This topic may seem trivial or superficial to some, but as a black womxn living in a white supremacist system, and seeing our youth be so consumed with outer beauty and aesthetics, I feel this conversation needs to be had. I am not here to promote unhealthy and damaging societal "norms" and specifically beauty standards, nor do I want my art to portray that. What I am here for is breaking down the harmful conditioning, by the dominant society, that we as humans have gone through that has led us to believe what is and isn't considered beautiful or attractive in the westernized world.
I have only recently become aware of the monolith that is "pretty privilege". Like a true millennial, I found this out from an instagram post. It's never been something I was actively aware of, but the more I read about it, the more I realised how blatant it is in the media. We all know that there is an over-saturation of impossible beauty standards but there are so many privileges that individuals possess and pretty privilege is completely relevant to how we move in the world. We interact with folks differently based on their gender, class etc. and of course how attractive we think they are.
Attractiveness is completely subjective and not everyone finds the same things attractive but in westernized societies attractiveness is mostly associated with how white/light, symmetrical, abled-bodied and cisgender you appear.
The more "attractive" someone finds you, the better they will treat you, the more they will trust you and accomodate you.
Too many times I've had people come to me saying that I should model, as if I'd want to contribute to these beauty standards. As if my so-called attractiveness is all I have to offer the world. No.
People who know me, know that I am very awkward when I am complimented on my so-called beauty. There are a lot of reasons why that is.
One of those reasons is, I grew up ugly. I was a weirdo all throughout school (I also still am a weirdo), I was quiet, I had frizzy hair, dark skin and I wasn't considered beautiful. Unlike my peers and my friends, I was only ever complimented for my artistic or athletic abilities. Not what I looked like. So now when people compliment my looks, I have no idea what to say. "Thank you for finding me attractive?" Mmmyeahno thanks...because that's just. their. opinion.
Another reason is because, on my journey of self-love, I have unconditioned and reconditioned myself in my own standards of beauty. I know I am beautiful because I said I am. I know it in myself and not because of outside opinions. I could care less what people think of me, whether they compliment me or not and that is the ideology I project onto others.