I think this is a good example of why beauty does not equal power, although that's what a lot of women my age think. Because if that "power" is gone by age 34 -- well geez, most women live until they're 76 or something!

This might make me sound vain, but I could easily get by on my looks. But I am careful to never do that because I know it will hurt me in the long-run. I am also careful to not let how I look dictate my self-esteem. I know someday my looks will be gone. And if that's all I have going for me, I'll be in big trouble (and I'll be a very bitter, insecure old woman).

It's so annoying to see other women my age who need to have "the gaze" constantly, just so they feel validated. Puh-leeze. A truly confident person doesn't need it.

At least Jenny McCarthy was honest about it. When asked about why she got Botox, she said, "Because I'm insecure!" No illusions of faux-empowerment, thank God.


Although, Happy, my sister is 33 and she looks better than she ever has. Is it possible that you really do look good, but you're just hung up on your actual age?

The Happy Feminist

Gosh, I don't mean to imply that I, or women my age, are old crones, or that I am horrified by what I see in the mirror. It just struck me that somehow, without even quite realizing it, I have gotten suckered into doing a lot more stuff than I used to just to look presentable.

On reflection, though, I am a lot less pre-occupied with my looks than I was as a teenager, when I agonized about any and every imperfection. As a teenager and a young woman I received constant validation for how I looked so it seemed a lot more important to try to maintain that. Now I tend to receive validation for my work or my achievements, which is definitely more satisfying. Now if I realize as I rush out the door to court that my suit makes me look chunky, I usually shrug it off because I have more important things on my mind. But then every once in a while, I'll see a wrinkle or look especially haggard and realize, with a sense of loss, that, even though I still look fine, an era may be coming to an end. And apparently I still do care more than I even realized, since I am doing so much just for appearances' sake!


Shrug. I didn't actually start getting worried about age until I hit 40. However, since I also never "relied" on my looks or thought a face that didn't break mirrors was sufficient preparation for facing life, I haven't found myself facing any kind of bitterness as I age. :)

When I was younger, I took my looks for granted. I was a "cute girl" and it helped me get friends, jobs, and men. I'm not a "cute girl" any more. (I'm not any kind of "girl.")

I've never really stopped to evaluate the kind of difference having been "cute" in my younger years might have made, but now that you mention it, II'd be interested in reading your thoughts on the matter.

Sour Duck

I've had a post rolling around in my head for a while called "On Once Having Been a Cute Girl,"

I've blogged about makeup extensively at Sour Duck (see http://sourduck.blogspot.com/2004/11/makeup.html if you're interested) so I'd love to read someone else's views and personal experiences.

I encourage you to write "On Once Having Been a Cute Girl."


Oddly, I just got finished reading a very similar post on someone else`s blog, which I`m passing on --- http://myowncircleofconfusion.com/?p=277

As for me, I`ve always vowed to stop the makeup and stuff when it is no longer "fun."


When I was in graduate school, my supervisor talked a lot about this idea of women using their looks to get them ahead (a form of power/empowerment). Then, when the looks fade, they have not learned other ways and end up feeling helpless or powerless. It was a big issue that we discussed in our gender class, and an issue that she said comes up in therapy quite often for older women (I wouldn't know, as I work with teenage boys!) It was interesting for me, as I had never stepped back to examine the ways I tried to obtain equality/power. And really, using our looks is not true empowerment (in my books anyways!)


Interesting post. The other morning I had a long talk with myself: should I start wearing make-up, etc? (I'm 39.) And I went round and round. What started it? I was shocked to see my pale white lips, all chapped in the bathroom mirror at work & then, later that night was amazed to see the transformation of a woman's looks (for the better, I thought) on "What Not to Wear." So, should I dye my eyebrows, etc? Nah.

I think I'll use that chapstick a little more, though.

I am now grateful, in a weird way, that I never was confident about my appearance in my teens & twenties. I *always* have been looking forward to that Deneuve/Loren stage of worn glamour--almost there!


Interesting blog you have here, and interesting discussion. I am also a "formerly cute girl," one who did the pageants, a little local modeling and got far on looks. I always took care of my skin, Noxema since age 11, then Oil of Olay as I got older. So today, my skin looks great and I look younger than my age, but that doesn't mean time and Mother Nature have been kind. Middle-age spread has got me firmly in its grip, it's a daily battle that I'm not exactly winning. Around age 30 I realized the trap I was in with my looks, I gradually stopped wearing make-up daily, refused to wear high heals or pantyhose, or to visit the hairdresser every 3rd week. I still don't today at 42. Without all the adornment, I thought I would be less attractive, but I've had a number of men tell me they liked that I didn't wear make-up or have a fussy hairstyle. This makes me wonder, who do we really do all this for? Are we really being attractive to others, are they the type we want to attract, or are we putting on the glitz to hide our own insecurities? I would like to read your "former cute girl" post when you write it.


VancouverCalling, that was a great comment. I quit wearing foundation sometime in college. I used to wear it every day in my teens and wouldn't leave the house without a "full face" on!

But now I realize that I look a lot better without foundation. In fact, most people do. Wearing lots of makeup, for me, was definitely an attempt at hiding my insecurities.

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