • bellejarblog September 2, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

      ” It would be absurd for Usain Bolt to attempt to shame Obama by telling him he couldn’t run very fast. ”

      Yes, exactly! I am just so tired of my appearance mattering so much to everyone, including, sadly, myself.


  1. How To Talk To Pregnant Women (or, everybody just relax) « The Belle Jar - September 10, 2012

    […] glowing she looks. Basically every woman loves to hear this. I know, I know, a while ago I was all, try not to give people appearance-based compliments, but I think pregnancy might be the exception to that […]

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