When I was a child I loved dressing up in fancy outfits. I was in elementary school where boys had cooties and if you were a girl you couldn’t be friends with a boy. If you were friends you were obviously dating. There was such a divide between the boys and the girls that I never thought about why I wanted to dress up. I liked the dresses I wore, I felt beautiful so I wore them.
But as I got older and understood my asexuality it became embarrassing to look pretty. I didn’t want the attention from men and dressing up made me feel awkward, as if I were borrowing someone else’s body.
I was-and to a certain extent, still am though I’m working on overcoming it-operating under the sexist lie that women should look beautiful to impress men. Because garnering the attention of the opposite sex never applied to me, I thought I didn’t deserve to be beautiful. No matter what my mother or grandmother told me about how pretty I would look when I dressed up for a family event or party, the compliments that were supposed to matter the most were from my grandfather and brother. I would always go downstairs on display so my grandfather could tell me whether I looked right or not. To the entire family, his opinion was the one that mattered the most. I’m old enough to make my own choices and I choose to ignore his advice on how to be beautiful. But ignoring the advice of one man is not the same as speaking out about changing the notions of beauty.
A woman should be beautiful for herself. Single or married, straight or not it is wrong that women are not only judged based on their beauty but that beauty is only relevant through the eyes of men.
I ask all women who have ever felt they didn’t deserve to feel beautiful to take this day and dress for yourself, in whatever brings you the most joy and however you feel most comfortable. Be beautiful by being you. Be beautiful for yourself.