What We Should Actually Appreciate About College Girls

Facebook has reached superior status on its clickbait game, let me tell ya.

My News Feed is just littered with ads and links to sponsors, and recently I saw one that piqued my interest. It was an advertisement for an article on the website Odyssey, entitled “10 Things College Girls Do That College Guys SHOULD Appreciate, But Don’t.” I’m a college girl, so naturally, I wanted to see what exactly I was doing that was going unappreciated.

What started as a curious click left me feeling very bitter and disappointed. Where I expected to find an article that recognized and empowered women, I got pretty much the opposite. Every single thing on that list, that supposedly college girls as a general group do, was so superficial (not to mention unnecessary and expensive) that I did not relate to any of it. Some of the “things” listed were: “She always has a fresh mani and pedi,” “She makes sure her hair color, cut, and style is on trend,” “Her teeth are white and her eyebrows are threaded,” “Her Insta game is strong AF,” and “She always has the most stylish outfits and rarely wears them out twice.”

Cringe. 

First of all, I’m not going to say there are not college girls who prioritize these things, but the vast majority of us do not even have the option to. The author of the article was definitely right in pointing out the expense that comes with most of these—expense so outrageous that it generally does not make the cut in the budget after groceries, gas, rent, and school-related expenses are accounted for. How any person my age could afford dyed hair, manicures, constant new outfits, and teeth whitening on a regular basis is absolutely beyond me, because half the time I resort to fried eggs and toast for dinner so that I don’t have to spend any of my precious few funds on real food.

Despite how unrealistic I found this article, though, my biggest concern was the principles and ideals behind it. It absolutely paints women as superficial objects who are so obsessed with their outer appearances that they prioritize them over things that truly matter in life. I am not in any way saying that it is bad to enjoy makeup or to want a pedicure every now and then or to want to look and feel beautiful. In fact, everyone should be allowed to style themselves as a projection of their identity. I wear makeup, I like getting my hair cut, and I buy new clothes when I want to revamp myself a little bit (although I definitely do not have enough clothes to avoid wearing outfits twice…). The difference though, is that I do not define myself by my appearance and I definitely do not want the people around me to appreciate me simply because my teeth are white or my eyebrows look decent. My appearance is, perhaps, the smallest part of myself. While I take advantage of the opportunity to present myself to others in the manner I wish, I also recognize that so much of how other people see me has absolutely nothing to do with my physical appearance.

So, what should college guys (and everyone else) actually appreciate about college girls? Here’s a few:

1.     She is dedicated to her studies and works hard to cultivate her passions and talents.

2.     She is devoted to her family.

3.     She respects herself and others.

4.     She is compassionate and generous; she is invested in improving the community and the world.

5.     She puts in serious work and makes sacrifices when things need to be done.

6.     She is independent; she takes care of herself and constantly aims to acquire new skills.

7.     She is loyal, trustworthy, and dependable; she sees goodness in others.

8.     She keeps herself healthy, not just to have an attractive body, but simply for the sake of being healthy.

9.     She is more interested in self-development than social popularity.

10.  She maintains a positive outlook and perseveres through difficult times.

I’m not disagreeing with this author completely—it is very difficult keeping up with today’s beauty and body standards. Makeup is an entire art form that I have yet to understand. Clothes are expensive; styles are hard to pull off. Dealing with hair can be stressful. And, I can seriously admire a woman with some nice eyebrows. But when I read that, “Deciding on a hairstyle and taking a chance on a new color or cut is literally one of the most stressful things for a girl,” I feel compelled to point out that it simply is not. There is a whole lot more that goes into being a beautiful woman who is appreciated by those around her.

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