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Do You Think Pretty Privilege Is A Real Thing? If So, How?

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  • Originally posted by TJ T. View Post
    These women and I are typically overseen by men who don't enter the industry for the same reasons, or share the same worldview, as myself. I am a lightning rod for the fragile male ego, and they regularly seek to make an example of me, even with microaggressions. I have tried to make myself small and docile to placate their insecurities, but to no avail.

    It is definitely interesting to hear your experience on the topic as it pertains to men. Particularly the microaggressions from other men you work with. We tend to think of this as something that often happens among women, but the truth is that men have to deal with it, too.

    It isn’t fair that you have changed how you carry yourself or even dress, simply because they can’t handle the competition. Because that’s what it is — they’re in competition with you, at least in their own minds, for the attention of the women you work with.

    That said, it likely makes things easier for you at work to downplay your looks, and I get that. But it still sucks. No one should have to intentionally change their style or mannerisms to make someone else feel better about themselves.

    It’s funny that you mention the change that occurred once COVID hit and we were all forced to wear masks, though. I had the exact opposite experience — it was SO freeing to have most of my face covered in public.

    I have wicked RBF. It is so bad that I have to intentionally wander the public world making sure to keep the corners of my lips slightly upturned at all times so people don’t think I’m angry. It is exhausting. Honestly, I might just wear the mask forever. (And still… sometimes I catch myself doing it out of habit under my mask anyway! That’s how ingrained the behavior is.)

    I wonder how the guys you work with will interact with you now that you’re back at work but wearing a mask. Have you noticed a difference at all? Granted, yes they know what you look like under there already, but still — it’s not being flaunted in their faces, for lack of a better expression. I wonder if it will have an effect on them, on a subconscious level.

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    • It is great to hear the male version of this issue, and I think we typically think of it as a female issue predominantly because we are generally more valued for our appearance. Again, I say that very generally.

      I cannot help but think of the evolutionary roots of this issue, and my mind drifts to the way other animals demonstrate their worthiness to mate. Noteworthy are some of the bird behaviors. lol
      As humans, we see a lot of this as shallow and discriminatory, and ultimately it is when it leads to alterations in how we're treated or rewarded for things based nothing on appearance. But, nevertheless we are hardwired for certain things, and then our cultural influences add or detract from all that.

      I also have a mean RBF Alison H. and I had to laugh when, recently, I was given a kudos at work for something, and one of the comments was, "you just keep smiling, no matter how rough things get". I am never smiling! But that's not apparent under the mask! So, my manner, and my tone of voice must project a smile, even tho' I'm sure there's a grimmace...

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      • This is such a great topic that I'm happy is being discussed and especially the male perspective, which us women often forget/overlook. I remember a few years ago the singer, Willa Ford, donned some light facial prosthetics to alter her appearance so that she looked "homely." And she walked the streets of New York I think it was, and would drop her bag of groceries/belongings to see who would help her. I honestly can't remember if even one person really did. They would acknowledge that she dropped her stuff but then kept it moving. I couldn't believe it.

        I love having the mask because I like not having to be responsible for how I look when I want to go out and run errands. I can just be blah and go about my business. But there are times when I won't have my mask on (in the appropriate/safe situations) and I will put on a very light makeup and do my hair so I can feel cuter because I know that "pretty privilege" will make my day easier. It's terrible, I know! But I have been treated somewhat differently when I'm just "blah" me without any kind of makeup and my hair up in a bun versus a little dolled up.

        It's a vicious cycle that can be hard to break. But it's exhausting, lol, so I'll stick with my mask and be blissfully incognito! I don't know how some girls/women do full makeup with big *** lashes on a daily basis, so bad for your skin and it seems like an extra chore.

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        • I was thinking about this in the elevator a few days ago. I'll be turning 50 next year, and I'm very grateful to still look great at this age. People often tell me I still look like I'm in my 30's, and I truly don't take that for granted. But...I have noticed recently, people are responding to me differently, and I'm not quite sure why this is. I've certainly let my looks go a bit, as I simply don't have extra time to fix up every day. Or is it the masks? I don't know, but what I often interpreted as pretty privilege is fading. lol

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          • atskitty2 I think it's the mask thing, lol. Maybe because so much of our mugs are "missing" these days, it changes how people look at each other from the "pretty privilege" perspective? If anything, I stick to my brows and light mascara to at least perk up the part of my face people do see. But I'm sure you've still got it! Whenever things are kind of "off" with stuff like that, I tend to claim that Mercury is in retrograde, even if it's not. Haha.

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