In the spring of last year, the topic of pretty privilege was trending all over YouTube. It was quite interesting hearing everyone’s thoughts and opinions on the topic. Some of you might have come across the Pretty Privilege video by Oh! Stephco on your YouTube timeline. It was her first viral video and how I was introduced to her content. After that video, many people did response videos. Some people related to her stories and some people criticized them. The ones that criticized them felt like pretty privilege was more of an illusion and that it really comes down to confidence. To be honest I feel like both sides can be debated easily. You can make a case and point for both sides. Although I feel like one side slightly outweighs the other. I would like to share my humble thoughts on this matter. Number one, location plays a HUGE role in this. The woman in the video has lived in multiple cities and states, one being Los Angeles. As we know, LA is known to be a little more superficial. Appearance is Everything! Do you remember the show Hot in Cleveland? Three woman who moved from Los Angeles to Cleveland and was surprised by all the attention that they got when they came to Cleveland. They went from being invisible to being seen. I have heard many people speak about their experience in various cities, and how they can feel so ignored in one place and showered with attention in the next.
In one of my previous posts, (I think it was Stripped from the Outer Shell … (A Thin Line Between Vanity and Self-Acceptance)) I spoke about what life was like during multiple stages of my life. I mentioned how I was having a really tough time dealing with all the changes that were going on with me. I have changed a lot physically over the years. In the last few years, I’ve gained a lot of weight due to depression, grief, and the pandemic. My hair was also extremely damaged, and I decided to just start over. I didn’t cut off my hair all at once. I waited until I go to a certain length, but it was the shortest that it has ever been since I was two to three years old. I felt like part of my identity was gone. I was the girl with the long hair for so long and now I felt so exposed. So here I am with my weight going up and I didn’t have my hair to hide behind. The difference on how I was treated when I was an hourglass with long hair vs chubby with my hair the way that it was, I immediately went to invisible for the most part. Weight distribution constantly changes as you age. It was great in my early to mid-twenties, but the way my weight showed up this time made it so hard to feel confident. I went from loving everything that I put on to hating everything. Nothing looked right, and I eventually gave up and stopped buying new clothes. I kept it simple. I just tried to hide anything that I could under an oversized graphic tee. The way that people treated me before versus now is astounding, and as I mentioned previously, I’ve experienced the same thing, but in my adolescent days.
Just like now I was a lot chubbier in middle school due to depression and grief. I had a lot of big losses back-to-back during that time as well. I gained fifty pounds in a little over a year, and as a child that weight showed up differently. When you are a child and you gain that much weight, it doesn’t distribute evenly. It’s more noticeable. It was the hardest time, and at that age you know how kids are. They are ruthless. I lost weight and dropped a few sizes by the time I got to high school. I was definitely treated differently (by peers and adults). It’s not even about attraction and attention, people treat you more like a human being. It’s crazy that someone can ignore your whole existence or talk down on you just because they feel that you are unattractive. When people find you attractive, they give you better service, you’re open to more opportunities and offers, and you’re just treated better. Which brings me to pretty privilege in the workplace.
In this country (or should I say most countries) people equate being overweight/obese to being unattractive. That is not my opinion. I actually don’t agree with it, but that’s one of the things that society has deemed to be unattractive. I remember coming across a study that was done that stated that being a higher weight will lessen your chance of getting a job versus a person who is not overweight. When I read that I thought about my last few interviews. I remember having three interviews and I thought they went well, but I didn’t get those jobs. I thought about the jobs interviews I had in the past when I looked different, I never went to an interview and not get the job. Could that be a coincidence? Maybe. Do I think it was a coincidence? I’m not sure honestly. Some people might argue that my weight gain and other issues impacted my confidence and the way I portray myself. I was always laid back and a little reserved, but I guess there could’ve been a slight difference. At my peak I do smile more, and I tend to make a little more eye contact. After the first interview of my job quest, I tried to be a little more friendly and confident, but that still didn’t work. There could be many reasons why I didn’t receive those jobs. It could be that I was overqualified, or I didn’t have the connections, or maybe they just didn’t think I was a good fit. It might have gone well in my mind, but maybe someone else just matched their personality better. I wish I could’ve seen all the candidates that did make it over me, to just see how they were (as far as personality and attitude). Maybe they were like happy-go-lucky Patrice from How I Met Your Mother. I can be very positive and friendly, but I don’t think I could ever be as bubbly and eager to please as Patrice. 😂
So, what is my final conclusion? Do I think that there is pretty privilege in life and in the workplace? My answer is yes and yes! Definitely in life, and I think there’s pretty privilege in the workplace as well. Unless your job is unconventional, most (not all) people are going to aim for a certain look, particularly if you’re working with customers/clients (especially in certain cities). Do I think confidence can help you? Absolutely! I’ve seen confidence take people higher and shine through, but I think there are levels to it. I hate to say it (and again, it’s not my view), but I think confidence works more in favor of people who are already fit or at a size that society has deemed to be acceptable. People just seem to cut leaner people a little more slack. I will never understand it, but it happens frequently. If I walked into an interview at my current size, versus my previous size I do think there would be a difference. If I tried to sell something to someone now versus then, there would be a difference on how people respond to me. I’m sure the people who often weight-cycle can see the difference in how they are treated. I know that I have, both times. It’s like living completely different lives, with polar opposite experiences. Hopefully, the world will change one day, but until then I think it’s safe to say that pretty privilege exists and is witnessed every day. When you don’t fit today’s mold of beauty it’s going to be a little more challenging. All you can do is focus on being your best self for YOU! Continue to shine and remember to always treat others with kindness and respect. Thanks for stopping by! XOXO