Originally published as a section in my Miss UMN blog.
I hate being called beautiful. It’s not like I’m popular or anything that somebody would randomly call me that to my face, but I hate even the idea of it. It’s not because I don’t feel beautiful. I do. At least there were times. In fact, I think everything is beautiful that it’s barely a compliment to be called one. It is just a factual statement.
The sea is beautiful. So do you. Right? Does that mean that I compare you to a body of saltwater? Now that’s the issue. The term ‘beauty’ has been stretched for eons by numerous linguists and philosophers (thanks for the enlightenment, Aesthetics). At the end of the day, it is reduced to a meaningless, non-definitive, very pretentious term, at least to me.
Wide is beautiful. Black is beautiful. Everything that isn’t conventionally called ‘pretty’ is beautiful, according to Tyra Banks’ incessant campaign, but ‘pretty’ itself is beautiful by definition. So literally, everything is beautiful. In that sense, ‘beautiful’ isn’t a special quality. It is merely an ameliorative, perceptive adjective used by optimists to describe everything! So how is that a compliment to you? Even “pretty” has better distinction than the word “beautiful”. It’s superficial, yes, but at least has a set of criteria to fulfill, let it be averageness, symmetry, and youthfulness. Beauty has nothing. It is in the eyes of the beholder, so much in fact, that a specimen of a rare duck’s feces is beautiful to the scientists’ eyes. Suggesting that the best compliments are personal and should refer to one’s special quality, theoretically speaking, “you’re a pretty human” is more pleasing than “you’re beautiful”, an understatement that could somehow put you in comparison to duck’s feces.
With that in mind, I’d like to think that people who call me beautiful are either a) trying to be nice, b) really lazy at compliments, c) have a pathetic range of vocabulary. Obviously, ‘beautiful’ is such a generic, pretentious, non-definitive term that it is basically a conclusion of every adjectival syllogism possible! Big is beautiful. My aunt is big. Then, my aunt is beautiful. Weirdly enough, my hypothetical aunt would feel better with the conclusion instead of the proposition. That is ironic, since the proposition is actually more definitive and representing a more unique of a quality than the conclusion.
It is a mindset that us girls need to plant to ourselves: everything is beautiful. Everyone is beautiful. You are beautiful. It is no longer a compliment. It is a fact. Then, what is a compliment? It is something that you recognize is unique to you, and people around you acknowledge is in you. We all have a word to distinguish us. Me, I prefer ‘corky’. Heck, ‘absurd’ is fine. ‘Nerdy’, too. After all, all three of them are beautiful qualities anyway … just like everything else. But those are my beauty.
So I have a challenge for you now. Widen your vocabulary and choose up to five words that is uniquely you. Don’t be scared to use pejorative terms like ‘bitch’ etc. Make your own definition. Feel the beauty of having a full comprehension of who you are, and dare not to be flattered only by the word “beautiful” (you know nothing, One Direction).
So … what’s your beauty?
To everybody who consider themselves not beautiful.
P.S. That won’t be possible, considering I have gone through every possible definition of it under the eyes of Matius Ali.