We’ve all learned a lesson: As a woman, you can never admit to being beautiful.
“People judge me because I’m pretty.”
That’s the headline of an article that has been shared many thousands of times since being published on Cosmopolitan.
The article, written by 20-year-old student and Good Housekeeping intern Felicia Czochanski, focuses on men’s sleazy reactions to the author’s good looks. In its conclusion Czochanski demands, reasonably enough, to be respected for more to than just her appearance.
Read about the original article here.
Admittedly, the whole article reads a little ‘first world problems,’ and a little short on the analysis of the causes of street harassment. In that respect, it’s no different to any number of short opinion pieces published by glossy women’s magazines across the world.
But the reactions toward Czochanski’s piece have been overwhelmingly, personally, barbarically negative. So disproportionately cruel has the backlash been, in fact, that the young writer has been forced to make her Instagram profile private and change her Facebook name.
Commenters began ripping Czochanski to shreds within hours of the article’s publication online. And while a few of the 260+ commenters focused on the article’s “self-involved” tone, the overwhelming majority chose to scrutinise the very aspect of herself on which she asked not to be judged: Her appearance.
“She needs eyeglasses or at least a better mirror ! She is average, that is the most generous thing I can say,” Sheri Russell Jamerson wrote.
The girl looks like a space alien. What a diluded idiot,” Audrey Elmaleh wrote.
“Your toes are really weird and chubby, you’ve got a piggy nose, you wear too much make up in some of your pictures and your eyes are really baggy,” Laura Stephanie R D wrote.
Other commenters challenged her to walk into a modelling agency and see if they’d sign her, or ranked her appearance out of 10.
“2/10 mole,” Morgan Ingpen wrote.
“When did 4s start acting like 10s?,” asked Brian Douglas.
“Girl, you’re about average… by the time thirty hits you need to be married to some average-looking guy that thinks your beautiful, because by then you’ll be coming apart,” Philip Ferro wrote.
Related: An awful case of appearance shaming.
Of course, the exact calibre of the author’s attractiveness was not the point of her article. Cozanchski was merely trying to express her wish not to be judged on appearances, and her discomfort with cat-calling.
But those indignant readers clearly felt she had crossed a line and needed to be placed back in her box. They felt they needed to punish her by pointing out, in very specific detail, every so-called “flaw” in her online photographs.