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Beauty Doesn’t Need to Be a Hierarchy: Why We Shouldn’t Compare Ourselves to Other Women

If you are a woman in this country, you probably know exactly how it feels to walk into a party in your best dress with your favorite mascara on, feeling badass, beautiful, and unstoppable—that is, right up until a few seconds later when you notice the most beautiful girl you have ever seen standing right across the room. 

Everything about her is flawless. 

Suddenly you feel very, very small. You look down at your favorite dress, only now it hugs you in all the wrong places. You find yourself wishing your legs were longer and your eyes were bigger and your waist was thinner and…

“Why can’t I just be more beautiful?” you think to yourself. 

I imagine I am not alone in having felt this before. You may not have been at a party. You may not have been wearing a dress. But I am sure that feeling has hit you sometime somewhere (and if it hasn’t, please text me asap so we can go out for coffee and you can share all your tips about living life as a woman with me).

As women, a lot of the time, we feel this compulsive tendency to rank ourselves in a hierarchy of beauty wherever we go. In every room of women, there is always someone who is “the most beautiful” and someone who is “the least beautiful,” and everyone else fills in somewhere in between. 

We think about beauty as if there must be a limit on how much can exist in our world, and if there must be a limit, then we have to be selective. 

But why do we keep treating female beauty as if it is finite? 

Let’s take this away from the female body for a minute and talk about the beauty of our planet. Earth is flooded with countless views that will steal the breath right from your lungs. From the expansive California coastline to the flower-covered mountains in Colorado to the vibrancy of New York’s Central Park—we are surrounded by an abundance of beauty. The beauty on this Earth is not finite. We can always discover it in new, surprising places where beauty evolves with the seasons. 

woman looking at mountains
Photo by Darya Tryfanava from Unsplash

I have never once looked at a gorgeous view of the ocean and thought to myself, “wow, this would be so much prettier if the forest didn’t exist.” That would be absolutely ridiculous! Every place is beautiful, and every place is different.

The exact same thing is true of women’s beauty. 

The awe and wonder that one woman evokes should inspire other women—not make them feel small or invisible. We need all the different landscapes to have this incredible planet that we call home in the same way that we need diversity of beauty in all women to brighten our lives. 

One of the best parts of this new narrative is that some people’s favorite place will be the beach, and some people’s favorite place will be the city, and there is nothing wrong with those preferences. We can still have our own personal favorite places without putting down other ones.

In the same way, we will gravitate towards what feels best for our hearts when it comes to the collective beauty of women in our life. We all define what we find beautiful in a different way. And that should not take away from the worth of any kind of beauty in the slightest. It just allows us to land where we feel the most at peace and the most full in this world.  

Women sitting on brown wooden bench
Photo by RF._.Studio from Pexels

Imagine, for a moment, living in a place where we change the narrative about female beauty to be one of abundance rather than one of deprivation. It would fundamentally change the way we treat ourselves and each other. We would move away from feeling like there has to be a limit on the amount of beauty that can exist in a space at one time. 

It falls on all of us to begin to shift that narrative. 

So the next time you walk into a room, notice someone beautiful and start to feel small, I want you to pause. I want you to remember this abundance of beauty that we have on Earth. Not a single person will benefit from you thinking the brilliance of another woman’s light means your light deserves to be dim. The brighter you glow, the brighter the entire world will be.

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Sofia is a freshman at Boston University studying Education with a minor in Neuroscience. She absolutely loves writing her own music, exploring the city, being outside as much as she can, and singing way too loudly in the shower. She enjoys all of the tiny beautiful things in life and is so grateful to be a part of the Her Campus community.
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