Being Pretty In A Patriarchy

I remember being very young and being told how pretty I was in my new dress or with my hair tied up in a bow. People say this to little girls. “Oh, how pretty you are!” I suppose it’s a nice thing to say. At least, the intent is well meaning. Little children know when you are giving them praise, even before they understand the meaning behind what you say. Their faces light up and you can see how proud they are when they hear you speak to them in this manner.


Little Sarah, age four

It’s interesting to me that from the very beginning, my gender role was being played out with these attitudes from the world around me. People don’t tell little boys they’re pretty. I’m sure a lot of people would think it silly. They call boys “handsome” or “strong” but not “pretty.”

“Pretty” is for girls.

Being complimented this way taught me that being pretty was a good thing. After all, compliments are for pointing out positive attributes. I know that seems like a silly statement, but my point is, being pretty was one of the first things I learned about my worth to the world around me. It gets pretty heavy when you think about it that way.

Delving into it a bit farther, this is in part evolutionary for us as humans. In the animal kingdom, an attractive animal benefits in finding a potential mate. The more “attractive” to their counterparts, the more desireable this animal becomes to all potential mates. When looking at it from this aspect, humankind doesn’t appear to have strayed too far from our prehistoric predecessors. We are cognizant beings who are still, in large part, controlled by animalistic instincts rather than our intellect.


Sexualizing women in advertisements

Our society doesn’t help much on that front, either. In a consumerist society, everybody wants to sell us something. They need it to be catching, and make us want to buy whatever they’re offering. It’s a simple fact that sex sells. But as a whole, marketing that utilizes this sexuality is pummeling us with subliminal messages from a young age (whether that’s the intent or not) which doesn’t simply utilize our animal instincts to sell us things: it manifests them.

Before We Go Any Further..

Remember this gross article for Cosmopolitan where the author bragged about how hot she thought she was, and pretended to complain about it? That’s not my intent here. So I am going to disclaimer this, ad nauseam, to avoid sounding like this has anything to do with bragging.


Just another selfie for IG

Personally, think I’m a fairly cute girl. I think it’s okay for me to admit that. Like the rest of us, I know I wouldn’t be everybody’s cup of tea. There’s that old saying, “you could be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there will always be somebody who hates peaches.” So I get that. I guess my point is-  I don’t have an inflated ego like the girl who wrote that article did.

I also have spent most of my time in makeup and clothes that, in my opinion, help me look prettier. A secret about that? I don’t know if I’m that pretty just in sweats at home, because I don’t get that publicly affirmed for me. So I don’t know how much of this is just genetic, or my own personal sweat, blood, and tears. Talk about self esteem… yikes. (My boyfriend tells me I look great either way, like all good boyfriends are supposed to.)

I do know that people do tell me I’m pretty. Not everyone in every second, but it’s enough to feel like I can explain what being “pretty in a patriarchy” has been like for me, and not get eaten alive by the internet for it. (I’m crossing my fingers on that one.)

Striving For Beauty

So not only was I taught that my looks were important- I was shown growing up that being pretty was a legitimate aspiration. I played with Barbies, and loved watching Disney movies with princesses. All thin, young, and beautiful with perfect hair and makeup. I didn’t need to be taught what made a woman pretty. I saw it and accepted it unquestioningly.

I also grew up in a pretty typical, traditional family. It was an environment where comments were made about women- especially fatter women- which taught me that this was certainly not desirable. It’s funny noticing, now that I’m older, that these comments were never made about men. Who can complain about this? This is how the media is, too. It’s just a representation of the society we’re in. That attitude is not abnormal by any means. Though, highly problematic, as it were.


There’s me at age nine, in the red dress

I remember being eight years old and writing in a journal about what I would ask for if I was granted “three wishes.” Do you know what my number one wish was? To grow up to be beautiful. This was my ultimate wish for myself as a human being. I don’t even remember what my other wishes were.

I remember being scared of growing up and being fat. I didn’t know what kind of adult I’d be, and I was afraid that once I got older, I wouldn’t care about my weight anymore. I already heard womanly gossip about girlfriends who’d “let themselves go.” My childhood didn’t revolve around my weight since I was already a very skinny kid, but it was a concept that I was aware of. This helped manifest itself as an eating disorder in my teen years.


High school- senior prom. I was a bottle-blonde for years until I discovered people didn’t treat me like such an idiot as a brunette

Another thing that happened in my teen years? I discovered a lot of things about developing. Wearing makeup, high heels, and attractive clothing. For a second time in my life, I got positive attention for my appearance. I was validated by the world around me that I was attractive. It felt great, because this is what I was striving for.

If you’re familiar with any of my past posts, you will have seen that I wasn’t aware of the implications of these charges. I knew I could get boys’ attention (which I did want) but I didn’t know that wearing a crop top or a push up bra made them think about sex to the extent that they did. How could I know that? I didn’t know that it sent a message about my availability. I grew up watching women dress this way on tv and people on the shows reacted positively towards these women. If those sexual implications were there on all the shows I’d seen, I certainly hadn’t been aware of it yet.

But the strangest thing happened. Along with validation from males, I was heavily judged by adults and my parents, who knew these implications. They reprimanded my clothing choices (without explaining any of it) and treated me like it represented my character, or my morality. Which it certainly did not. I’ll be honest and say that these experiences still anger me, to some extent. I don’t think it was fair. But it was a precursor to the lesson I would learn: that when you’re pretty, your appearance is all most people pay attention to.

Judgements By Women


Modeling for a comic con (photo credit Tom Nguyen ( This is me in a sexualized ad, too!

If you haven’t reached this conclusion by now, I’ll explain to you that one clear premise of this article is that in our society, we are taught that beautiful women are superior to other women. I definitely don’t think it’s true, but it’s a belief that fuels women’s strife towards attractiveness. We want to be the one all the other girls want to be.

But the media affects women’s attitudes towards each other, too. Have you noticed that all the mean girls in cliques on tv are beautiful? And the main character, Susie Every Girl, isn’t as pretty, but she has a winning personality that shines through. “You can’t have both,” they seem to say.

Years back, I was at a bar once with a guy friend, and we were laughing and joking all night with a group who was sitting next to us. “Not to be an asshole or anything,” one of the girls later came over and said to me, “but you’re like, way too pretty to be this nice.” I laughed. It seemed as though she meant this to be a compliment.

I have had many girl friends and for all the negative experiences, there are positive ones, too. But my friendships have never been spurred by looks. I have, however, had a few friendships that formed in spite of it. Because to some people, it really matters.


Mostly though (on the occasions when my appearance matters in the exchange at all) women have judged me more than men have. Actually, let’s put it this way- their judgements on me have been harsher and more hurtful. I think that when we, as humans, feel inferior to someone, it seems like a natural instinct to want to tear the other person down in some way. (Usually we just do this in our own heads. “She may be smart but she’s not as funny as me.” That sort of thing.) It makes you feel less bad about yourself, because it uses the belief that you have a strength where they have a weakness- so you’re not inferior anymore. Name calling and judgemental attitudes are the main weapon women like to use against the pretty girls. At least in my experience. And they love to whisper to each other when you do, say, or wear anything that isn’t perfect.

I spent a lot of my younger years being extra smiley and extra friendly in an effort to overcompensate for this treatment. I didn’t blame other women for their perspectives. I just wanted them to feel comfortable with me. I noticed that often any displayal of confidence or intelligence seemed to make other girls less comfortable. Because that seemed to make me “less likeable” I did not open this part of myself up to the world for many years. It affected my self esteem in the way that I had many friends and peers who saw me as a dumb, albeit nice, but nothing special otherwise. I have since ceased worrying about this and while I do make less friends, but I feel better about myself as a person.


We, as females, all live in this oppressive world with each other. We’re on the same team, in my opinion. I was subject to the same insecurities and the same judgements as anyone else. The fact that I wear heels and you wear sneakers doesn’t mean I’m a bitch, or a ditz, or the enemy.

For that matter, pretty girls need to stop acting superior, too. You’re just acting out the stereotype that people have already pegged you with. No matter the cards you’ve been dealt in life, being unkind diminishes each and every one of your positive attributes, as far as I’m concerned.

Judgements By Men

Most men I’ve spoken to about this concept agree- they think women want to be beautiful for them. Whether they think it’s simply for sex or to land a husband, or whatever the end goal may be, that’s when the answers will start to vary. But one thing remains true- they think all the heels, the clothes, the makeup is to be attractive to men.

You can’t blame them for this, when you think back to the “animal instincts” part of the argument. Yes, it’s true, being pretty does help a girl find a guy. You also can’t blame them when you think back to our society. Movies, shows, and advertisements show beautiful, coquettish woman who are all about sex.


Something I’ve been trying desperately to convey to guys I speak to about this is that it’s so much bigger than that. You think I spend 40 minutes getting ready before I go out just to be a treat for your dick? If you think that’s true, then you’ve been spending your life watching too much tv- and frankly- you don’t really know that much about women.

I was walking through Target one day in high school and two teenage boys walked by. “Too much makeup for me,” said one to the other. I wanted to turn around and say, “Don’t flatter yourself. I’m out of your league with or without the makeup,” but then… there’s that ego I told you I didn’t have.

I am so tired of hearing that men prefer the “natural look” I could pull my hair out. In that respect, I honestly don’t care what you prefer. I feel beautiful, and powerful, and fierce as hell with some good makeup. That’s my goal. I achieved my goal with my red lipstick. Middle finger in the air.

The thing is, most of us can get guys with or without the makeup. Don’t think we’re confused about that. You men are not all as picky as you pretend to me. Additionally, for any of the comments I’ve heard, I have never been turned down for wearing too much makeup yet. Not once in my entire life. And I am a girl who loves her makeup.


Just adding this one because it was vixen-ish?

On top of that, I’ll let you in on something I’ve noticed in my life. Men view me a little more as a girl-next-door type without the makeup. But I’m viewed as more of a vixen when I wear it. And it doesn’t matter if I’m at a club or a grocery store- it never fails- men of all ages are extra friendly and helpful to the vixen.

Who Am I?

My quest for beauty and confidence in this world has really mixed me up about myself. This is my real, number one purpose for writing this post. To explain that for all beautiful women get glamorized, and idolized, and worshipped, I am worse off for it. Worse off as a human being.

I tell you truly that I am a victim of society, in ways that make me much worse off than so many other people. Not because I’m judged. No, it’s much more unfortunate than even judgement and bullying.


True happiness. That’s me on the bottom of the dog pile. I think this better shows who I am instead of just how I look.

I want to be really honest and acknowledge openly that even today, beauty is my number one aspiration. Isn’t that so fucked? As a feminist, I enjoy feeling beautiful, so I allow myself to feel empowered by my choices. On the other hand, I know that it’s superficial and oppressive, and I wish I could wake up one day and decide that being pretty no longer matters to me. But it’s so deeply ingrained, I’m not sure this is something I even know how to fight within myself. My internal beliefs about myself have mostly solidified in my 27 years of life.

Wherever I go, I still get my beauty validated. I still get the message that my worth is my appearance. And I still believe it.

The bleak, grave truth of it all is that all beauty fades. We all age. Of all the attributes that all of us possess, this is the only one thing that you cannot keep. Do you know what that means for a pretty girl in a patriarchy?

I won’t know who I am or what I’m worth when it all leaves me.

Why I EAT Collagen


I’d like to introduce one of my favorite beauty products- collagen!

Let start with the basics. Did you know that the collagen molecule is too big to soak into your skin? All those creams and serums that claim to help with wrinkles because they contain collagen are completely worthless. Seriously- completely a waste of your money.

Collagen hydrolysate, on the other hand, is for ingesting. It’s far superior to eat your collagen, because your body uses it to fight against wrinkles, and a ton of other building and repairing functions, too.

Collagen hydrolysate is made from gelatin. The only difference between the two is that the collagen hydrolysate has been broken down into individual amino acids, so it’s more bio-available (your body absorbs it more easily).

Collagen hydrolysate contains 20 amino acids that are essential for building and doing just about everything in your body including (but not limited to) strong hair & nails, better muscle tone, and supple skin that can rebuild its own elasticity. To me, that sounds like the perfect beauty product!

I like using this because it dissolves easily into my coffee and is virtually tasteless. It’s not all just for superficial reasons, either. Our ancestors’ diets contained far more gelatin (and therefore collagen) than ours do today- creating a huge deficit in our diet. To me, this simple addition to my daily routine is essential!

I buy Great Lakes grass-fed, kosher beef collagen.

Why In The World Would A Conservative Vote Liberal? 7 Reasons Why

Why in the world would a Conservative vote liberal?


I’ll tell you why.

I AM CONCERNED ABOUT PERVERTS IN THE BATHROOM WITH MY DAUGHTER, TOO. I just don’t think it has anything to do with transgender bathrooms in a Target (or anywhere, really).

I AM CONCERNED ABOUT MASS SHOOTINGS IN PUBLIC PLACES. I just don’t think every stranger having a gun makes me feel any safer about it, to be honest. Nor the availability of assault weapons- for anyone- because these are what make mass shootings “mass” instead of just “shootings”. Additionally, let me just add this in- I certainly wouldn’t want every teacher carrying a gun either. (Are we not we still worried about them molesting our kids? And hitting them or abusing them?)
I SUPPORT THE FREE MARKET. However, I also know monopolies and lobbyists destroy that system and do not allow it to function. As it stands, we actually do not really function within a free market today because of this. #realtalk
I AGREE WITH THE TRICKLE DOWN THEORY. If there were no offshore bank accounts, outsourcing work to other countries, all expenses were within our country and taxes were all equal percentages across the board. Otherwise the theory cannot work.
CLIMATE CHANGE MAY BE NATURAL. But we cannot afford to be wrong about that. Also, we have nothing to lose and only good things to gain by making the world more environmentally-friendly, whether or not that ends up being related to climate change.
I AM AGAINST ABORTION. (Well, not personally me, but some liberals are.) But I know that making them illegal won’t stop abortions. It will only stop SAFE abortions. I do not expect the law to change someone else’s morality. But I do feel a moral obligation to protect people’s lives, even while they are making choices I am against.
I AM AGAINST HOMOSEXUALITY. (Also not true for me personally, but for some liberals.) But I do know that I cannot change anyone else’s morality. I know we live in a free country, and part of that freedom is religious and civil freedom. So I do not vote to outlaw someone else’s marriage.

DIY version of Gwyneth Paltrow’s Breakfast Smoothie


photo from

Have you all seen or heard of the controversy over Gwyneth Paltrow’s $200 breakfast smoothie?

Being the smoothie and veggie-juice drinking health nut I am, I had to check it out. Here’s how her site has it listed:

GP’s Morning “Smoothie”


Gwyneth drinks one of these every morning, whether or not she’s detoxing. Choose your Moon Juice moon dust depending on what the day ahead holds!


1 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 teaspoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons vanilla mushroom protein powder
1 teaspoon maca
1 teaspoon ashwagandha
1 teaspoon ho shou wu
1 teaspoon cordyceps
1 teaspoon moon dust of choice
pinch Himalayan sea salt
pinch vanilla powder (optional)

A lot of these ingredients may seem foreign to most people! They include a few mushrooms and Ayurvedic herbs which are super-healthy and balancing. Not to mention, it’s low carb, low sugar, and high in fat. This looked perfect for the ketogenic diet I’m doing! I am not going to dish out a lot of money for the “moon dust,” though I want to try it sometime in the future.

My dupe of Gwyneth’s smoothie was a lot cheaper, and surprisingly tasty.


Nutty and delicious! This is a perfect breakfast drink because it’s very filling from the healthy fats and nut protein. The coconut oil and maca are very energizing, and the mushroom complex is great for nourishment.

Sarah’s Morning “Smoothie”


1 cup unsweetened, organic almond milk (low sugar and low carb)
2 tablespoons almond butter (more of this for flavor, since I didn’t have anything vanilla)
1 teaspoon organic virgin coconut oil
2 droppers full of Stamets 7, an immune-boosting mushroom complex which includes cordyceps, reishi, and chaga
1 teaspoon organic maca
pinch Himalayan sea salt

(I forgot to include these ones in the original photo)—>

What do you think– would you try it?

I Went Gluten-Free For One Whole Year, And This Is What Happened


Like many people, I am interested in my health. This is particularly true when it comes to my nutrition, because that is a special interest of mine. So naturally, with the trending topic of gluten and its affects on our bodies, I was on board. I read Wheat Belly by Dr William Davis and The Beauty Detox by Kimberly Snyder (of whom I’d already been a long-time fan, and whose beliefs about gluten reinforced this decision for me).

A few facts about this. Gluten is a protein that is incredibly difficult for your body to digest. This is true whether you’re celiac, intolerant, or if you eat pasta twice a day. Doesn’t matter- the fact is, it’s harder on your system than some other food elements are. This part of the argument, no one denies. That’s actually what makes it inflammatory for your digestive system. To what degree it is inflammatory, and when that becomes a concern, is up for debate. Wheat is also one of the most pesticide-heavy crops that are out there. See “The Real Reason For Toxic Wheat (It’s Not Gluten).” (Some people believe this to be the real reason why people are so sensitive to it.)

It was difficult to go from my normal meals to gluten-free at first. There’s actually a LOT of gluten in the foods that we eat on a day-to-day basis. So the first step was to stock up on a lot of gluten-free alternatives in the form of chips, crackers, pizzas, and the like.


The first thing I noticed was a lack of bloating. I was so impressed by my flat stomach in the first three days that I was really convinced I’d found the miracle cure. Alas, like all miracles, after the first few days the normal flux of food-babies returned. I’m still curious whether this was related to cutting out gluten or not, as I had not been doing anything else differently at the time, nor was I eating any less than usual (or so I felt).

During these first few days I was also accompanied with a headache. It wasn’t massive and it wasn’t anything an aspirin or two couldn’t take care of, but it was constant and lasted a few solid days. According to Wheat Belly, this is a bit of a hangover, because gluten has an opium-like effect on your brain. I won’t disagree with this fact, because it sure felt like it.

The months went by and it became second nature for me to know which food choices were permissible, and it wasn’t at all hard for me to stick to. I noticed, however, that I felt ravenously hungry quite often, and I was gaining weight. I have always stayed around the same size, so this was unusual, but for a person who has now recovered from an eating disorder, I decided not to let myself worry much about this part. Around the same time I went gluten-free I had started a new job that requires 8 hours of desk-sitting, and I felt it was entirely possible this was the main culprit anyway.


via @ chelseapearl /

Soon it became so easy for me to pick up a pack of these quick, gluten-free snacks that I wasn’t eating my salads or drinking my green smoothies nearly as much. This isn’t a rut that everyone falls into, of course, but for me, I felt no guilt doing so since I was sticking to the plan.

I was around 6-8 months in when I started looking into the importance of blood-sugar on your food cravings and food choices. It was then that I realized, my gluten-free crackers were less friend and more foe. I thought I was doing myself a great service in munching on rice crackers all day (not that I imagined they were “healthy” by any means), when in actuality, they were not as satiating and they just made me hungrier later. This would be 100% true of glutenous snacks as well- it is just important for me to point out that when going gluten-free, the processed junk is still processed junk, and you’re still not doing your body any good with this.

Once I came to this revelation, I cut out the gluten-free alternatives completely. My healthy choices and weight started to return to normal, and I felt pretty great. I could have carried on my entire life this way, were it not for the weekend I spent at my boyfriend’s father’s house. Understanding the importance of eating while drinking alcohol and not having any other options available, (poor planning on my part) I half-heartedly ate my fill of baguettes and artisan bread-sandwiches, already fearing what my body would do to me next.


Not being one for placebo effect, I like to be surprised by my body when I take supplements or try a new diet, so I brushed off the dilemma and carried on with my life that Monday, eating gluten-free as normal. To my surprise, the days went on and I started to think, “Wasn’t something supposed to have happened by now?” The fact was, nothing unusual happened at all.

From that point on, I trifled with gluten when I went out, or on dates with my boyfriend (a decision he was very happy about). Since then it has become apparent that there really is no difference; a fact that I am both pleased by, and also admittedly, slightly disappointed with.

In conclusion I do believe that gluten, in addition to ALL grains are somewhat irritating to the digestive system, so I think it would do a person good to do away with them altogether, rather than just going gluten-free. I would go so far as to say that people probably experience good results with a gluten-free diet simply because they are eating less grains in general. As you saw for me, it didn’t matter which grains I was eating- they were causing all sorts of cravings and weight gain. More on grain-free next time!

Basic Bitch- Bride Edition

Are you a basic bride?

1. You’ve written “I Said Yes!” on Facebook, or even better, it was part of your engagement photoshoot. Congratulations on your originality.


2. You have said something about being or feeling “like a princess.” Extra basic points if you wear anything that resembles a tiara.


3. You have posted “___ days until I marry my best friend!” on social media. (Are those posts required? How is it that EVERYONE must say this?)


4. You have a wedding board on Pinterest. Because, of course you do.


5. “I said yes to the dress!” is another super original post or quote of yours.


6. Prepping for your wedding includes weight loss goals.


7. You have said “I can’t wait to spend the rest of our lives together!” (As though somehow, that is not already happening.)


8. Your ring is a diamond, because you like being the same as everyone else, and mass marketing works on you.


Psst, here’s a video for you about that btw:

Why Engagement Rings Are A Scam

Why Girls Should Strip “Future Husband” From Their Vocabulary


Using this term has always seemed bizarre to me. As others have put it, it’s a little like subscribing to bridal magazines in high school, simply because you want to get married someday. You’re kind of counting your eggs before they hatch.

I know it’s probably a comforting thought to think about the fact that you’ll have a “future husband” someday, but maybe you should think about why that is so comforting in the first place. Are you worried about ending up alone? Do you have a desire to be loved? Do you look forward to having a family? You’re using your own insecurities and desires to manifest a romanticized idea of a person and a non-existent relationship with them. All of these expectations which, if you do get into a serious relationship at some point, will get shoved on to a real human being. That’s not really okay, or healthy.

What about his expectations and desires?

What about his expectations and desires?

For one thing, relationships aren’t one sided. How can you fantasize about someone you don’t even know? You can’t. You’re fantasizing about what you want and you hope for. That’s pretty selfish, actually, unless you’re also fantasizing about compromising on what to watch on Netflix when you don’t want to, or getting along with bitchy relatives you don’t like, or the same stupid argument you two always have, and about all those little habits that are going to drive you crazy. You won’t feel fulfilled all the time, and in fact, you’ll feel lonely, too. Is that part of your fairy tale? Because that’s part of having a relationship.

Imaginary expectations for an imaginary relationship

Imaginary expectations for an imaginary relationship

Girls often think about a “future husband” instead of a “true love” because they think it’s the same thing. With the divorce and infidelity rates all around us, you’d think they would know better. Here’s the truth about husbands: they aren’t better dads than boyfriends. They aren’t more committed than boyfriends. They aren’t more faithful than boyfriends. They aren’t more in love with you than boyfriends. In fact, the boyfriend who turns into your husband is the exact same guy. Literally everything about him stays the same.

…But you don’t dream about your future boyfriend. Why not?

That’s the other half of the problem. If you aren’t going to be satisfied with a relationship because there is never going to be a ring on it, you’re not interested in love. You’re interested in a relationship status.

The term

The term “Future Husband” is usually used while a demand is being made

When I was a pre-teen I tried to write a letter to my “future husband” and thought about how romantic he would think it was that I spent so much time “thinking about him” and “dreaming about him”. In retrospect, that’s not very romantic at all. It’s actually kind of weird. A poem or letter for someone you love is personalized and romantic because all those beautiful thoughts and words are inspired by them. If you give them a letter you wrote from before you knew them, it’s none of those things.

Pretending to love someone you haven't met or fallen in love with isn't cute.

Pretending to love someone you haven’t met or fallen in love with isn’t cute.

I think the main reason I dislike the term “future husband” is that it’s slightly delusional. Like I already said, you can’t be sending love to someone you don’t know and don’t love. This concept is a fake relationship with an imaginary friend, very similar to how lonely children need to have imaginary friends. How many girls with boyfriends think about their “future husband”? None, because they all want to end up with their boyfriends. So instead of their “future husband” being an imaginary person, these girls like to think they already know him, and he has a name. Of course, that’s not always any more realistic, but hey, at least it’s not a fake person.

Girls everywhere, you’re worth so much more than wasting your time dreaming about a relationship status. Being with someone isn’t what makes you worth something. A ring on your finger won’t make you happy. Stop the imaginary stuff and hope to develop a real love, without all the expectations.