Feeling unpretty because your physical appearance is not in line with society’s beauty standards is not nice but it gets worse when in almost every space you enter, you get overlooked and have particularly pretty girls and boys be the first to be selected for opportunities solely because they appear to be pretty and you are considered not pretty.
I once got a job opportunity for an admin position in Midrand, back in 2018, after a successful interview by two white men who co owned the company with a certain black man. Everything was being set up for me to start working next day, including work email, my computer desk and those two white men began showing me around the property.
Next day I started working, one young lady who looked my age, pulled up in an orange Kia Picanto, a little tall, big eyes, sharp small nose, brown skinned, wearing a long Brazillian weave, make up on, lashes and eyebrows on fleeck, with a mini black dress on and she looked absolutely gorgeous. She came into the office, one of the bosses, the black man took her to his office, then called in the other two co owners, the white men… After like 30 minutes, one of the white men who interviewed me and was very impressed during the interview, pulled me to the side and told me that he had bad news for me, ofcourse the bad news was that their business partner, who was the black man, had decided to hire the other lady instead of me and I didn’t bother to ask why, I felt so heartbroken and left… That experience stuck with me, although I didn’t let it weigh me down because soon after that I went on to land two jobs, one in telesales and one as a freelance writer for a popular magazine at the time. But till this day, I reference that incident as a perfect example of “Pretty privilege”.
The painful part about pretty privilege is that many girls/women are taking extreme measures to overcome this phenomenon by bleaching their skin because in society another monster called colorism has a huge impact equivalent to pretty privilege, some do facial and body surgeries just to fit the beauty standards of society to avoid missing out on opportunities, be it dating, marriage, business or job opportunities.
Some of us who are not pretty privileged have to work extra hard to stand out in a room full of pretty privileged people, people who are automatically liked only because they are pretty.
Some of us have to put extra effort and prove ourselves in everything, we have to prove our worth a million times in a million ways in order to be considered sociable at most times. We have to display how good of a person we are and play extra nice for people to find us likable, hence the term “ngithanda umoya wakhe” referring to a non pretty privilege person when others justify why they like people like us.
But ke, we soldier on because God doesn’t judge us based on how we look but based on the contents of our characters.