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No One Has to Look Nice for You


Humans are visual creatures; we love beautiful scenery, sites and people. We crave things that are appealing to the eye, heck, and as someone who dabbles in painting, I completely understand the desire for aesthetics.

The problem with our desire for aesthetics is that we think we are entitled to have things look the way we want them to, even if that is not the desire for others (other than the collective decision to paint walls gray, because when did we decide that the color of depression goes with this couch). In our quest to quench our insatiable desire for nice things, we forget that things we do not like are things that others do, and everything, especially people, is not and cannot be tailored for our consumption.

It is impossible to escape the ubiquity of the BBL.

Some are easier to spot than others, but trust they are everywhere. A procedure that has gained the bulk of its popularity in the last ten years shows no signs of losing potential business with the potential loss of life. Women and men are gladly signing up to have a procedure that has a death rate as high as 1 in 3,000. For perspective, breast implant surgery has a death rate of 1 in 72,000, according to an April 2023 article by MedPage Today. We’ve become so obsessed with not only how we look but how others look at us that even when death is literally on the table, so many people take the risk. Many people will justify it by saying it is something that they did for themselves, but to eliminate how society reinforces images and imagery of how we should feel about our bodies is disingenuous. People get cosmetic surgeries because other people like the way they look after, too. The show “Swan” and the original extreme makeover were not successful because they only had one audience member. 

The desire for perfection, especially concerning women’s appearances, is not only dangerous physically but for mental health as well.  I hate bringing Lizzo into a conversation that everyone else brings her into, but when it comes to fatphobia, she is where men from all races seem to join in on the fun. No matter what type of dieting and exercising she does, or what performance stamina she has, she will always be the poster child of fatphobia’s easiest target.

Fatphobia is people thinking that their negativity and cruelty will make a positive impact on someone else’s health. Tearing them down emotionally is somehow the alchemy to building them physically. Somehow, we think we are entitled to craft our ideal standard for someone else and even more, voice our unwarranted opinion about their lack of achievement of our goals for their bodies.

Black women are also specifically targeted for their appearance in public, whether it is different color hair, leggings, or a bonnet. 

These items, especially on one person, are associated with a certain demographic of Black women, and Black people are not immune to classism. A dentist was in hot water on social media recently for putting a sign on her establishment that prohibited bonnets, pajama pants, and house shoes in her dental practice (that actually looks like a house, according to the picture from Twitter).  Now, I do not condone people leaving bad fake reviews on her business and harassing her, but she did not seem to have the best reviews beforehand. Additionally, I want to remind people that it is, in fact, a dentist’s office. While it is still an office, it is also a place that is associated with extreme discomfort and pain for many of its paying clientele.  People have sensory issues, myself included, and knowing that I am about to be completely knocked out or at least stabbed in the gums with a very painful instrument that is supposed to keep me from feeling more pain but is still very painful, I don’t know, but I might want to be comfortable going into that process, especially when there is a high probability of me drooling blood at any given moment. Additionally, the dentist can literally give me medicine that puts me to sleep, but I can’t wear some stuff to sleep in, hmm? Am I not completely covered? Am I obstructing the procedure?  I don’t know. I’m trying to figure out the issue. Additionally, as previously mentioned, even Black people indulge in classism, and the average Black woman associated with public bonnet wear is seen as on the lower echelon of not only Black society but society as a whole. I am currently sporting a blowout that took five hours to achieve, and I have been hiding from the Florida humidity under a bonnet to and from the car, out in public.  My reason is extremely valid to me. Who am I to question someone else’s reasoning simply because it is not my reason? 

No one spent money on getting my hair done but me, and therefore no one else should dictate how I protect it. And you know what, even if I operated out of hypocrisy and did not like when I saw public bonnet wear on others, why do I have to like it? Why does it have to meet my standards?

We can focus all day on what we want from people, but at the end of the day, that is not a healthy reality for them or us. Just because society may be kinder to bodies like mine does not mean I get to force my opinion about their bodies on them.  Just because some men are not attracted to women of a certain size does not mean that women should sign up to literally risk their lives for people whom they probably won’t be with anyway, and just as importantly, it does not give anyone the justification for suggesting someone’s body look a certain way to appease them. People are allowed to like what they like, whether that is someone’s personal style or body type, but people are also allowed to live in their bodies peacefully just as much.

The struggle is real. Body weight is not just based on diet and exercise, but genetics are real and so is mental health. Some people lose and gain weight if they are going through depression; making commentary about their weight, even if you deem it helpful, is usually the opposite. Just because you’ve done 50 sit-ups this week does not make you a personal trainer. Some people have pre-existing conditions or are on medications that affect their appearance. Looking nice is always a nice thing, but so is comfort, and people, women especially, shouldn’t have to always think of the gaze of others in favor of their comfort or personal reasoning.  We literally do not know what people are going through. Hell, some people look like they just rolled out of bed because that’s all that they could do. We choose what we want our eyes to focus on as our main focus. 

You are not attractive to everyone; it is a gross exaggeration of self to think that everyone should be attractive to you. 

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