We’ve all heard it. “You would be so pretty if…”
“…you just smiled.”
“…you lost some weight.”
“…you changed your hair.”
“…you changed your clothes.”
When I was 18, I had a dentist tell me that I would be “so pretty” and “attract so many boys” if only I just got braces to take care of my crooked teeth. (Well newsflash to THAT dick-for-brains, I’m a lesbian. An even better moment in that story? I was wearing a cheeky shirt that said “I Know What Girls Like” on the front. Guy was a moron.) So let me get this straight (ha), Mr. Dentist-Man. If I spend $2,500 dollars, and two uncomfortable years with a mouthful of metal, I will have done enough to change myself in order to make boys like me? Whoop-de-fucking-do.
Because you know what, when people drop these little lines, these “you would be so pretty if” nuggets, what they are really saying is: “You need to change yourself to measure up to what I find attractive, and only then will you be worthy.” And do you know what I say to those people?
You can fuck right the hell off. Seriously.
This morning, as I was sitting in rage-enducing traffic, I was tagged in a comment, meant to draw my attention to one of these “helpful” commentators. It was on an image of a woman on one of my favorite Facebook pages. She was kind enough to post a picture of herself in a new outfit, so that her fellow clothing-enthusiasts can see the products on her specific body type. In this particular photo, she was rockin’ a new top and some high-waisted shorts, and looked great, just stony-faced. She’s a regular contributor to the page in question, and I always look to her photos to get an idea of how any particular item would look on me, as we are close in shape. To clarify, this girl is a minx. She could be wearing a scowl and a burlap sack, and would still look good. So, when I saw one of those helpful “you would look so good if you just smiled”, I couldn’t help but be indignant.
Excuse me, Sir. She didn’t post that photo for your specialsnowflake eyes, only. In fact, I’d wager a guess that she didn’t post that photo for your eyes at all. (Shock. Gasp. Dismay.) And FURTHERMORE, if you’re only looking at this particular website to scope out clothing options for your wife, why the need for color commentary, huh? The jig is up, perv. And you aren’t fooling anyone.
This scenario is just one of many in which women are treated like, and expected to be accessories or objects. We’re expected to be malleable, and mold to become whatever any given person wants us to be. Because god forbid, we be whatever we want. Or who we are.
I’ll end with this little PSA for anyone who might be guilty of dropping those “helpful” lines:
I am not an accessory. I won’t smile/lose weight/gain weight/change myself just to gain your approval. If you aren’t willing to take me as I am? Well, you can go sit over there in the Box Of Shame with Douchebag Dentist and Pervy Facebook Guy. Because just like them, we don’t care what you have to say, anyway.