How often do we women hear things like “Oh, you’re such a pretty girl, you’ll get a loving husband” or “Men would kill to marry you” or “You shouldn’t be showing too much skin, it attracts men” etc.?
How often are you limited to how you look? I’m pretty sure almost on an everyday basis. If you’re “pretty enough” according to conventional beauty standards, you’ll get a husband. If you’re not, then it’s going to be tough for you, irrespective of the work you do or the potential you have. How often are you restricted to your looks? These questions got me questioning a lot of things.
I’ve always got a lot of attention, some wanted but mostly unwanted. From a very young age, I’ve been out there in the world, easygoing, outspoken. Initially, I was conditioned that way, aren’t we all?
When we don’t have a head of our own and are naive with a little comprehension of the world, we too give in to the patriarchal conditioning and think that our existence will go in vain if a man doesn’t validate us.
We have all been there at some phase in life where we looked at things like that and did crazy things to get male attention. It may be the guy you wanted, your crush. Talking about myself, I was ready to change my entire “construct” to fit into the bracket of being the “perfect girl”, the girl that everyone wanted.
And most of it was done because I somewhat met the “conventional beauty standards”. No one would actually bother talking to me or get to know me “for me”. It would mostly be because every single time, I was limited to how I looked and nobody cared to look for what was inside. What a shallow world we live in, right?
So I did end up dating the men I liked and would feel good about them reciprocating too, initially. But it would never work out. I wanted to be with them because of “who they were” and they wanted to be with me because of “what they saw, my exterior”.
After a lot of failed relationships, my idea of “love” and “dating” changed. Also, because I didn’t know my self worth and had little to no understanding of myself, I would determine my “worth” by what people thought of me or how they perceived me.
After every failed relationship, I would be so hard on myself that I convinced myself that I wasn’t worthy of love and nobody was going to love me. Nobody was going to care about what I brought to the table or had to offer. They’ll just look at my exterior, put me in a box, expect me to act a certain way and limit me to my face.
I understood that in the end, if you love and accept yourself to the fullest, how others perceive you doesn’t matter. You’re not limited to male validation or the male gaze. You’re so much more than that. Just love yourself, girl.
It’s so disrespectful when I think about it now. The sad reality of the world we live in is that if you’re a woman, for the longest time, till you know your worth, you’ll be looked upon as a “piece of meat” ready to be devoured. No matter what you do, the make up you put on, clothes you wear, things you do, the general perception is that you do it to “get men”, “lure men”.
It’s high time we understand that being pretty is not a privilege. If you look a certain way, it’s just the genes and you have nothing to do with how you look. The skills you acquire, the personality you build, the person you are, and the things you bring to the table define you. The exterior is nothing; it’s the inner self that matters.
Sounds cliche? But the absolute truth. Society needs to understand that women do not exist “to please men”. We have a life of our own. We got goals to smash, a lot to do with our lives. So stop limiting us to our faces and bodies. We’re not a “piece of meat” and are not limited to male validation.