I'm Pretty and You Shouldn't Hate Me for Saying That

Rant 11

you are beautiful signI think I'm pretty mostly because my husband tells me so. My kids do, too. And if you hear something enough times, you start to believe it. Truth is, I never think I'm pretty in the moment, I think I'm pretty when I look back on old photos. I recently saw my passport photo that was taken seven years ago and thought, Wow, I'm really cute here. But I remember when I took that photo, I thought it was terribly ugly.

Then last week while talking to a friend, she mentioned how she was attractive -- it made sense in the context of what we were discussing. And she is, she's gorgeous. But she'd only give herself "attractive." It was still refreshing to hear because many of my friends don't think they are pretty or attractive at all. It's an issue with many women. But it's hard to say you think you are pretty because the minute you say it, you instantly feel self-conscious and unattractive. Essentially unable to live up to the "pretty" title you gave yourself.

Remember Samantha Brick, the woman who thought she was so incredibly beautiful and that's why everyone hated her? Her self-esteem was over-the-top and inspired the criticism of just about everyone who read her essay. She is an extreme example, but that's exactly the reason women don't admit they are good looking. We basically aren't allowed to.

We're all aware of our own prettiness factor, says Jezebel writer Tracy Moore. She interviewed her friends about their looks and found that many of us think we are pretty, but are very aware of our so-called imperfections. They would say: I'm pretty but .... and the laundry list would unfold.

Then we have women like Lena Dunham who I think is incredibly adorable and just as pretty as Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, or Zosia Mamet -- her co-stars on HBO's Girls. Maybe she isn't everyone's brand of pretty -- maybe you are one who prefers an Allison, a Jemima, or a Zosia -- but Lena is pretty. And while everyone was questioning how a girl who looks like her ends up have a steamy two-day tryst with a very hot 42-year-old, we really should be asking how that 40-year-old got lucky enough to have two fun-filled days of sex and ping pong with a 24-year-old. Far too many focused on her looks -- their own judgement of them, thinking she wasn't hot enough to rub bodies with a hard body doctor.

Let me just say that I know for a fact that not all people with "perfect" bodies are awesome lovers or awesome people for that matter. There are stereotypically "unattractive" men who are tigers between the sheets and will call you the next day and send you flowers and be, in general, fantastic boyfriend/husband material. And I love that Dunham -- who is probably a size 4 or 6 -- dares to be completely naked on Girls even though she doesn't have a Halle Berry body. And if you want to be real, not many women have a Halle Berry body. Not every man prefers a Halle Berry body.

It's almost as if Dunham is making a statement of I'm pretty. I'm sensual. I'm sexual. I'm not ashamed. And I love her for it. She's not inspiring a legion of young women to starve themselves so they don't have a little flab or jiggle. 

That means you're pretty, too. Even with some extra pounds. Even with a muffin top. Even if you are self-conscious because you are just naturally skinny. Even if you don't have a button nose and perky breasts. We should allow ourselves to be pretty by admitting that we are pretty, by feeling pretty, and being able to embrace it. I'm pretty!

When my husband or my kids or a friend tells me I am pretty, I am going to believe them. I am going to truly feel pretty and allow myself that feeling. Because I deserve it. And so do you.

What do you think? Do you ever admit that you are pretty? Do you face the same issues and insecurities? Isn't society screwed up?!

Image via jmawork/Flickr



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nonmember avatar blue

I do think I'm pretty. There is nothing wrong with knowing you have strengths in one area. I'm really pretty. I'm awesome at creative thinking. I suck at math. I'm clumsy. I have a photographic memory. I'm not good a business, or managing people. So what? What's wrong with admitting you look OK, or you're good at something. As far as Lena Dunham, she's not my cup of tea. I don't get her, but I realize plenty of people do! However, I think you might be a little blind. BUT, she is soooo not a size 4-6. There is nothing wrong with being bigger then that, so why the fib?

insei... inseineangel

I say all the time I'm hot shit and I don't care who disagrees. As a teen, I was very self-conscious, with low-self esteem because I was a bigger girl and everyone made sure to drag me down for it every day. Once I hit about 20, I said "screw it, I'm tired of feeling like this. I don't feel ugly until people make it so. I am beautiful, and they can't see it because they are jaded and blinded by their own ugly, judgemental minds." Ever since then, I strut like I'm the prettiest peacock in the park. Now, when I see someone giving me "that look", I just smile and strut my stuff even harder.

Skinny girl thinks I'm fat? I'll eat you for lunch.

Hot girl thinks I'm ugly? It's nice to know I'm probably 10x more comfortable in my own skin than you are. I don't have to wear a pound of make-up, fake 'n bake til I'm orange, spend an hour on my hair, etc. Plus, hell, your judgemental attitude makes you uglier than I could ever be.

Guy thinks I look like a dog? Watch out for the teeth, honey.

I love myself. I think everyone is beautiful (even those b*tches with the ugly personalities), and I think everyone needs to find a way to make themselves feel that. Believe it. 


Gina Crosley-Corcoran

Like you, I look back at old photos and think, "DAAAAAAAM, I was HOT!" But of course I didn't think so at the time. I was "too fat" when I weighed 116 pounds. My husband is always telling me how "pretty" I look (and I should take his word for it considering that he's a mighty Tall, Dark and Handsome man, but I just don't believe it. I get self-conscious and think "Ew, you have low standards." I wish I could stop doing it. I don't want my kids, especially my daughter, to feel that way about themselves.

CPN322 CPN322

I think it depends on how you say it. There's a HUGE difference in having confidence and being cocky. I wish all women(including myself) were confident, but cockiness is something the world could do without. Humbleness goes a loooong way. Acting like you are the sh#t is not attractive even if you are(and I am NOT referring to the commentors, it's awesome to be self assured). Also, you could be stunningly gorgeous, but if you are judgmental and mean, then you automatically become unattractive to me.  Something in my brain like switches. I'm big on great personalities and nice people. P.S. You ARE beautiful, Michelle. Love your hair!!

CPN322 CPN322

Gina - just don't put yourself down infront of her and don't nit pick at her appearance. One of the major reasons I have low self esteem is that my father would constantly pick apart women in my presence(strangers and my mother), tell me I was too thin, too skinny, too pale(we are part italian so I actually wasn't compared to most people), my hair was too thin, etc.

insei... inseineangel

@CPN322, thank you for specifying you weren't aiming that comment at me, I appreciate that, truly :)

I do distinguish between confident and cocky, and I know when I post things like my previous comment, I do come off as the latter. It's the way I talk/write, I suppose. There is quite a difference between the two, and some people blur the line pretty heavily. It's like being proud versus boasting/bragging. 

It's one thing to feel satisfied with yourself and let the world see it. It's another to take the world by the scruff of it's neck and rub it's face in it.

joey125 joey125

You are beautiful inside and out  I should know I'm your mom

Cafe... Cafe MicheleZ

Thanks mom! I get all my beauty from you. @Gina, you are gorgeous and I know that not just photos I see but I met you in person once and you are stunning. But I get it -- I feel the same way. Your daughter and sons are going to see their mom as a true beauty, inside and out, and a rock star to boot.

tuffy... tuffymama

I'm pretty, and I wasted a lot of years having an ambivalent relationship with my looks, because that seemed to be the only thing people noticed about me. I've not aged as well as I'd hoped I would. I used to be gorgeous, but I think I've improved in myriad other ways; I'm certainly more patient and compassionate than I was. DH is actually getting hotter and sweeter the older he gets. My sister is plain, but she knows how to maximize her assets, and she is the kindest person I know, and one of the smartest. ODS is a super cutie and behaves as if he has no idea of it. He's also a genius, and I'm so proud of his wit and his generous heart. My first two husbands weren't knockouts, but both were talented in their own ways. The first is a musician, and my second husband is hyperintelligent, and crazy funny.

And I have to disagree with the whole Lena Dunham hype. She's raunchy, and not attractive. I suppose she could be if she took care of the body God gave her, but she looks like she lives on booze and diner food, and engages in questionable antics just to get a charge in her dun-colored soul. I don't know, maybe I would find her "brand" more desirable if I believed it was okay to bump through life as a morally destitute schlub, screwing any erect thing I encountered because I was bored or drunk. But I don't, so I don't.

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