Below is, first, what I sent to Cidee Despi, then what she replied, and then what I replied:
[PV – CD]
Hi, Cidee Despi!
I read your article, “I Will Never Be The Pretty Girl” on candymag.com, and it was truly uplifting!
Thank you for expressing how the common understanding of “pretty” needs to be redefined. But I needed to send this to you personally:
Please, please be sensitive to boxing “pretty girls” to being “just pretty girls” defined by their amazing looks, and not “the smart girl, the passionate girl, the go-getter girl, the happy girl, the smiling face, the bright-eyed, the brave, and the beautiful”.
You’re absolutely right – pretty isn’t all that. But that isn’t to say “Pretty Girls” (or *just* pretty girls or just handsome guys, for that matter) cannot be more than their looks. I can name many young ladies and young men who you would consider “The Pretty Girl” who are also honor students, servant leaders, game changers, dream chasers, amazing daughters and granddaughters, amazing ates, amazing mothers, and amazing lolas. Everything that encompasses what it means to be a great individual.
Your article was encouraging, but please be more careful with the message you send about it means to be “The Pretty Girl”. You may very well be inadvertently insulting an entire group of people who were “winners of the genetic lottery”, as well as risking being superficial.
We are all pretty, but none of us are just pretty.
All the best,
[CD – PV]
First, thank you very much for appreciating my article, and most especially, for taking time in sending this message. It means a lot.
You’re right. That thought hit me nearly midnight — when all the weird thoughts go out. And well, I realized that possibly because I am really not referred to as “the pretty girl.” As in when people think of an identifier for me, they don’t usually associate “pretty” with me on reflex. People might say other things, but barely will anyone refer to me as, “the pretty girl.”
The article was more on the personal than preachy side. And I’m sorry for not minding the wider audience that Candymag.com has. I just realized the whole “boxing the pretty girls” thing now. (Although I did mention, “If you think I’m pretty, then thank you very much,” as in I would accept if people think I am, and it’s not something I would treat like a virus of sorts, I guess that part didn’t deliver well.)
And trust me, I am well aware of girls who are more than just pretty. It’s just that while making that article, I guess I was just thinking of myself and all.
Anyway, thank you, thank you so much. I’ll be more careful next time.
[PV – CD]
Thanks for replying, Cidee. I highly appreciate hearing back from you!
I understand your point of view, and I am filled with gratitude to know that you will take more care into what you send out not only to younger girls but to all the members of younger generations.
Not being immediately associated with being pretty should never be a personal loss, and I thank you for taking that personal step forward to realize that there are greater steps to be taken.
But in your future articles, never just think about yourself, even if it is an introspection into who you are becoming as a woman. Remember how you are talking to people who are also reflecting about who they are becoming. Think about the norms you are seeking to construct, the beliefs that each and every future game changer and dream chaser will believe to be true.
Keep writing, always remember why you do what you do. Be the best you can possibly be, and help others do the same.
With very warm regards,