How many times have you interacted with a person and they did something annoying but you let them off the hook because you thought they were cute? Or smiled and put that little extra nutmeg in someone’s latte because you thought they would notice and it would get them to talk to you? Or open the door for some hot young thing to check out their ass? Or took that flyer because the canvaser was hot?
What you were doing then and in so many infinitesimal interactions is something that I think isn’t talked about enough. I think that it’s called pretty privilege. Those that are deemed attractive by society are often given an easier time. Whether through forbearance of punishment for bad behavior or through getting a job over someone else, pretty privilege is a big deal!
The other thing that I think is interesting to note is how much correlation pretty privilege has with white privilege, cisgender privilege and class privilege. This is because those classes of people all adhere most closely to the general societal standard of beauty. Who do you see that are models, actors and superstars? Mostly white, cisgender, rich people. To be sure, there are many POC who are those things but they are a drop in the bucket and, more often then not, those POC are prized for their “exotic” look. It is just another manifestation of tokenization. Moreover, they are the exception that proves the rule.
I think one of the most radical things we can do, as oppressed peoples, is reclaim our bodies as our own and reject those normative standards of beauty. We need to see our bodies, our lives, as beautiful. We need to not only be ok with our bodies but also celebrate them for their difference, their gorgeousness. We need to look in the mirror and be able to masturbate to our own image. We need to see our wild, natural hair and our thick thighs and see them as the epitome of splendor. We need to be able to dance in the street and shout that we are fucking hot!
Is this easy? Hell no! We need to deprogram decades and decades of messages that tells us that we are ugly, worthless and unworthy of love. This is hard work! And it is only done with the gentleness of a community of people that love and affirm us. Because otherwise, the constant batter of hatred that we face in everyday life will convince us that we are ugly, worthless and unworthy of love. We need to have the place to come home to to heal and recover and remember who we are.
And if no one has told you yet today; You are absolutely beautiful.
PS I’m so sorry for the lack of posting lately!! I’ve been working on a semi-big piece and I’ve also moved back to Boston and started school. There is just a lot of craziness right now! But I promise to start posting more regularly!