When I was younger, I never had to constantly battle with insecurities regarding my image. No, I didn’t exactly consider myself to be beautiful, but I always thought my looks were ‘passible.’ I didn’t think I was a stunner or head-turner and my awkward smile and crooked teeth sure didn’t light up any room when I smiled, but I definitely knew I wasn’t ugly. I was simply average.
Throughout my life I always found myself being friends with ‘pretty girls,’ and amongst the group I was usually the ugly friend in comparison, or The ‘D.U.F.F.‘ (yes, like the movie). It was an interesting experience as I witnessed first hand all of my friends getting freebies, constant attention and free upgrades as I watched from slightly behind; It wasn’t long before I correlated this special treatment to having a pretty face.
Pretty girl privilege: Getting special treatment from others just for being pretty.
I was sixteen when I first experienced real confidence. I no longer thought my looks were just passible, but for the first time ever I felt I was pretty too. Though I’d still never experienced any pretty girl privileges (that came later), I walked a little taller with my head a little higher, and as sad as it sounds, I finally felt worthy enough to stand beside the other pretty girls.
Picture this: I’m stood at the till in McDonalds having just come from a gathering (I was dressed my best). My friends are stood off to the side whilst I stared blankly at my purse at the lone five pound note I’d have to break to pay for my Big Mac.
I turn to my left and a girl in the adjacent queue has her hand stuck out towards me with the exact amount of money that I need in her hand. I look over my shoulder then back at her; she was definitely talking to me.
“Oh, no it’s okay.” I shook my head.
“No, here.” The girl reached forwards and dropped the coins into my purse, smiling at me one last time before grabbing her own food and leaving.
I was shocked for a moment as that was the first time I’d experienced such kindness from a total stranger. I had the money to pay for my food and she saw that, yet she still insisted on paying for me for whatever reason. I took her money and I paid with a grin on my face, but at no point did I put this kind act down to my looks.
Picture this: I’m in a club with my friends, we’re dancing in a circle and having fun when I feel a tap on my shoulder. It’s a girl who points to a group of guys who are waving me over to their VIP booth—the biggest booth in the club may I add. I hesitantly walk over and a guy stands to greet me at the stairs.
“My friends and I are leaving early, we were wondering if you wanted our booth as It’s already paid for,” the guy tells me.
“Yeah, we’ve got an ice bucket with some unopened champagne too, you can have that as well.”
It happened just like that. My friends and I crowded into the elevated VIP booth, giving us the best view in the entire club, and cracked open the champagne. I questioned why they’d chosen me to call over and not one of my friends. It could’ve been because of my looks, but I put it down to sheer luck.
Picture this: I’m in a hotel bar and lounge with a group of friends. Earlier that evening two men at the bar smiled at my friend and I as we passed them on our way to the bathroom. Not even ten minutes later a large ice bucket with the biggest bottle of Moët & Chandon that I’ve ever seen is delivered to our table.
“From the two men at the bar,” says the waiter, smiling directly at my friend and I. I checked the menu to see the bottle was £90; I definitely put this one down to my looks.
I used to think ‘pretty girl privilege’ was a bad thing; that women were feeding into the negativity surrounding women who use their looks to advance. Maybe it was because I’d never been in that situation before, or perhaps just ignorance. Right now? I believe pretty girl privilege is a sign of women taking their power back.
Studies have show that good-looking businessmen tend to advance further in their careers compared to average looking men, and even pretty women. Women too have been using their looks to their benefit for centuries because it’s so easy to do in a world thats run by men. So should women feel guilty for receiving special treatment due to their looks? Absolutely not. Of course we don’t need the attention or the freebies, special treatment, free champagne or someone to pay for our Big Mac, but if someones willing to offer, why should we decline?
‘Pretty’ is so subjective, meaning that pretty girl privilege is a superpower that all women posses and will tap into eventually. I’m in no way saying a woman’s greatest power lies in is her looks, but society constantly tells us we aren’t allowed to be aware of our beauty. If someone’s offering, don’t feel guilted into declining. We know we’re beautiful and we’re aware of what power lies with that.