Who Are You to Tell Me I’m Not Pretty?


Image created by Jorge Guzman

Victoria Juarez, Editorial Editor

It is a beautiful thing when a person breaks out of their shell and becomes the person they are meant to be. For many, the process of becoming your own person begins in middle school, when one is challenged to see outside their own perspectives and new relationships blossom. 

With the rise of social media, it is hard to maintain your own opinion. A single picture on Instagram is followed by likes or comments that can dictate your emotions for the rest of the day or week. The comments don’t even have to be bad, but if you receive fewer comments or likes than usual, doubt creeps in. 

As a woman, I try to navigate the world not thinking about what others may think of me. I do what I like, when I’d like to, because I like it. But this type of mentality is not always healthy, convenient, or easy to maintain. Because the truth of the matter is, whether it’s on social media or not, people will always judge you and sometimes that is scary. 

My sister used to tell me I was pretty, yet I could never bring myself to believe her. As I got older, I believed her less. It is possible that my inability to believe her was due to the fact that I grew up with the internet. But it is now at 17, that I realize I am pretty, and that is not always a good thing. 

There is a certain lack of respect that comes from people, particularly men and elders, when a girl is “pretty.” We may be pretty, but in the eyes of these people, pretty girls will also always be viewed as lazy, stupid, and in extreme cases property. But in today’s society, beauty is the standard, not the exception, and one must strive to achieve it. 

When I get ready for work, I get ready knowing that I get better tips if I am wearing a little makeup and tame hair. It is an unfortunate thing, really, to be unable to go to work as myself, but I’ve found comfort in my “oppression.” 

I have found comfort in my femininity and have let go of what is attached to it. I do enjoy wearing makeup and doing my hair. I enjoy wearing nice clothes and occasionally heels. I would even go so far to say that I like my face and body. Yet everywhere I turn, there seems to be something or someone stopping me from truly allowing me to embrace the concept of being “pretty.” 

In school, we are given rules in class or on campus simply to keep us safe or organized. However, when it comes to the dress code, there is no real danger that comes with wearing a tank top that isn’t also there when wearing a long sleeve shirt. When you present the purpose of a dress code out loud, it is hard not to realize the buffoonery that is associated with it. 

If the purpose of having a dress code is to help girls avoid going through the hardships of being hit on by boys everyday, then having rules about what they can and cannot wear will not be enough. If the purpose of a dress code is to prepare students for future employment, then the school is failing to do such a thing. Because the school does not have a dress code. They have rules. 

A dress code does require rules in order for it to function, but the rules of a dress code are in regards to what style of clothing is allowed in a workspace. A dress code could be formal, business, casual, etc. Our “dress code” has rules but not in regards to what style we can wear, more so in regards to how sexual a garment is perceived. 

I feel as though a lot of girls go through a phase of hating feminine things purely because of what society has taught us. Some women never seem to outgrow this phase. It is possible that because of this “pick me” mentality, many female teachers and administrators are the first ones to dress code the female presenting students. It could also be possible that they themselves have never found comfort in their “oppression” and truly feel they are looking out for our safety. But if this is the case, would it not be easier to teach men not to view beauty as lazy, stupid, property? 

For years, I put my beauty in this glass cage thinking it would protect it from judgement. It has been 17 years and the glass has not worked, for people could always see past it. It is now time for me to put my beauty on a pedestal, not for you to judge, but for you to admire. 

I am aware that the judgement will not cease. In fact it may grow. But I cannot let Instagram, customers, or even school administration dictate how “pretty” I am, and you should not either.