You Don’t Have To Be Pretty

You don't owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your
boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to
random men on the street. You don't owe it to your mother, you don't
owe it to your children, you don't owe it to civilization in general.
Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked "female".

Read more of Erin McKean of A Dress A Day's fabulous essay on the place fashion should take in your priorities.

Guys, please write the male counterpart to this in the comments. Is it just "you don't have to act macho" or can we get to a more specific aspect like "rugged", "tough", "strong"? What is that constraint that brings down the social pressure when you're too gentle and soft?

[Thanks to my good friend Anil for the link and for being the kind of guy who likes to read a post like that and wants to share it]

Author: dinahsanders

Author. Discardian. Defender of life, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness. she/her

4 thoughts on “You Don’t Have To Be Pretty”

  1. I don’t know about a male counterpart — I know plenty of men who feel they owe prettiness to others — but feeling debts that aren’t there causes bad decisions in all sorts of situations. Half of 20th Century American drama would suddenly vanish if men didn’t feel they had to be financially successful in order to please their fathers, who really just wanted them to be happy.

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  2. See also: you don’t owe it to random men on the street to smile, especially when you really don’t want to.
    Even if they tell you to.
    Especially if they tell you to.

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  3. Is there anything more irritating than a stranger on the street looking at you (when you are deep in thought) and saying “It can’t be that bad, smile.” They don’t know what I am dealing with at that moment and it frankly is not their concern whether I smile or not.

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  4. While it isn’t a male equivalent, this reminds me of a phrase I saw a while ago: “You do not need to account for everything that happens in the universe.”

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