Quote I ran into today:
You don’t have to be pretty. 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”.
I love this quote and am ruminating on it. I do struggle with this issue, in that I often make an effort to present myself to the world in a certain way, but wonder, at any given moment, whether I’m doing it for myself or because I feel obligated. Probably both, but which aspect is dominant?
Because if it’s ever entirely the latter, then that’s entirely tragic.
ETA: This quote was originally presented as being said by the incomparable Diana Vreeland. This was erroneous — the author is blogger Erin McKean and her excellent full essay further develops this thesis (and cites Vreeland as a great example of stylishness trumping prettiness). Find it here.