This may come as a surprise to you, but my name is not ‘beautiful.’ It isn’t ‘gorgeous’ or ‘cutie’ either. I do have a name, and none of those are it. Maybe you know my name, maybe you don’t. But if recent baby name records still hold true, these guesses are not very good ones.
Why then, do you insist on calling me this?
Oh, I get it. “It’s a compliment,” you tell me. “Don’t be so offended,” you say. To this I respond, how can I not?
“Hello beautiful,” to me says one of two things. Either you don’t know my name and you’re creepy, or your opinion of me is surface-level at best. To you, my name is not important. Neither is my personality nor my intelligence. The most important thing to you is that I have boobs, a butt, and a vagina. Offended yet? You should be. I certainly am.
You think all compliments are equal, I suppose. Sorry to tell you this, but this is simply not the case. Instead of always complimenting my body, why can’t you, for once in your life, compliment my mind? Why don’t you respect me enough to say “Hey intelligent woman?” or better yet, say my name?
If it makes you feel a little better, boys, it isn’t entirely your fault. You’re simply are a by-product of a society obsessed with looks and physical beauty. Men are taught to say it, and women are taught to receive it.
With that said, there are certain circumstances when it is acceptable to pay such a compliment. Beauty is certainly an aspect of humans, and it would be ignorant to dismiss it altogether. There is a difference, however, between acknowledging beauty and referring to someone with the nickname ‘beautiful.’ The act of calling someone ‘beautiful,’ takes something that should be one aspect of a person, and transforms it into the only mentionable aspect-to the point where even the name no longer matters.
Saying ‘Hey Beautiful,’ means you could be referring to anyone. There are a lot of beautiful girls out there that could receive such a name. When you call me beautiful, you lump me into the masses of ‘beautifuls’ out there, rather than claiming me, my messes, and my humanness.
I’m sure there are plenty of girls who swoon when you call them beautiful. They giggle and flash a faint smile because, in their mind, their worth has been affirmed. Society has taught them to measure their worth by the number of compliments they receive. After all, a girl is only as valuable as the number and quality of males she can attract.
But I’m not one of those girls.
There is a brain inside my body, and a smart one at that. There are emotions and memories inside of me. I am not a doll that, when cracked open, has nothing besides air and plastic inside.
I am a girl, and I have a name. I have a voice, and I intend to use it. There is more to me than my body. When you call me beautiful, do you really know who I am? Do you know that late at night I dream of my career and my goals? Do you know my favorite books, my secret desires, my hopes and dreams? I guess you wouldn’t want to if the only thing you care about is how I look. Because if you really cared, you wouldn’t call me beautiful at all. You’d called me my name.
The Girl Inside the Body