In my lifetime, as a young girl, and then a young woman, a lot of importance has been placed on outward appearance. From the moment I was born, my parents were putting me in dresses, fixing bows in my hair, and taking a million photos. As I grew older, I learned that women have to wear this thing called 'make-up' that men aren't expected to. A girl's prom dress and ultimately her wedding dress, are two of the most expensive articles of clothing that one middle-class citizen could possibly own. I never really questioned it back in the day, but as I get older and wiser, I just HAVE to ask...who are we getting cute for??
Upon the first realization of the concept of "cuteness", I believe it stemmed from other girls. Not sure where THEY learned of this concept, but perhaps it was their parents. The other girls I knew from school would compare looks. Hair, facial structure, skin tone, height, weight... everything having to do with physical appearance. The boys in school would also join in from time to time in the comparisons. I remember at one point, there was some sort of ranking list going around the classroom (which girl was cutest). At this point, all of the gears in everyone's brain switched to competition. An unspoken and unwelcome beauty pageant for all of the girls to participate. The winner gets the title of prettiest girl and all the attention that comes with it. Oh, and you get your pick of a boyfriend!
Through all of this conditioning to be the cutest, the factors of intelligence and personality are merely secondary. I rarely found girls to be competing over who was the smartest or nicest. Why the heck not? This sort of thing continued all the way through school for me. Which brings we to my current post-institution era. Even though I'm not constantly compared to and competing with my peers on a daily basis, there is plenty beauty pressure still. Most of the advertisements I see in my waking life are for improving my physical appearance. Almost every magazine geared towards women are beauty related. Rarely intelligence related. The beauty aisle in every drug store is always super massive and filled with eager ladies willing to spend insane amounts on products as if they are necessities. Even the "book" aisle is filled with dirty romance novels and even more, propaganda filled magazines.
At some point, I really just had to question it all. Why was it so important for me to try and be cute every day? There was a point in my life where I literally did not leave the house (to even go to the corner store) without makeup on. When staying over someone's house, I'd SLEEP with makeup on. Terrible! I'm at the point now where I sort of don't give a crap. I mean, obviously sometimes I put forth some effort every now and then, but certainly not like I did a few years ago. Perhaps it all just became too time-consuming. Perhaps I realized it took my focus away from more important issues. I will say this, I still very much enjoy make-up from time to time, and dressing up, fixing my hair, all that jazz, but I have to remember who I doing all of it for. My darn self! I see and hear about so much low self-esteem from young girls and young women. The problem is, people want to be cute for the wrong reasons...for other people! Being cute isn't about being cute FOR someone else, it's about being cute for YOU. Once I shifted my focus to just trying to please ONE person, all the pressure was off of my shoulders. Rearranging the way you think about a certain issue can really help to get rid of it entirely. It is a process, but it is totally possible!
p.s. Basically, the older you get, the less f***s you have to give. So if you find yourself still very much concerned with what other people think, give it time!
p.p.s. I really like that quote in Flawless, "We raise girls to see each other as competitors
not for jobs or for accomplishments which I think can be a good thing but for the attention of men." So true! Instead of getting cute to attract a mate, work on your inner self. That will last much longer than your outward appearance. Also, research has revealed that being good at flirting is actually more effective than being gorgeous when it comes to attracting a romantic partner (@UberFacts).
p.p.p.s. I could've probably been super rich if I had a makeup/beauty blog. However, I feel as though it is more important to focus on what's inside. No matter how unpopular it may be.