Redefining “pretty” and loving ourselves is within our grasp

According to the dictionary, the definition of pretty is: (adj) attractive in a delicate way without being truly beautiful or handsome, (n) an attractive thing, typically a pleasing but unnecessary accessory.

But what really is pretty? Pretty is a superficial judgment we can make in a second. Pretty is a package of pressure and standards to live up to.

The pressure to be pretty comes from so many places. A lot of my experience with the word “pretty” comes from boys deciding whether or not I looked nice, as if me looking nice was for them and not myself.

The word pretty is like a rite of passage for many girls, a sort of validation. We think, “He called me pretty, so now I am.”

The media tempts us with this idyllic fantasy that seems so tangible, yet suddenly jerks it away with a sly smile that seems to say, “You can always do better. Be prettier. Be thinner. Be more ‘perfect.’”

In opposition to this, Target is releasing a plus-size line. Aerie’s models are no longer being retouched. Lane Bryant is combatting Victoria’s Secret with their new #ImNoAngel campaign. And, last but not least, Dove reminds us all to “choose beautiful.”

All of these companies are trying to change the ideology of “being pretty,” which can only be congratulated, but things still need to change further.

France has put a ban on too-thin models, which is bold. Being a fashion capitol, with some of the biggest designers of this time, this change will impact the whole world in the next few years.

Though I don’t personally like the term “too-thin” I appreciate where they’re coming from. Too-thin can be just as problematic as too-fat. Instead of diminishing a whole type of woman, why not include all types?

Looking in the mirror at myself, I can choose to see the positives or the negatives.

I can try and pump myself up and tell myself, “You’re fine the way you are; nothing to change or improve.”

Or I could look at myself and say, “Well, my hair’s flat today and my stomach’s sticking out more than I’d like. Oh look, another pimple, great. Guess pretty isn’t what I’m going for today.”

But that’s just ridiculous. Ridiculous because we’re letting a word that’s so small and unimportant get to us in such an epic way.

So women, next time you’re in front of a mirror of any size, list three things that you like about what you see.

Though I don’t stand for catcalling from observers, catcall to yourself. Tell yourself you look good. Tell yourself you’re smokin’.

Tell yourself that you’re beautiful, because no matter what you’ve gathered from various sources, you are.