Can You Call Yourself Beautiful?

In the book City of Bones, the main character, Clary, is a striking girl who doesn't know she is pretty.  She doesn't know because she is certain that only girls who look like they could be on Maxim's Hot 100 are pretty. This is sadly very common among teenagers and adult women alike, but there appears to be a different response to each when bucking this idea.

There are many movements to encourage women to think of themselves as beautiful. It is empowering to reject the ideal of the large chested blonde, and really know that you are pretty too. However, this appears to be okay for only adult women who are speaking from a point of both maturity and world weariness.

For teenagers, their inner shark instinct kicks in and a girl saying she is beautiful (or even just cute enough) leaves herself open to Mean Girl attacks. In so much media shoved at teenagers, any girl who thinks she is pretty is high-maintenance, selfish, and mean. Unless she goes through a makeover at some point, a teenage girl isn't allowed to call herself beautiful lest she be considered arrogant. I've always wondered how many girls say they are ugly because they believe it and how many say it because they don't want to be considered vain.

Could we maybe have a YA protagonist who thinks she looks okay? One who doesn't think about being in some sort of beauty ranking system for boys? I will forever love Katniss from Hunger Games for being legitimately too busy making sure her family doesn't starve to give a crap about comparing herself to other women and Harry Potter's Hermoine Granger for being too busy being the smartest girl in the room to rate herself on such a silly scale.


Cait Throop said…
Great post! I totally, totally agree!!!

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