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Overvaluing beauty diminishes people’s best traits

Allison Galbreath

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Illustration by Darian Maroney

“You know, if you wore makeup, you’d be really pretty!”

Believe it or not, I’ve actually heard this comment, or some variation of it, more times than I care to count. I’m sure that, for the most part, the people who have said this to me didn’t intend to insult me. But they did.

It’s not only because they’re basically calling me plain, ugly or in some way lacking my full potential. It’s also because it implies something about me personally and what I should care about.

In all honesty, I don’t really care about beauty.

Yes, I’m not above loving a nice compliment or two about my appearance. But on the whole, it doesn’t mean as much to me because I don’t think it’s the most important thing about me.

Besides, how am I supposed to react to a compliment about my appearance? Especially when I feel like I haven’t done anything.

Shouldn’t that compliment go to my parents or something? I mean, I didn’t have any say over my DNA or facial structure. I’d probably have chosen thinner eyebrows if I did.

But this society is in love with beauty — especially for women. Women are under such pressure to always look their best, at least according to society and the media’s idea of what’s best.

I think it’s quite sad that this has as much value as it does. It holds so much importance.

People are bombarded every day to be perfect: to be conventionally beautiful, thin, fit and have perfect hair.

But for me, as far as a list of traits is concerned, beautiful is towards the bottom on how I would want to be described.

What about being intelligent?

Kind?

Funny?

Brave?

Sensitive?

Ambitious?

Hard-working?

Innovative?

Talented?

Wise?

There’s so much more to life than the physical outer shell. Everyone has inner beauty — their personality, thoughts and emotions — that makes them unique.

Why focus on something as temporary as appearance?

Especially since the most important people in ones life won’t, or at least shouldn’t, care about something like one’s looks.

As the famous quote goes, “Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

People only have so much time on earth. I hope to spend it in a way that makes me happy.

If that includes something like beauty and makeup for someone, that’s great. Everyone deserves to feel beautiful.

But beauty shouldn’t be so important that it diminishes, conceals or covers up the other qualities about a person that make them great.

Allison Galbreath can be reached at [email protected] or @agalbreath19 on twitter.

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Overvaluing beauty diminishes people’s best traits