I’ve never been one of the pretty girls. I wouldn’t go as far to say I was ugly. But growing up I was definitely what would be considered a 'plain Jane'. My middle name literally is Jane, by the way.
I think I first realised I wasn’t pretty when I wore pants to school and the crossing man called me 'young man'. Not my finest moment when battling puberty.
"First underarm hair, now this," I thought.
It tortured me as I grew up. It didn’t help that one of my best friends was incredibly beautiful and I took on the role of delivering notes to her from boys, dying to be her boyfriend. She would circle yes or no and I would return the note, somehow knowing I would always be the messenger. The ugly stepsister to her Cinderella.
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I would fill my diary with teenage angst about why no one would ever notice me and I obsessively focused on knowing my good angles, makeup, lighting and all the other tricks that all young women have up their sleeve. Still to this day I carefully craft the most flattering photos for social media, selecting a good angle and filter. Because it’s fun and I’m human. And humans like sparkly things.
We always preach that it’s what’s on the inside that truly matters but I feel like that statement in this era feels laughable to any young girl. To hand them a phone and give them access to social media. To have them see endless beautiful faces and unattainable standards staring at them everyday. Then to turn around and say- "don’t worry! It’s your insides that count!"
It's never felt more like a crime not to be pretty than it does in 2020.
And yes I realise that beauty is within the eye of the beholder and that true beauty shines from within. But at the end of the day conventional attractiveness really just comes down to symmetry. That all your features are well placed.
Unfortunately for me, my reflection is slightly less Mona Lisa and slightly more Picasso.