• Life

Being Pretty


No, this is not a post where I turn into an egotist; but the idea of being pretty is something that I struggle with. For as far back as I remember I have been told, “you would look prettier if” or if I do tone my look down “aww you look so much prettier“. Neither of these comments are meant with malice but I do really hate the notion that being ‘pretty‘ is the ultimate aim for every girl.

What if some girls don’t want to look pretty? What if pretty just isn’t in their personality? What if instead they feel more comfortable being quirky, funny, sporty, badass, street, rock or dapper?

For me clothes are an important part of expressing myself as so often I can’t find the words to do it articulately, however, the way I choose to dress has always come under fire or drawn negative attention.

Some of my London favourites are “Camden is that way love“, “Do a wheely witch“(I was on my bike at the time), “Brummm Brummm where is your bike?”

Now, I have a sense of humour about these things and each throwaway comment quickly become additions to my repertoire of anecdotes, however, judging people on their clothing can come with much more serious results and are often used as a catalyst for sexual harassment, aggression or homophobia.

I find it hard to comprehend judging someone for wanting to step out of the box with their clothing as I think life would be incredibly dull if we all wore the same uniform. Which is why I also struggle with the  view that being pretty is the optimum look for a female when there are so many to choose from.

Even as an adult I so often hear “you are so much prettier” without as much eyeliner, when you wear colour, when your hair was normal etc. The thing is, I don’t want to be pretty, I want to be grungy, rocky, badass, confusing, intriguing and, yeah, a little weird, because those are the things that I find inspirational and represent my interests and personality.

Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against pretty – there is an undeniable strength in the ability to be able to carry such a gentle and alluring look. My issue is that it seems as a society we are stuck in some sort of time warp where for many being pretty is the only way a women can be attractive and those who choose not to follow this unwritten rule open themselves up to ridicule by simply being themselves.

We are not all cut from the same cloth so why are we so often expected to wear it?

23 comments

  1. Natasha says:

    Woo – you go girl! I like you for all of your quirks – can’t imagine you without black, eyeliner or coloured hair 🙂

  2. themayfairy says:

    This is an amazing post. On a similar note, I always wear earphones when walking around London by myself, just so I don’t have to hear everyone’s dickhead remarks. I know boys often encounter dickheads in life as well, but I don’t think they generally realise how often we are subjected to their bullshit opinions for no reason other than daring to exist in a space without a man beside us. Ugh. Rant over.

    1. Emma says:

      I always wear headphones too as I get bored of hearing the same idiotic comments all the time I wish people would get a bit more creative with their remarks.

  3. adales8 says:

    You are amazing. Personally, “dapper” is an adjective that I’d much rather aspire towards than pretty! x

    1. Emma says:

      Thank you so much you are too kind!

  4. lifebylaurax says:

    YES – beauty is in the eye of the beholder so who defines what is “pretty”. I love your look and I am jealous that you get to have colourful hair cause I had to dye mine a “normal” colour for work BOOOO x

  5. Myra says:

    I would sat that ‘there’s undeniable strength’ in looking different and quirky rather than ‘gentle and alluring’ like most try to do. Go girl, never change. xx

  6. Meghan Sara says:

    All of this! The obvious “you’d be so pretty if you’d smiiiiile” UGH well HOW ABOUT MY FACE IS MY FACE?!?! Everyone’s definition of “pretty” is different, too, from the Glam to the Feminine Soft to the Natural Beauty like, oh my, HOW do I ever please ALL these strangers at Once?!? SO HARD bein a girl lol! I’m with you – my version of “pretty” was definted by Chrissy Hynde, 70’s skateboard chicks, pinups and contemporary tattoo models, so when I feel I’m “pretty” most ppl are like “Huh?” IN ADDITION, I don’t always give two shites about “PRETTY” – I went out in overalls and a ripped Supergirl t-shirt the other day to a club and got sooo many compliments on my outfit and I was like, “I’ve just come from work, dude, I’m ready to dance and DGAF.”

    Also, I love your pics because aren’t these taken across the street from Cafe Colette in Wburg? Fave brunch place of all time!!! Thank you SO MUCH for this post!!

    1. Being Erica says:

      I love this comment almost as much as Emma’s post.

    2. Emma says:

      You are eagle eyed they are indeed taken across from Cafe Colette. Your outfit sounds amazing, I love people who rock up wearing something unique.

  7. Haley Love says:

    I just did a very similar post myself on how growing up, I didn’t think I should study fashion (even though I knew I wanted to) because i wasn’t ‘girly’ enough… society puts such pressure and image on the words pretty, and girly. that girls like us think that they don’t have any of those attributes- when truthfully, that has nothing to do with it!!

    You are STUNNING!!!

    1. Emma says:

      Can you imagine if fashion was all the same? It would be so boring!

  8. Claire says:

    I love your look, FWIW. Confidence and imagination are key parts of the whole thing!

    1. Emma says:

      Thanks lovely I think if people feel confident in what they are wearing they can rock any style

  9. Laura says:

    Some people are the RUDEST!! I would never dream of telling anyone how they could look better… especially as it’s all subjective anyway. The reason I love reading your blog is that it’s so perfectly and instantly recognisable as you and you don’t conform to the stereotypes. Incidentally I read an article about clothes that I need to ‘ditch’ now I’m in my thirties. It told me that I need to ditch my tutu. That journalist can royally f off and leave me to decide when ‘it’s time’!!!

    Laura xx | Loved By Laura

    1. Emma says:

      I HATE those articles telling people what they need to ditch or need to buy, what needs to happen is more articles on embracing personal style. I hope you rock that tutu for many more years

  10. Meg Siobhan says:

    Oh gosh, I totally agree with everything you say. At the end of the day, if an individual is happy how they are, why should they need to fit society’s idea of what is deemed as ‘pretty’? That’s usually one specific way which to be truthful, isn’t pretty at all. It’s something that’s not even real or achievable. It’s all airbrushed and photoshopped to hell.

    I may not be ‘pretty’ but I like the way I dress. If it’s more…casual and boyish, I don’t care! I’m comfortable in what I’m wearing and that’s all I care about.

    And beauty is such a wide spectrum that as cheesy and cliche as it sounds…everyone is beautiful in their own way.

    1. Emma says:

      Exactly I wish that more people would see others in such a positive light

  11. MaryamSofia says:

    Love this post Emma! Let’s all just be happy in our own skin and do and wear whatever we want. I get called all sorts looking the way I do, mainly questions about if I’m a lesbian, cos apparently all lesbians shave their heads and wear Docs.
    Totally love your style- you rock it lady!! 😀 xxx

  12. Jessica says:

    I always get, “you’d be prettier without that bull ring in your nose” or “why do you do stuff like that to yourself?” So dumb. X

    1. Emma says:

      I agree it is so stupid, I think people need to bit a bit more open minded about there being different types of beauty

  13. beequeenbeady says:

    YES GIRL! I’m not conventionally “pretty” and yes, it upsets me that sometimes I’m not, it just drives me insane when people who RELY on being pretty to get what they want.
    Bee xxx

  14. […] have spoken preciously about how “pretty” just doesn’t appeal to me, so even some of the more hardwearing sports brands […]

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