Author: Melinda Alexander

Getting Free from the Stigma of Pretty

I have a pussy. I also have uneven saggy boobs, a substantial belly and a pretty face. And while I can’t say anyone ever directly took those things from me, I’ve only recently begun to feel like they are MINE. I grew up with a feminist mother, but I also grew up in Los Angeles where everyone seemed beautiful and thin and highly valued for it — including me (ok, maybe not thin but close enough). I was smart and funny and magnetic, but pretty was by far the most praised — by loved ones, by strangers, by boyfriends and by the girls at school who hated me because, “I thought I was the shit.” I remember being interested in my appearance at a young age, and in looking back during all the painful unpacking work I’ve done, I can’t help but wonder how much of that was actually innate and how much was social expectation — a desire to be “good,” to be validated. But I was more than just pretty; I was sexy — …