Being Pretty Isn't What It's Cut Out To Be
I never took the dozens of men who whistled, cat-called and talked to me on my daily journey as harassment. Until now... As a little girl I always wanted to be one of the pretty girls. Their lives seemed so much better. Pretty girls looked like they had it all together; the great love life and its options. Being pretty meant cooler friends, awesome parties and invitations into the ethereal coolness that I never felt that I could be a part of. I was a victim of bullying, and my skin color and kinky hair never made it easier.
Once I reached early adulthood, nature slowly took its toll on my body.
Acne faded, my body formed and a new wardrobe of form-fitting clothing threw me into a world of overwhelming attention that I was not accustomed to.
What compelled me to write this article was a comment made by a friend, asking as to why I was not bothered by men cat-calling me down the street.
So why was I not bothered by it?
I never took the dozens of men a day who whistled, cat-called and talked to me on my daily journey as harassment. Her question made me do a lot of self-reflecting and self-evaluation about my own perceived attractiveness.
Should I deem this behavior by men to be inappropriate? Does this acceptance make me seem more sexually available to men? I guess I saw myself ugly for so long that when I started getting attention I was actually flattered at first, then numb and unbothered. In most instances, I took advantage of my feminine power over men.
I would make them do things for me with no intent of giving anything, just because I was a woman.
"Wanna carry my bags upstairs? Thanks".
"Yes, I need a ride to point A, B and possibly C".
I started abusing my power. I knew I was able to seduce anything or anyone my way. I was getting free sandwiches at my local deli for some time and discounts and deals whenever I felt like my batting eyelashes could get me away with it.
My self-perceived sexiness caused tension and jealousy amongst other women.
This confident behavior I was portraying was looked down upon most women I came across. It was easy for them to feel that way, because they were always a swan that the world flocked to. My newfound wings from a duck to a swan were unstoppable. So men could rule the world, but If I ruled the world around me by using men, this was an apparent problem. It was to my surprise that my attractiveness also opened a new world of darkness.
The cat-calling men who were once showering me with compliments were now aggressive and dangerous. I had to be aware of catty women and their vicious approaches. My instant collective of new friends became subject to suspicion. In certain situations my intellect wasn’t respected, because I became too pretty to have a functional brain. I was constantly in a whirlwind of heartbreak and romantic disappointments. Yes, I had more romantic options that I had wished for in my youth, but the more options I had, the more difficult it was for me to see who wanted to be with me, for me.
My brown skin and hair (of which I once despised) became a fetish. On a few occasions, I’ve been offered large sums of money in exchange for sex in deem of my exoticness. I did not know this dark world of being a pretty girl existed, because on the other side, pretty girls had it all together.
The psychological, mental and emotional toil that my coming of womanhood brought me required me to be strong for not only myself, but for every woman out there. And for the awkward little girls who have no idea what this world will throw them when they become women themselves.
I found power in being a woman. It was invigorating to know that I had power in the way I moved and looked. Who knew a dab of lipstick and swaying hips could conquer the world?
For the first two decades of my life, I certainly didn’t.
As a little girl I always wanted to be one of the pretty girls. Their lives seemed so much better but adulthood made me realize that the grass is never greener on the other side.