On June 9th blogger Nathan Biberdorf posted an article on his wordpress blog titled “Not Everyone Is Beautiful.” Guess what? This article is exactly what you think it is: some dude wanting to lash out against the body-positivity movement by being the thorn in your side that reminds you that you might actually not be beautiful.
Bull. Shit. That’s right. I call bullshit. While this article does make wonderfully smart points about our society’s focus on physical beauty and the capitalism behind encouraging everyone to be beautiful, it still has this blunt overtone of body shaming. Yeah, it’s cool that Aerie doesn’t photoshop their models anymore, but it would be cooler if they hired actual plus size models or even women with visible scars or disabilities. The point Biberdorf is trying to make is an important one: It’s important in our capitalistic society that we still all strive to be beautiful in order to keep buying products that promise beauty. Biberdorf says that if we all just screw the concept of beauty then these companies can fuck off and we won’t need them.
Yeah, I get it. But I also think that the complete opposite can be true. If everyone already believes they’re beautiful, then we also won’t feel the need to participate in the beauty industry. Of course, this is just a theory and in practice I buy a lot of makeup and shit to make my hair soft and shapewear to make my ass look seamless - but the thing is that it’s okay to want to be pretty. It’s okay to think you’re already beautiful. It’s okay to be not so confident about yourself but to be working towards loving the way you look.
It is not okay to tell people, especially girls, that they are not beautiful. People tell each other daily that they should kill themselves because they aren’t physically attractive. It’s unbelievably shitty, but it happens. It’s happened to me.
Instead of focusing on dismissing beauty, because that’s never ever going to happen, why can’t we embrace the things that Biberdorf points out are of value as things that make us beautiful? Being important and interesting and worth loving are all things that make you beautiful. Being beautiful is more than just about your face’s symmetry. Being beautiful is about the way your nose crinkles up when you laugh or the way you play the cello. Beauty is the cumulation of the way people see you, not just from the outside but also through everything they associate with you as a person.
Being human is beautiful. Having a body that sustains your soul is CRAZY beautiful. Having a heart and lungs or maybe half a lung or a donated kidney all make you beautiful because you are the product of thousands of years of human development. The next time some dude tells you you’re not beautiful; think of your opposable thumbs and how they let you write and how beautiful that is. Being human, being alive, is beautiful. I won’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Image Source: Arthlete.tumblr.com,
Mary Rockcastle is a florist, illustrator, and craftswoman living in Rochester, New York. She’s the sole founder of Little Lamb Studios, and #1 biggest fan of all dogs.