before I’ve called them intelligent or brave
I am sorry I made it sound as though
something as simple as what you’re born with
is all you have to be proud of
when you have broken mountains with your wit
from now on I will say things like
you are resilient, or you are extraordinary
not because I don’t think you’re beautiful
but because I need you to know
you are more than that”
This poem struck me. As a girl raised on Disney princess movies, I’ve always generally accepted that being called “beautiful” is an ultimate compliment, never to be resented.
But this poem really articulates a feeling I have developed throughout college: that I am a lot of other important things besides “beautiful,” and I am only called “pretty” or “beautiful” first because I am a female. Male coworkers don’t greet each other by admiring how handsome the other looks. But it’s a lot more normal for women to simply comment on the beauty of each other’s hair or outfits before admiring each other’s other strengths in conversation: wit, bravery, resiliency, intelligence, passion, etc.
From now on I will make it my goal to think of and talk about other women in this way first, before thinking about them in terms of “beautiful.” Real societal change will happen when both women AND men start to do the same.
This will take time, as the media examples that socialize us to see the world around us catch up to equality-based thinking (how relationships are portrayed in movies, how women relate to each other in our favorite TV shows – these all reinforce and shape how we view relationships in our real lives). Once these examples are more equality-based, more people’s mentalities will be, too. And I am excited for that era.