The other day, someone I am friends with commented on a post someone made about how horrible they find it when a guy calls them “beautiful”.
“What about my intellect,” she asked, “what about how tough I am?”
My friend commented that she was always told how smart and tough she was. No one ever told her she was beautiful until much later into adulthood. Before that, she looked at her smartness and toughness and wondered if they were why no one would date her. She was smart and tough but not beautiful enough. “Only in adulthood and kink, did I realize I could be all three.”
I was sad to see her words deleted later.
Because I understood them.
All too well.
When I reached adulthood, a guy calling me beautiful must have been a liar. I was a tom-boy. I got along with guys more than girls. I was smart and tough. And to be all of that and beautiful and sexy – well, those things were mutually exclusive in my mind. And they were in my mind because of what others had taught me.
I remember being about 7 years into my career, I showed up in a skirt to work. I got shit for it all day that day and other days too. I was the tomboy – I was to be dressedd a way that made sense given I was a tomboy in their mind. It was like my duty.
So no matter how many times G would call me beautiful, I would look at it as not real. If it were real, no one would have a problem if I showed up dressed as me vs in the role of tomboy. That was my feeling. G said it because he loved me on a larger scale. (My words – not his.)
When I read the words of someone complaining about being called beautiful, I cannot help but go “poor pretty girl”. I hate that I go there – but I cannot help it. Not everyone is called that like they believe. Some of us are called other names – acceptable ones – ones that are more acceptable from a feminist perspective. Then meanwhile we struggle – we struggle to feel good enough as a girl. We struggle to feel feminine enough. We struggle to feel female enough.
Seeing that her words were deleted made me realize how few people get that. How they do not understand how it is to walk that path?
Don’t get me wrong. If a guy messages me “hey beautiful”, I do not swoon. I roll my eyes and hit delete. I’m more than my looks. But now, when someone calls me beautiful – someone who knows and sees all of who I am? Well, I swoon – and I believe them. There is something very nice to be wanted on many levels – not just because I’m strong and smart.