I recently came across this YouTube video that was so stunning I had to share it. I notice it was posted three years ago, so maybe I’m the last person on the planet to see this. The piece is from the “slam poetry” genre, a type of spoken word poetry that often focuses on current issues and injustices of politics, gender, economics, etc., and can be very controversial in nature.
I am not often drawn to this type of thing, but I felt this was very powerful. The poet, Katie Makkai, doing a piece called “Pretty,” speaks about the fixation that our society, and particularly women, have with appearance. She talks of her own struggle with image and then broadens her point to include women who look for fulfillment in their latest shopping excursion, and to men who are looking for love by seeking attractiveness first. She concludes by promising her future daughter that she will never be simply “pretty” or defined by that word. It is well worth a couple of minutes to view.
I am not any ardent feminist, and I am realistic enough to know that despite humanity’s best effort and intention, people who possess personal beauty will always be counted favored and fortunate. It is certainly no crime to want to be attractive or to want to present one’s best self to the world. But the poet’s point is that for many people, beauty, attractiveness, appearance become so important that the real worth of the individual is diminished, and a false value is established: the value of how beautiful one’s face and body is, rather than the worth of the person behind the appearance.
Let me know what you think. I’m interested to know if this resonates.