By Olivia Schmid || Opinions Editor
Here’s the gist: it’s been awhile. At this point, we’re practically post-winter, post-Euphoria season 2 episode 5 or 6, and quite frankly, post-all the bullshit—especially after reading this book. Florence Given breaks ground with Women Don’t Owe You Pretty, discussing all the things that are somehow still taboo (like masturbation, girls choosing not to shave, and embracing feminism).
Consider the following quote from Erin McKean:
“You don’t owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don’t owe it to your mother, you don’t owe it to your children, you don’t owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked ‘female.’”
WOMEN DON’T OWE YOU PRETTY, BUT….
Life’s a hell of a lot easier when we reflect society’s idea of beauty—most publicly that of cis-gendered, white, thin, young women. It’s so much easier to go through daily life when you fall within these biased, sexist parameters, because in the rare moments of silence when the rest of the world isn’t breathing down your neck, prying at all the insecurities you convince yourself are there, you often have to look in the mirror and pick up the pieces alone.
Given brings up the all-too-familiar piece of advice found in almost every self-help book on the shelf: get off your phone in the morning. Any expectation you feel that you need to meet social media-wise is bullshit. You are not responsible for the idea of you that other people have created in their head.
And to be completely honest with you, life is simply just too short not to love yourself. Given is amazing at drilling this into your head when you read this book; filled with visuals, bright quotes, and punchy lines, Women Don’t Owe You Pretty is simply a feel-good book. It’s a book of fresh air. It’s a book that celebrates you, no matter how you show up to the table.
It is time to start channeling that energy.
The minute you start wasting your energy on people and things that don’t make you feel like a better version of yourself is the minute the downward spiral starts. Stop wasting time on people who don’t realize what a privilege it is to even know you! Do you know how amazing it is to be living in the same time, day, and place as everyone else you know and interact with on a daily basis?
People respect people who respect their time. It really goes both ways. The author claims that being honest about what you want and communicating it directly is sexy—and Florence Given, I fucking agree. Investing in people’s potential is dangerous… so don’t. You deserve people’s bare minimum, yes, but even more so, you deserve to feel loved, respected, and cherished. This being said, if someone doesn’t treat you this way, know it’s not on you; the way people treat you is absolutely no reflection on you or what you bring to the table. Hurt people hurt people, so protect your energy. As Given discusses, “Your time and energy should be preserved, above all, for yourself. Anyone who wants to be a part of your life must be an addition to your wholeness.” People who do not add any sense of value to your life deserve no place in it.
Given uses all these points to address the ways in which women have been conditioned to put up with the inconsistency, the red flags, the lack of communication, etc. The reality, though, is that leaving the circumstances that don’t truly fulfill you can provide you the power that is waiting right around the corner.
Imagine all the past versions of yourself with you right now. They are all smiling, looking back at you. They are so proud of you. And so am I.
Sophomore Olivia Schmid is the Opinions Editor. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.