The definition of pretty in the Oxford English Dictionary is:
(of a person, especially a woman or child) attractive in a delicate way without being truly beautiful.
But in 2012 is this definition not a bit limiting? I would argue that it most definitely is.
Being in three minority groups, I do not conform to convention. Having a disability, being transsexual and having a physical disability all challenge norms and values of beauty. I have cerebral palsy (the spastic quadraplegic type). For context it affects all four limbs. But I want to take a step back from my standpoints, and talk about beauty in general terms, and its implications for us.
I would definitely say that since being out on the gay scene, I’ve met a greater diversity of women. Alongside this, my own personal definition of beauty has broadened.
Admittedly, I used to think in quite narrow terms, much like most people. Long hair, nice eyes, pretty dresses et cetera. But this is most definitely a stereotype. It actually indulges and gives weight to the misnomer that women have to look a certain way in order to be beautiful.
Truthfully I am not proud of conforming and perpetuating stereotype. It is not a good claim to fame for someone in three minority groups. But what matters is I have awoken from my slumber now.
But the crux is this. What you see as beautiful depends on what you have been exposed to. If you have only been exposed to a certain type of women, who dress, behave and act in a certain way, this is what you will come to know as beautiful.
But a gay club in general is analogous to a Pic n’Mix.Some sweets are hard, some are soft, some are chewy, some are fizzy, some have sherbert, some have chocolate and some do not. In fact, the list is endless. It is much the same with lesbians.Some dress in a feminine way, some do not, some wear makeup, some do not, some have tattoos, some do not. But what I am contending here is that the amount of representations of beauty available to the eye is ENDLESS! That to me is exciting!
In popular culture, some denounce tattoos as unfeminine and unwomanly. Why? Because judgement is passed on gay women, by the heteronomative binary and has been for centuries.
But as a buffer, the lesbian community clearly in 2012 has its own representations of beauty. The difference I have noted personally, is that what you cannot see on the body of a lesbian is intriguing, very much so.
Lesbian women do seem to cover up more. Perhaps it is because they are appealing to a different market, a market which does not need in your face sexuality and physicality to appreciate members of its’ community. Perhaps the community appreciates subtlety. I am not claiming to represent a universal view, nor am I saying that all lesbians would agree with me. That would be presumptuous.
But also, women should NEVER feel they have to look a certain way in order to be socially acceptable. Celebrity culture is just that. But we should not fill our world up with carbon copies of celebrities, or of each other.
I am pleased that my definition of beauty has broadened. It makes the world more colourful, richer and more visually arresting for me. Though I have to say, the latter is less embarassing and scary in the surroundings of a gay club than in the fruit n’veg aisle at the supermarket.
So the truth about pretty? There is not one definition (except in the OED) but many, there are many representations of it, not one. But be broad in the way you approach it, and you will have a more fulfilled, visually arresting life.
The truth is, beauty can be anything you want it to be. Just because a woman never wears a dress, does not mean she is less pretty than those who do. Just because a woman never wears makeup, does not mean she is not a woman.
Lesbian beauty often lies in mystery, suspense, and the hidden rather than seen.
My main message to lesbians, and to women, was that One Direction could say, “that’s what makes you beautiful” to anyone and everyone. What you consider to be beautiful does not have to be handed down courtesy of a heteronormative binary, and once you realise that, it is very liberating, and beautiful, and pretty.
NOTE: My definition of beauty is courtesy of http://www.oxforddictionaries.com No copyright infringement intended.