Don’t Need You (To Tell Me I’m Pretty)Posted: July 19, 2013
Most days while I scarf down a late breakfast I’ll check Twitter, and once I’ve caught up on the people I follow I’ll look at what’s trending. This is so I can have some idea of what’s going on in the world and what people are talking about, and a great way to find out what celebrities have messed up or died. There are also usually some interesting or amusing hashtags floating about.
Today I saw that “National Tell A Girl She’s Beautiful Day” was trending. Now, my first response was to think that this was a rather cute and sweet idea, but I was skeptical.
Sure, we have tons of pointless days floating about but this one seemed a little suspect.
A quick Google revealed that it was in fact balderdash.
It also revealed that a lot of cats were not happy about the made up day. Now, like I said, I’d thought it was a rather sweet little idea to fire off a compliment to someone you found attractive, which I think is a good thing, I mean, everyone likes a compliment.
The naysayers however objected to it stating that it was a shallow thing that reduced women to just being about how they look, and that they need the validation of men’s praise to be complete.
I have to say, while I think it’s a tad of an overreaction and wanted to say “lighten up”, that I get the point. As a couple of people asked “why isn’t there a ‘tell a girl she’s smart’ day?”
We live in a beauty obsessed culture- on TV, in magazines there are constant pictures of edited celebrities and models who are celebrated for their beauty, which is often enhanced in ways that your Joe or Josephine in the street isn’t going to have at their disposal.
Worst of all, when these famous people slip up or have some minor flaw they’re attacked and ridiculed for it. There’s this real malicious glee in magazines like Heat to point out that some singer hasn’t quite lost her baby weight, that some Hollywood star was spotted in trackies with greasy hair or that a television presenter has a bit of cellulite.
One can only imagine the effect has on society’s more vulnerable and insecure members, I’ll admit that as a pretty ugly guy there are times when it messes my head, and I’m fairly comfortable walking around like a scruffy bastard. Like it or not, we judge on appearances a lot. It’s natural in a way, as we often have little else to go on, but that doesn’t make it right.
I try, as much as possible, to never insult someone on how they look. I don’t always succeed and I do catch myself having unkind thoughts about some people. But I do my best not to put that kind of negativity out there, because I’m aware that it can be extremely hurtful. I’ve had jokes made about how fat I am in the past, and the fact I’m not a looker has been pointed out, and it ain’t pleasant.
I think sometimes people forget that while the pressures seem to be greater on women, body image issues are just as much of a problem for guys. I started running to get healthy for myself, but I’d be a liar if I didn’t say that I also kinda want to look better. When people complimented me on my weight loss and how healthier I was looking, I felt good.
There’s an old line of thought that says it’s okay for men to be fat. A fat guy doesn’t get the grief that a larger lady does.
Sure, we can laugh it off more or dress in certain ways to cover it more, but it’s still there. I’ve had nasty looks from girls because I’m heavy. I’ve seen them. I’ve heard comments.
In fact, it’s worse in some ways for a guy. There’s a massive movement to help women’s body image, and lots of “fat positive” websites and stuff online. I follow some pages that celebrate the curvier woman on Tumblr and the like, because it happens to be a type of woman I find attractive, but from what I can tell, the male equivalent, outside of the homosexual “bear” community, is sadly lacking.
But this is for another day, and let’s back on topic.
Women shouldn’t just be celebrated for their looks. It’s frustrating to see actresses like Jennifer Lawrence and Scarlett Johansson get asked questions about their weight or underwear when they’re promoting films where they play strong female characters. Of all the things you could ask about Katniss Everdeen, the thing you’re going to focus on is Lawrence’s diet?
I think we should compliment people on their looks, because it’s a nice thing to do, and it makes people feel good, and celebrating beauty is fine, but we need to make sure that we’re not judging people, especially women, just on how they look.
I’m guilty of it myself- I’m a fan of Lady Gaga, Kate Winslet and Katy Brand’s work, but how often when I talk about them without referencing that I find them attractive. I can’t say that their looks will never come into my mind, but I can try harder to focus more on their excellent work and not just my attraction to them.
So, yes, we should have a compliment day (which apparently we do) because we need to spread positivity in this world, but let’s make it a full week. And every day you try to give 3 compliments, and only 1 can be appearance based. Tell someone you think they’re funny, or clever, or good at their job, or kind, or whatever, because all that stuff is more important than how they look.
By all means, tell a girl she’s beautiful if you think she is, but make sure you tell her about the other stuff too, and that she knows that it’s not just her beauty that matters to you or should matter to her.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.
P.S. Rather pleased that I got to use a Samantha Mumba track as a blog title.