By Andrea Thompson
One of the most painful truths every woman has to reckon with is that her actions don't matter nearly as much as her looks. For most people, this will define a woman. It's not how hard she works, how smart she is, or how much she achieves. Attention will only be paid if you are considered beautiful enough to warrant it.
Today, two very different stories have discussed this, and it's brought out some of the ugliness women are capable of inflicting upon each other. One of them is less easy to sympathize with, admittedly. Yesterday on The Cut, there was an article published. The title? “What It's Like to Go Through Life As a Really Beautiful Woman.” It's hardly surprising that this has attracted a lot of negative reactions, and you can hardly blame a lot of women for having some trouble sympathizing. But as others have pointed out, there's also a lot of examples of how women absorbing all the insane beauty standards they're subject to can affect how we treat each other so drastically. There are stories of other women trying to make it look like she was an alcoholic, of breaking up her engagement, and of isolating her socially.
Unpopular opinion (maybe):— Jessica Wakeman (@JessicaWakeman) April 3, 2018
That "What It's Like To Go Through Life As A Really Beautiful Women" piece could have been really good. Maybe not as an as-told-to, though.
Beauty privilege is a topic we need to discuss more.
A lot more.
To her credit, this woman also recognizes many of the incredible privleges her looks have given her. Well, to a certain extent. Her beauty opened so many doors that now that she's older, she seems unsure of how to cope with that lack of attention. She worked on the issues in her marriage less because she wanted to stay, and more due to a fear of rejection from men, which was something she'd never experienced. It ends up being heartbreaking in ways she probably didn't intend. Sure, beauty will get you in the door, but there has to be more to you than that. You have to work hard to stick around, and this woman just took the easy way out. She basically coasted on her looks without wanting the party to end. Now she feels lonely and starved for attention, even though her experiences later in life have made her a better person. So in the end what this article makes clear is just how much beauty standards end up hurting the women who somehow manage to meet them too. When so much comes so easily, it ends up not leaving you with much at all.
On a lighter note, some women have decided to have a little fun with this concept. There have already been examples of how women are treated by many male authors in the literary canon, but podcast host Whit Reynolds (@whitneyarner) challenged women on Twitter to describe themselves the way male authors would. And the results have been hilarious. Of course, some guys have described how insecure this has made them:
This concerns me deeply; I want to get into writing--had this story rattling in my head for years--but this makes me feel like I don't dare try writing female characters.— Chuck L. Finley (@TARDIS_Junkie) April 2, 2018
And have been reassured that there is a solution:
There just may be hope for us all.