‘Pretty privilege’ is real

‘Pretty privilege’ is real

January 30
23:08 2018

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It’s subjective. If society is the beholder, then what is considered beautiful?

Through the ages, America’s standard of beauty dominated the public eye with blonde hair, blues eyes and features dating back to the aristocratic times of the royal dynasties.

Now, it’s pretty safe to say those standards aren’t blatantly in our faces today because diversity is now being covered in the subtlest of places – you can now walk into an H&M and see a poster of a natural haired black woman, or stroll into Target and see a Latina woman with her children on an ad.

These women and men in advertisements are thrown at us and are supposed to represent the best of us “normal” folks.

Subconsciously, we associate these models and products with the belief we need them in order to be accepted — we need to look like this, dress like this and buy these products to be accepted.

But what happens once we have these things? We’re a step closer to the pretty privilege club.

Pretty privilege is the shallow notion that one can attain opportunities, wealth, status and life’s best offerings all based on looks.

Pretty privilege is a real thing.

Instagram models are one thing, but did you know there are a lot of content creators on YouTube who are getting paid sponsorships, free products and opportunities — like attending the Grammy’s — for their “pretty” niche platform?

In fact, it seems like pretty privilege is at an all-time high these days.

When it trickles down to the subcultures within different communities, you’ll notice difficult-to-talk-about conversations on the matter.

Black women especially have a hard time with opinions on hair types and which ones are deemed more acceptable in society.

If you have 4c hair (super kinky, shrunken curls), it is usually associated with it being “nappy” and less attractive than other black girls who have looser curls or straight hair.

For decades, these acceptable tresses amongst black women were referred to as “good” hair.

You’ll usually see arguments from the “prettier” side of the spectrum be dismissive of these observations. There are too many shared experiences for this to be a coincidence.

In other non-black groups, the notion of being lighter is always associated with being prettier. In the Latin community, “mejorar la raza,” which translates to “advance the race,” is the idea to have children with lighter men and women. Afro-Latinos have struggled with their identity because of rejection.

In Korean, Nigerian and Indian cultures, skin-lightening creams are the norm in the market. Even within white society, those old ideals of blonde hair and blue eyes can affect the dark-eyed brunettes of the world. It all comes down to what life will be willing to offer you based on how you look.

When you’re that person sitting in the waiting room for a job you are more than qualified for, it’s interesting to think you may not have gotten it because you were deemed less attractive than another candidate.

Even for those who are pretty privileged, your looks can overshadow other parts of who you are and what you have to offer. You might have to work twice as hard to prove you’re not just pretty, but also offer substance.

Pretty privilege affects both women and men and is placed upon others by both the receiving and opposite ends of it.

Featured Image: Illustration by Gabby Evans

About Author

Jade Jackson

Jade Jackson

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