Self

Not Just Another Pretty Face: Why You Are So Much More Than Your Good Looks

Photo: Martin Novak / Shutterstock
smiling woman

By Rebecca Goldansky

It is no secret that females face innumerable stigmas regarding their physical appearances.

In a society where looks seem to rank supreme, it is nearly impossible for women to find a happy medium. As if the internal battle with oneself were not enough, women are continuously being judged by their outward appearances in arenas such as the workplace.

If we are dissatisfied with our looks, sometimes we feel like we need to change them. If we are comfortable in our own skin and express ourselves as such, we are scrutinized by those around us.

Our social media profiles are analyzed by everyone from our family members to our employers, just waiting for the opportunity to call us out for our choice of attire.

My personal question is: why? Women are allowed to be aware of their appeal and are allowed to embrace it!

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I would be lying if I said I wasn’t complimented on the way I look often. Now, before you rush to judgment about the aforementioned statement, hear me out.

Knowing and appreciating the way I look does not make me conceited, nor does it mean I don’t have a laundry list of insecurities (I find new ones every day). It simply means I am accepting the fact that I’m a woman who’s allowed to love herself the way she would want to be loved, and I consider that to be a good quality.

Unfortunately, when it comes to looks, our awareness oftentimes tends to cloud what lies beneath. This is where the issues begin to come to a slow, steady boil.

The umbrella of physical attractiveness extends over thousands of industries, the most notable being in the entertainment industry. Tabloids routinely take accomplished actresses and focus on their bikini bodies instead of their Oscar nominations.

Everyone knows that Natalie Portman, for example, is stunning. She is repeatedly featured in magazines with captions featuring the words “beautiful” and “sexy.” What most fail to realize, however, is that she is a Harvard graduate.

Yes, you read that correctly — Harvard. This is me telling you that a woman can, in fact, be multi-faceted, educated, and give you a boner. Essentially, women’s talent and craft become overshadowed by their breast implants or choice of denim.

The masses are so focused on images of a woman’s plastic surgery, makeup, and sex appeal that her internal qualities (the ones that make her the woman she actually is), fall to the wayside.

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Celebrities are universally reliable to act as an example for what common women experience all the time, whether or not we’re cognizant of it. I cannot even begin to count how many times people are absolutely baffled when they hear that I am a young, successful writer.

Nine out of ten times when I meet a man in any sort of social setting, he is blown away by the fact that I manage to have big breasts and am almost finished with my bachelor’s degree at an actual university.

Imagine an ample, accomplished young lady who is simultaneously dressed in a revealing cocktail dress! Why should one thing have anything to do with the other? The answer is simple: it doesn’t.

I am a woman. Not unlike the vast majority of women in existence, I have a womanly figure. If you see my breasts, it is because I have them. To put it plainly, I don’t believe I should have to cover up my cleavage in order to be taken seriously.

Just because I possess and display my feminine attributes does not denote that I am void of substance. It’s society’s fault that breasts are sexualized as it is.

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Just because I do my hair and makeup when I go out does not make me ignorant, uneducated, or aloof. If you find me attractive, and if said attractiveness distracts you, that is not my problem.

That being said, my intelligence level should not be questioned as a result. Because, contrary to popular belief, it is possible to be a whole, sexual, smart woman.

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Instead of stereotyping women based solely on the way they look, we should educate women to be the full package. Everyone’s definition of what that embodies differs, but mine includes not only having substance, but being kind, open-minded, educated, and, yes, my own version of attractive.

I’m aware that not every woman cares about or emphasizes their appearance, and this is absolutely their choice. However, for women like me who feel good about themselves when they get dolled up, this is actually an extremely controversial issue, no matter how shallow or misconstrued it may seem to an outsider.

Am I pretty? Am I voluptuous? Am I sexy? Some believe so. Sure, it’s flattering to hear compliments, but there is a fine line between being perceived as a mere mannequin and being taken seriously, the latter of which is my aim in life.

I am not my appearance, nor is any other woman.

Just to be clear, this is not an article commentating on self-loathing, nor is it a statement on feminism. On the contrary, this is dedicated to the women who are confidently aware of their physical selves; ones who know what they look like and embrace it willingly.

What you have just read is a reflection of one woman fighting an uphill battle.

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My hope for women is to one day not be automatically categorized, judged, and/or mentally placed strictly due to the way we look.

The way a woman looks is just that: the way she looks. The way a woman is — the way she conducts herself, her background, her level of intelligence — is a completely different entity.

My aim in writing this is not to change the world by any means; for judgments will always be cast and stereotypes will always exist. Are there some beauties out there who are dumb? 100%. Are there women at Princeton who have boob jobs? Absolutely.

My point is that you cannot judge a book by its cover. Yes, this is an old adage, but it holds so much meaning in so many different areas, especially this one.

There is no correlation between physical beauty or sex appeal and a woman’s confidence, IQ, or upbringing. I urge you to remember that a mask is merely a façade and that there is always more that lies beneath.

Am I expecting this very article to change the world? Absolutely not. My wish is that the next time you assume a blonde is a dingbat, or jump to the conclusion that a pretty girl in a low-cut top is a slut, to reconsider.

I could be wrong, but hey, so could you.

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Rebecca Goldansky is a writer and contributor to Unwritten whose work has been featured in Huffington Post, Edible Baja Arizona, and Knockout Magazine. Visit her blog for more of her writing.

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This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.