We tell our little girls they are beautiful and that they should feel that way, but we also tell them to not be too vain. Case in point: an essay that recently appeared in Cosmopolitan in which a 20-year-old girl admitted to being so pretty that she feels people don’t recognize her accomplishments. The backlash has been swift and oh so mean.
Felicia Czochanski is just a young college student, but an essay she wrote is already making major waves. In it she says she is sick of being catcalled and judged for her looks over her brains. The piece is, admittedly, a bit over the top. Being “too pretty” is not a problem women often complain about. That said, the backlash against this poor woman has been way over the top.
Czochanski has been called everything from ugly to delusional and everything in between. The problem is, whether or not you find her concerns shallow or even vain, the urge to attack this woman’s looks and make her feel shamed and less confident reveals everything that is wrong with today’s society.
“Imagine how it feels to have heads turn and all eyes on you when you are simply trying to get to where you need to be. It doesn’t make me feel beautiful or sexy. It makes me feel like there’s something wrong with me. The scrutiny is never ending.”
Any woman who has ever walked down the street, especially in New York City, knows that scrutiny. But it’s more than that too. Being attractive in the world, to whatever degree, can be difficult. It can feel like all eyes are on you. But then she gets attacked for saying it. Comments like “Newsflash…..you’re not hot. At all” only prove that all eyes are on her. She’s cute, but not “beautiful” enough to justify feeling attractive. She’s pretty, but not “beautiful.” This way that we categorize and judge women is utterly exhausting. Is it any wonder this poor girl feels like every move she makes is watched?
As the mother of two daughters, I want them to feel good and attractive and beautiful. But not so beautiful. Because then they are conceited. My, the line we walk is thin, indeed. Whether this woman is beautiful or cute doesn’t really matter. She is telling her truth and being judged harshly for it.
In the end, it doesn’t matter whether you agree (or you or you). It only matters how they feel. I support this woman telling her truth. We women need to hold one another up. “Hot” is a state of mind, and if she feels it, more power to her.
We should all have so much self-esteem.