>Discrimination works both ways – there’s the ugly duckling and then there’s the pretty chick, and if it’s unfair to judge the ugly duckling for the way it looks, it’s also unfair to judge a pretty face for the same reason.
Because there’s more to a pretty face than the pretty face alone. Why is it so difficult to stomach that a pretty girl and a handsome boy can get ahead in life on the strength of more than his or her looks? And why is it so easy to dismiss their success as a by-product of their good looks?
It would be foolish to think that anyone who is even a tad bit good looking doesn’t know it. And while beauty does lie in the eye of the beholder, there is no such thing as living in ignorance of your own beauty. You do know if you’re average-looking, then why expect a good looking person to not know the same about him or herself?
And here are some questions I’d like you to think about:
1. Once you know you’re beautiful or any synonym of that, what do you do with it?
2. I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t enjoy a little bit of attention and if it comes for the way one looks, no harm in it. But do you use your looks to get attention? And if you do that, is it wrong?
3. Do you get attention for your looks in the way you like it or is it a whole lot of unwanted attention as well?
4. Is it okay to say you’re intelligent, but not okay to say you’re pretty because the latter may be construed as being vain?
Thanks to my genes, I’m born with the kind of complexion fairness creams are advertised for. I’m slim and I think I dress well. I’m very happy and very thankful for the way I look. I get a lot of attention for all those reasons. But not always does it come the way I can enjoy it.
I have been called khadia, chalk, tube light and more such things by complete strangers on the road. ‘Milk’ is a common refrain among comments from eve teasers. None of it is flattering.
I studied in an all-girls school and girls weren’t very forthcoming with compliments. I never got any attention for the way I looked except critical comments. I was told my face would soon merge with the colour of the walls and because I was plump-ish, that I looked like a cow! I was labelled “arrogant” and “proud” for no apparent reason.
I remember working like a slave in my first year at work. I did not have a slave-driver for a boss, but I was extremely driven to prove myself. I thoroughly enjoyed it! Just before the appraisals though, a rumour was floated in the office saying that the responsibilities I got, the praise, the attention was not for my work but because of the way I looked. I hated to think that because I looked the way I did, I needed to prove my competence twice over! It bothered me when a colleague (whom I considered my friend) said that there was something about my looks that gave credence to those kinds of rumours. That it was easy to associate me with frills and fluff because I wasn’t dowdy, took care of my skin and feet and bothered to think about how I looked in the clothes I wore.
To revel in the fact that you’re nice looking is not the equivalent of negating the prowess of your mental faculties. When I started this blog over two years ago, I had a picture of me put up here. Yes, me, who now blogs anonymously (for most people at least) started out with a real face and a real name! But anything I wrote invariably invited comments linking my thoughts to my looks. I wanted to be read for what I was writing and not for how I looked, which is why I removed my pic. A certain male blogger forced me to turn on comments moderation on my blog because his comments focussed so much on his assumptions of what I must think because of how I look. It was irritating, to say the least, that I had to justify my stance as being independent of how I look.
After reading this post, there will be people who may think, “So she thinks she’s pretty, huh!” and will think that as if it’s a bad thing.
But the point of the post is not whether I think I look this or that. The point is that while it feels great to look good, it also feels horrible when people assume you must be a certain type of person if you’re good looking.
*From Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe.
This is a reference to the beauty of Helen of Troy. Her abduction by Paris was said to be the reason for the Trojan Wars.