Writing left handed

With Good Looks comes GREAT Responsibility

DissI initially wrote this post several months ago, but it seemed… well, a bit bitchy.  Not to mention politically incorrect.  So I never published it.  But Katie’s response to Monday’s post about the power of persuasion got me thinking…

Granted, I don’t want to think right now.  Date #7 will be on his way to Philadelphia in less than 48 hours and if I start thinking, I might do something drastic… I might start listening to my gut and then what would become of my long awaited weekend romance?

At any rate, here goes…

It drives me crazy when I see girls let guys treat them like crap.  It drives me even crazier when I see gorgeous girls let guys treat them like crap.

This isn’t because I think these so-called “gorgeous girls” deserve better than those society would deem less-gorgeous, but rather because they’re in the position to demand better and actually get it.  The way I see it, a victory for one is a victory for all and it’s up to the girls who can easily turn a few heads to raise the bar— because if they can’t do it, how’s a girl who’s overweight or suffering from low self esteem gonna find the strength to do so?

Somebody’s got to take the first stand and it might as well be someone with a steady stream of admirers.

I’m sure this seems like another of my crazy theories (and yes, I’m well-aware that I’ve just about teetered over the edge of what’s PC and what’s not) but hear me out:

By virtue of being a dancer, I have some very pretty friends.  I’m talking about the sort of women who can make a pair of ratty old jeans look like haute couture, the sort of women who never have to buy their own drinks, who regularly get chatted up in the freakin’ produce aisle and who—quite frankly—drive the rest of us crazy.

Now before you get all excited about my introducing a female version of “My Single Male Friend” here at After I Quit My Day Job, I’m not— that would be just creepy—but I am going to take a moment to talk about one such girlfriend.

She’s actually the amalgamation of several friends of mine (remember, I’ve been dancing since I was five); we’ll call her “Z.”  Z has no idea how pretty she is—if she did, there is no way she would have put up with… let’s call him “X”… for as long as she has.

Her friends keep telling her to dump his sorry *ss—for real this time—and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that his phone calls are almost exclusively of the “booty” variety.

If she can’t stand up for herself and give him the boot, how are her students going to know any better?  How are the young women who envy and admire her going to learn to they too can (and quite frankly should) ask for more?

I know it’s not fair to blame all the problems of the world on girls like Z but let’s face it: being pretty is generally seen as an advantage in life and yet with great beauty (ie. power) comes great responsibility.  At the risk of offending and alienating my entire readership, I’d go so far as to say that pretty girls— by virtue of their “physical capital” and head-turning prowess— owe it to the rest of their sex to set the example.

And no, for once I’m not actually talking about myself.

(Although in light of Katie’s comment on Monday, it occurs to me that I could be… and probably should be.)

On that note, I’m going to dismount from my soapbox and prepare for an onslaught of rotten fruit (coupled, most likely, with a bunch of exasperated text messages from Date #7).  But seriously—this is the same reason that the US ought to be taking the lead in alternative energy and the move towards a green economy.  We can’t expect the developing world to make the first move, which brings me back to my previous point: with great power comes great responsibility.  And its high time that those in positions of power realized it.

15 Responses to “With Good Looks comes GREAT Responsibility”

  1. Cdn Stormlover

    Love the post! Thanks for sharing it. I know a lot of “pretty” girls as well and I can tell you that most of them (from the over-40 crowd anyway) were told to just “sit there, be quiet and look pretty”. They weren’t shown how to receive compliments graciously either. They put themselves lower on the totem pole of life because, apparently, they were “blessed/cursed” with beauty. I’m not sure if the younger generation of “pretty” girls are dealing with the same mentality. I certainly hope not. Self esteem is such huge issue….whether you’re a “pretty” girl or not. Society seems to place more value on the pretty people of the world and give them more credence/power. What is a pretty girl to do when she’s been blessed with a power she didn’t really know she had ……all because she’s pretty? Most pretty girls I know are so used to playing down their beauty and struggling at the same time to be more powerful in a male dominated world. It’s so ugly to see!

  2. Zak

    Although I haven’t written it yet, one of the lessons from my improv classes was Make Bold Choices. Essentially what they were saying is, if you don’t make a bold choice, you’re most likely going to fail, or at least repeat the usual.

    I don’t like Date #7 (from what I’ve read), but you should go with what works and make it fun. And as much as I hate to side with “X,” I will note that maybe he offered things to “Z” that none of you noticed or counted. And I suspect that as much as you’ve held back about Date #7, there’s more to the story I don’t know that would/could/should influence me.

  3. Jessica

    Wow, this is excellent! Kat, do not be worried about being PC or anything like this – like you said, with power comes great responsibility. You have the power of your blog and the ability to get a message out to thousands of people, so you took on the responsibility of doing so. I completely agree with your post, with one small clarification: just because a girl is pretty doesn’t mean she has high self-esteem. So maybe it’s not the “pretty” girls we should be relying on but the ones who do have confidence to speak up. And even those of us who don’t think we can speak up, we are still in a position of greater power than we probably realize, so we owe it to ourselves to demand proper treatment (provided that we are also treating others properly).

    Anyway, I really appreciate the insight! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Katie

    Okay. I’m responding with how I feel about this, not to be PC, but because I strongly believe it to be true. The problem isn’t that more attractive women aren’t setting the standard for what women deserve when it comes to men — the problem is that most women don’t set the bar very high. And the correlation usually isn’t about looks, but about self-esteem. And if I’m going to say anything remotely non-PC in this comment, it’s this: better looking women tend to have lower self esteem, which is often why you see them with below-the-bar men. And when I say “below-the-bar” men, I am NOT talking about looks. I’m talking about men who aren’t good partners.

    In order to be a good partner, men (and women) need to be faithful, physically attractive (and attractED) to their partner, and not abusive (physically or emotionally). Of course, that’s over-simplified, but you get what I’m saying.

    So. More attractive (by society’s standards) women tend to have lower self-esteem because they’ve often been led to believe that they’re not worth more than their looks. While more average looking girls (like myself) have learned to develop our intelligence, humor, and other assets because that’s what the adults in our lives encouraged in our formative years. Think about it — when girls are young, they’re always told, “Oh, you’re so pretty!” and “Don’t you just look adorable!” But when they get older, the compliments change according to how realistic they are. (Which brings up a whole other discussion — maybe if we told young girls how smart they are rather than how pretty, they would ALL learn to develop those other traits and have higher self esteem.)

    Anyway, I think all this rambling is intended to say: It really, truly doesn’t matter how a woman looks — she should always have enough self esteem to know she deserves more than games, and more than being used. We tend to grow up with fairy tales telling us that one day our prince will come, and so we either wait around forever with unrealistic expectations, or we place unrealistic expectations on the person we’re with, making him out to be more than he really is. When, in the end, we should learn to appreciate a good guy when he comes along, accept him for who he is, and treat him with the same love and respect he gives us. When you really think about it, it’s not that hard. 😉

  5. Amanda

    I love this. Part of me thinks that when Z does dump X, some girls will think “she can do that BECAUSE she’s pretty. She’ll have no trouble finding someone new, but I’m stuck.” But the flip side is even worse. If X can’t demand better, those that look up to her will see that as ok.

    I’m a little surprised that Zak trys to side with this barely discussed X. This guy is an amalgamation, so (as I took it) all the rotten boyfriends that Kat’s friends have dated jammed into one character that she is using to make a point. I agree that bad relationships are rarely one sided, but this takes “bros before hoes” to a new level in my book.

  6. Kim

    Kat, I love your blog so please don’t take this personally. It is just a divergence of opinion. And I usually keep my big trap shut when it comes to something like that, in this case I couldn’t NOT say something.

    Define beauty. While Z may be the definition of “conventional” or the media generated ideal of beauty, what more is there to her? That question is rhetorical, of course. I am firmly of the belief that what makes a woman (or anyone for that matter) beautiful, what makes her breathtakingly stunning, is WHO she is and how she dances, prances, or does cartwheels through life. Her joy and passion. Her kindness and compassion. Her playfulness and sassy-ness.

    I agree with your message that women should often expect more from their relationships. But their entitlement to it or ability to get it is not directly related to their appearance. It is directly related to the strength of SELF.

    Check out this book. The Beauty of Different by Karen Walrond.
    It’s a book of BEAUTIFUL photos and essays. I gave it to my Mom for her birthday last year with a note thanking her for teaching me to see beauty everywhere.

  7. Lipstick and Playdates

    Logic would say that a beautiful woman feels better herself, but that’s not true because confidence comes from within.

    That why it’s important that women collectively join forces and not allow men to mistreat or abuse women

  8. Philly Tap Teaser

    I totally don’t agree that beauty equals power. Beauty is an illusion. Knowledge = power and money = power. How do you know for sure that Z isn’t the one in control here and shamelessly using X to have casual sex whenever she wants?

  9. Landlord

    What is most interesting about this post is the way everyone chose different portions to reply about. It obviously spoke to different people so many different ways, great job Kat!

    • Kim

      I was just thinking the same thing as curiosity got the best of me and I read all the comments this morning.

      Excellent writers make people feel uncomfortable. They make something chafe in a way the prompts a response. Good job Kat.

  10. Lincoln

    Ok… so first of all I agree with Katie. And Zak, too, for that matter: At first I didn’t mind Date #7, but it seems like things have gone a more than a bit one-way and he’s playing games [from what you’ve written].

    To be not-PC, and possibly offensive: Many/most of the dancers I knew when I lived in California were beautiful…but they terrified me: Really, abnormally, low self-esteem combined with a “why isn’t anyone looking at me? I need to do something crazy/dangerous/destructive so they look at me!” psychology lead to all sorts of undesireable behaviors.

    Among other things, this meant that when they found someone who paid attention to them and enabled the behaviors they stuck with him (or her, as the case/orientation may be) far longer than they shoud have…afraid that without that person they would have nothing, and well… a bird in the hand is worth two in a bush.

    Also I suspect that the “bad boys” hold a level of intrigue for the beautiful women… On paper I think I look really good (reasonably well traveled, adventerous, fairly well connected, street and book smart [as long that book isn’t math], clost to family, and a patron of/well known in the local performing arts circles, stable, good paying job] but hell if I could get women to pay attention to me

  11. Anna

    I definitely get where you’re coming from, and there is something to be said for the “elite” setting a strong example.

    But I’m not sure if this would really solve the problem of low self-esteem and poor choice in partners among average or downright ugly women. Think about it, in this ideal world where all the hotties kick the crappy guys to the curb… what would happen? 1) These guys would shape up and the pretty girls would re-accept them with open arms, or 2) The crappy guys would go flying into the arms of the desperate, more forgiving ugly girls. We see this happen all the time. So, ultimately, the ugly girls would look on and say, “If only I were prettier, I could ‘afford’ a nice guy. Unfortunately, I can’t.”

  12. oneisthenumber

    No rotten fruit here, perhaps an adorable and delicious cupcake instead because I think this post is spot on. After many years of being friends with women who were so drop dead stunning that they often had men almost stalk them and seeing what awful relationships they always seemed to get into I became quite alright with being merely average. Rather sad, but the really pretty ones also always seem to be the most insecure.

  13. Ariel

    I know I’m a day late, but I feel like responding anyway. I think there are a lot of generalizations going on….pretty women are the most insecure….pretty women should defend our gender…. less attractive women only look up to attractive women… Ultimately each woman has their own set of standards that they need to hold men to, and hopefully they have the confidence to do it. I have been hit on by many very attractive douchebags, but only fallen in love with average looking men that treat me with respect, tenderness, and care. It’s funny that you should say that pretty women should demand more from their partners, because as a woman that is considered pretty I have demanded more (other than looks) and people tell me I deserve better (looking), but I always think I am with the best man. Everyone’s standard of what people deserve is based on their own opinions, to some it’s looks to others it is personality. It’s up to you to decide what demanding more means.


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