I never really thought about prettiness when I was younger, I guess it was due to being homeschooled. But as I grew, I became aware that people were always striving toward pretty. Pretty girls were more liked, pretty boys were always flocked by pretty girls and other pretty boys. Ugly girls were weird and geeky, ugly boys were kind of pervy and nerds. It all came down to your face, that odd thing called pretty. The way you smiled, or your hair, or your eyes. Perfectly normal genetic things. But for some reason, people think the way you look reflects your personality. It prejudices people, pretty against ugly, and pretty wins every time.

People make money off pretty, they say they can make you beautiful, they can make you slimmer, cuter, younger, prettier.

Girls have horrible self esteem, why? Because of pretty. From a young age, girls are told pretty will make you more likable, smarter, funnier, cooler, better. What they aren’t told is that pretty costs more than a couple thousand dollars. It costs part of you. It demands that you conform to it’s standards, play by it’s rules, mutilate yourself for it.

People tell you pretty is perfect, without pretty, you’re nothing, an outcast. But pretty is this unattainable thing that is overrated. The quest for pretty is meaningless, born of the greed and longing pretty gives it’s holders.

As I grew, I was told by my friends that pretty was desired above all else, they might not have said it straight out, but I learned. Movies and commercials taught me this too, and I hoped that I would turn out pretty. When I read a book called Uglies, pretty suddenly disturbed me. In the world of Uglies, you are normal, or ‘Ugly’ until sixteen, at sixteen, they turned you Pretty. They operated on you, destroying everything ugly and replacing it with dazzling pretty, you had the easy life, carefree and pretty for your whole life. When you were Ugly, you were told you’d never be perfect until you were Pretty, until you turned Pretty, you were inferior, worthless.

Then I reviled pretty, I shunned it, instead focusing on beauty. For me, there was pretty, but then there was beautiful. Beautiful was that comforting feeling on a lazy day, a nice meal, and normal people. By normal people, I mean beautiful people. My mother was beautiful, not from operations and cosmetics, but from her kindness and my own, deep rooted belief that still stands today: My mother is the most beautiful person I’ve ever seen.

People are beautiful, beautiful because they express themselves, wear their hearts on their sleeves, beautiful because they themselves believe that THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL.

In a mixture of my own words and the words of Kate Makkai, a brilliant poet and the writer of the poem this post is named after: You will never be pretty, you will never be defined by that five letter word, you will be pretty intelligent, pretty funny, pretty interesting, pretty awesome. But you will never be merely pretty.


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ezeroth
    Oct 24, 2010 @ 02:16:29

    Love this rant, and the way it reminds me of a slam poem.


    • wordalier
      Oct 24, 2010 @ 06:38:32

      I actually was inspired by a slam poem by Katie Makkai, so I guess that really lent to the writing. ^_^


  2. Leonie Sutherland
    Oct 24, 2010 @ 10:21:50

    Thank you for this “pretty” wonderful essay! I hope it reaches many many girls. You are beautiful.


  3. Tom Pacey
    Oct 24, 2010 @ 13:59:32

    Riley, you are beautiful, from your epidermis right down to your marrow. And everything in-between.


  4. mrsmetaphor
    Oct 24, 2010 @ 14:32:12

    You’re pretty amazing….must run in the family. 🙂


  5. Rosie Molinary
    Oct 24, 2010 @ 17:05:33

    Loved reading your thoughts on beautiful– I wholeheartedly agree!


  6. allyson
    Oct 25, 2010 @ 06:26:29

    (Tom referred me) Thank you for sharing and for contributing this wonderful viewpoint out in the open! You will inspire others with your ideas of beauty, keep it up – we all need to hear it!


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