I just read a post over at Fernham that made me remember, in a flash, all the times that I've been told "you'd be so pretty if..."
Of have course my parents always told me, and continue to tell me, that I'm pretty, beautiful, smart, or whatever, but that doesn't always count. All through elementary school, random boys would tell me I needed a tan as if I could get one. The headmaster's son, a crush of mine from ages 8 to 13, found out and told one of his friends that I would be "perfect" if I dyed my hair blonde and got a tan. I would look terrible with blonde hair, especially with a tan.
My little sister is about 8 feet tall, and continues to tell anyone who'll listen all about how underweight she is--she gets a lot more attention from guys than I ever have. She also barely graduated and has hardly any plans to go to college. I think that sometimes, being pretty isn't everything.
I feel like I'm pretty, in a smart way. I usually go out of my way to not over-sexualize myself. My haircut is sensible, my skirts are never too short. I struggle immensely with my weight, but not my appearance. I look how I always have.
Many of the most beautiful women I know aren't anywhere near supermodels. Most of them have children, they're all insanely intelligent and witty. My mother, some teachers, a few friends--their spirits completely shine through all the time. If anyone asked me to say what they looked like, I'd mention a few basic physical characteristics, but all I'd be thinking about is their personalities. So and so is 5 foot 4, dark skin, black hair, wears a lot of sneakers, but she is so smart and supportive. Like that.
All of the women in my life are knockouts, as far as I can tell.