Believe You’re Beautiful – Others Will, Too

Back in college I knew a girl who did not seem to fit our cultural notion of “pretty.” But then a really attractive guy began dating her. Holding my own “lookism” bias, I didn’t get it. What did he see in her?

What happened next surprised me more. “Plain Jane” transformed into a beautiful young woman. It’s as though she hadn’t known her beauty, and couldn’t show it to the world until she felt someone else see it in her. And whether he actually did doesn’t matter. She believed that he did, and she was transformed.

This reminded me of a story my mom told me. An “unattractive” friend of hers went to college in the 1950s, when a girl’s worth was tied to how many dates she got. (Back then women didn’t sleep with the men they dated, so the only reputation they got was “popular.”)

Anyway, a frat decided to joke around by getting all the brothers to eagerly ask her out. Once again an ugly duckling transformed into a swan and the men began asking her out for real.

If you want to be beautiful, believe that you are.

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.

I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.

                                                                       –          From Maya Angelou’s “Phenomenal Woman

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on June 4, 2012, in body image, feminism, psychology, women and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 64 Comments.

  1. This story of the girl being transformed by believing in her own beauty demonstrates the power of self esteem. Our own perspective of ourselves is the most important and impactful. What others think can influence what we feel but in the end we must have the confidence in our lives. I struggled with my self esteem in high school and learned to see qualities in myself that I could embrace. I think that is what both the girls mentioned in this post had to also learn.

  2. This idea that believing you are beautiful will make others believe so as well is something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently. Humans, in nature, tend to be more attracted to confidence when it comes to friends and romantic partners. It is my belief that people seek out others that have certain aspects of personality that they want, like confidence. I’ve been experimenting with this ideology myself. I’ve started to analyze and disregard certain patriarchal expectations of me as a woman. Things like the “ideal” body type and the “ideal” facial structure are completely made up by and a by-product of the patriarchy. Once that is acknowledged, then I give less power to it by deeming it insignificant to me, and only then I can learn to love the parts of myself that seem “unattractive” in the eyes of the patriarchy. I’ve started wearing whatever I want and acting however I want because to me I’m beautiful enough to do so. My friends and family have started to notice this change and started asking things like, “have you lost weight?” when in reality, I haven’t lost a single pound but their perception of me has changed and the only way they can rationalize this change in myself is weight-loss.

  3. I agree with this statement. Satisfaction comes from inside. It begins with being humble enough to content and grow from that point on. Clothing, height, eye color, weight, and hair style do not determine beauty I say. To be satisfied with what you have shows maturity and that is what I personally value in a person. Whether I am trying to have a close friend or a business partner, if I do not see someone level headed and not obsessed simply with the newest trends whether it be again, clothing, or the new fad.

    I think it happens alot. I don’t know if movies show this alot, but once people are content with who they are notwithstanding they choose whatever way to grow, they may seem to be as if followed by a multitude who pursue her. And at that point, I think if you’ve changed so much that they are willing to chase you, I say draw the line, I think you deserve that, although I don’t think I’m around there yet. Basically, I don’t think you should be afraid to be who you have become. I mean what did someone else see before you were “transformed”? What was this person looking for? What people say, how people move, their weight, their height. Are they of anyone’s business? I’d question anyone that says yes. What’s the point of being anorexic beyond being a model (rhetorical / no offense / apparently very common in industry)?

    • Yes. When people feel beautiful they hold themselves and move as if they were… and they become beautiful.

      • To me it’s as if they finally snapped out of the hypnotize the world tries to put on every body. People need to hold themselves against the pressure. Some say fake it till you make it, but I would say don’t call yourself faking, I’d rather say, aren’t you enough at the end of the day?

    • Please excuse my comment about anorexia and models if that offended anybody with a eating disorder or generally. I’ve read people can die from it and I’m appalled at myself for writing that.

      I think there can be more to life than the image you have. Have you met anybody before “transformed” and after? I might even make the suggestion that people avoid you “before”. Do people consider some others just some charity case? You know? I think you might deserve more props than you seem. If anyone tried reading all the comments you might have thought, this community seems promising.

    • please pardon me if the first comment upset you offensively, I forgot to proofread my response.

  4. The way I see it is, you don’t need to want to be beautiful, you are beautiful. I truly believe that beauty is subjective, the uniqueness of a person is what makes them undoubtedly beautiful. However, I do believe that the way you feel about yourself inside definitely effects how you portray yourself to other people. Your internal dialogue plays a big role in your self image and how you carry yourself through life. For example, if you tell yourself you are ugly and a failure, you will believe it. Many people tend to feed these negative thought patterns and come to truly believe these thoughts as facts. Not to say that others will see them this way (it’s usually quite the opposite), but the person will carry themselves differently than a person with a positive internal dialogue would.

  5. I can relate to this article from personal experience and I felt it did a relatively good job conveying a similar experience I have had. I have never felt like I fit the traditional beauty status and never thought of myself as anything special. My self-esteem was very low and I never felt confident in how I looked. However, since I’ve started dating my boyfriend, I’ve seen my confidence grow by leaps and bounds. I have started to believe that I am beautiful and it’s been amazing to start to feel self-love for the first time. In general, I try to think of myself as an independent woman who doesn’t need men to validate herself. However, I will admit that my confidence and feeling beautiful has largely improved due to my boyfriend. Feeling desired by a man definitely played a role in helping my confidence grow, however, I feel as though it wasn’t the main factor in my growth like this article seems to imply. For me, I think the main reason my confidence grew was not due to him being physically attracted to me, but him loving me for who I truly am. Although this article does a good job capturing the concept that attracting men helps to boost a woman’s confidence, I feel as though what really boosted my confidence was knowing I was loved, regardless of how I looked and that is what has made me feel more beautiful than ever.

  6. Jennifer R Arroyo

    This story is similar to something I’ve witnessed in High School, it’s surprising to see how the woman blossoms to be something more than what she was by meeting a guy like that. It’s funny because you’d think she’d have low self-esteem and a “makeover” would make her self-esteem go higher but low self-esteem is more common in “beautiful” women than you would expect. Some just don’t believe they are attractive. They have a distorted self-image and don’t believe others who tell them how beautiful they are, both inside and outside. The media has a lot to do with this since they create ads or cast female actors who are believed to be a perfect example of what a woman should be. People who don’t fit the “beauty standards” but find themselves beautiful and good enough to be with someone like a football player, seem like they are very confident people and probably don’t need confirmation from society to tell her otherwise.
    The Maya Angelou poem is very nice, I see the poem as if it’s a reminder that we are just women and we don’t have to meet the expectation of being “beautiful”.

  7. I’ve discussed this with many of my friends and we seem to have the same opinion. Looks shouldn’t be the only factor that someone has when it comes to whether or not they should date. I can’t say that I haven’t questioned why some guys would date certain girls, especially if I think there are so many other girls that could be more attractive. I sometimes find myself asking why my significant other chose me when there are other girls who are so much more attractive than myself, which hurts to even think about. I never believe that a man is what makes a woman beautiful. I think it takes the woman herself to believe that she is beautiful within, inside and out. The concept of having someone love you for you, is what i always believed in. As a young girl, my mother encouraged me to always look presentable and act a certain way because my personality is what would attract men. Today, I don;t believe that very much. I have been shown that sometimes al some guys want is a pretty face to show off that has an hourglass figure and certain feautures that not all of us are gifted with. I do think that I am pretty but always find myself second guessing because there is another pretty girl that could be better than myself.

  8. This article reminds me of those movies where the girl is plain and quiet, but once they have a makeover, everyone sees her in this new light. I know that this is a little different from what the article says, but it’s just what reminded me of it. I’m not the sort of person who is attracted to a guy by looks, I really look at who they are as a person. They could be the hottest guy around, but completely dull or mean. It’s a cliche but I really do believe it’s what’s on the inside. For example, say there’s a guy who you don’t find particularly attractive, but he’s funny and fun to be around so you hang out a lot. Once you gain feelings for this person, their whole look changes to you. Suddenly, they are the hottest ticket around. That’s how you find someone’s beauty that they probably didn’t even know they had. I’m not big on self-esteem. I try to fake it, but I have a lot of insecurities. My friends always tell me that confidence is key, that if I walked into a room with an array of confidence that men will find that most attractive of all. I love myself though. I may walk around hating the ideas of what other people may think of me, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like myself. I refuse to change so I walk around just basically torturing myself for no reason. I love this poem by Maya Angelou. Now there’s a woman with confidence I aspire to be.

    • Research has shown that the more you get to know someone the more attractive they seen — unless they have emotional problems.

      Mostly I find it interesting how the persons beliefs about themselves shows on their body.

  9. Thank you for sharing this great article, I like it because the issue of whether on not women appearance are pretty or ugly, this has being creating an impact in the society. I like to think that this is just a myth that such a distinction do not exist.I believe that all women are beautiful not matter what, and that sometimes some of them just need some extra attention to exploit their beauty.It would be nice if every women would realize the power of beauty that they bring to this world. As the examples this article is showing about the college student’s transformation, and how they came out of a shadow they were leaving and became so popular. I do believe that motivation and aspiration can help a lot to change women attitude toward themself about feeling ugly. Fortunately, as we can see now a day, women complexity about their look has been replacing with more internal beauty. Woman have discovered their beautiful way of creating things at work or else because of their brain and show their creation with other make them feel import and fulfill.

  10. I think that maybe it wasn’t exactly the man that made her into a beautiful woman. I don’t believe it had anything to do with how attractive he was. I feel like when you’re in a relationship you truly care about, you always want to be the best person inside and out. Maybe that was not what she wanted to do at all. It may not even be about the relationship and just pure confidence in herself. Nowadays with social media, beauty standards are at it’s highest and can be difficult to uphold. It is hard to remember that you can’t meet every standard and that you have to love yourself for who you are regardless if you meet the standards or not. All in all, I think this can be a reminder to know that looks and “beauty standards” can only go so far. Concentrating on yourself and knowing you’re worth can get you farther than what some people think.

  11. Growing up, boys and girls become aware of the beauty standards within a culture early on and whether or not their looks fit. It tremendously alters confidence levels, especially those of women who have been raised in a society which makes them feel less than beautiful. This article brings forth an empowering message, supplemented with a “phenomenal” sentiment by Maya Angelou, that we should all rather not focus on how others view our appearance and just believe in our innately confident and uniquely beautiful strengths. I learned how socially-held notions regarding beauty can impact a female in a way that it is not until she is able to find a male partner interested in her, a remarkable transformation occurs within like “she hadn’t known her beauty, and couldn’t show it to the world until she felt someone else see it in her.” This mindset, primarily shaped by a culture, holds women back and further shows the patriarchy which exists in the world today. Each of us are composed differently, therefore we must understand that outward characteristics do not serve as a fair portrayal of the beauty in oneself.

  12. I can relate to the story to the article a whole lot. For me, before I met my boyfriend, I did not feel pretty for the most part. I would be self conscious about how I looked and what I wore everyday. I wanted to meet the beauty expectations. I did not have confidence in myself nor did I love myself as much back then. When I met my boyfriend, I somehow blossomed and I learned to love myself more through him because he made me feel like I was the “swan”. He saw the beauty in me that I did not noticed before. Slowly, I started wearing what I want and stopped putting on make up. Basically, just being myself and feeling attractive made my friends notice that I am more happy. Maya Angelou’s, “Phenomenal Women”, has always inspired me whenever I read it. She speaks about inner and outer beauty and having the confidence to flaunt it.

  13. Wow very interesting! I know some people that had transformations after a guy asked them out and was interested in them but I never thought much into it; but now this makes so much sense. I believe that this happens because they feel someone do see them and they aren’t invisible.
    In my personal experience, sometimes I don’t feel beautiful and sometimes I do but most of the time I’m very self conscious about myself because I’m not as skinny as the other girls. I would get all dolled up and have a nice outfit but I still don’t feel like guys really see me. I’ve tried the natural beauty with no make up and still I feel the same. So I decided I would stop looking and just focus on myself. And I feel like since I started just focusing on myself I’ve started to see that some guys are more noticing me. I believe that if we don’t pay much attention to guys and more to ourselves that we’d attract more guys.

  14. Great article! I strongly believe in this. This is because I experienced it myself and saw many actual examples around me. For example, when I didn’t feel right on myself such as dressing badly on an important gathering, I lack of confidence and felt I am very ugly. My friends also agreed that I was ugly on that day. However, when I spent time on making myself look better, I found that I have more confidence in front of my friends and they will say that I look pretty that day. So, ‘beauty’ can change according to how you feel about yourself. If you judge yourself as Plain Jane or ugly duck, others will think the same. However, if you believe you are a beautiful swan, the positive energy can affect others and they will feel comfortable to stay with you. This comfortable feeling makes them felt that you’re beautiful. So, I think having confidence and making others feel comfortable are better because feeling bad about ourselves can bring negatives, both physical appearance and internal feeling.

  15. We are constantly told ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ yet we always do, people’s first impressions of each is what we see, and we are quick to make assumptions or judge a person’s character based off what he or she is wearing or whether or not they’re eyebrows are on ‘fleek’ (that made me cringe typing), or if they don’t maintain their face and hair. I was just like the person described in this post, the problem wasn’t that I was ugly, I lacked the confidence and because of that I felt ugly, and it probably didn’t help that I was bigger than most girls at my school even though I had an athletic build. Luckily, I met someone who really brought out my inner beauty and whether I am meeting these beauty standards or not, I walk confidently and with my head held high because I am happy with who I have become. Maya Angelou’s Phenomenal Women is a great reminder to everyone, and that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, because every person’s definition of “beauty” differs depending on one’s culture or upbringing. It doesn’t help that ‘beauty’ is all we see in social media, women should be reminded that they are all beautiful rather than given advice on how to get a guy or the many makeup tutorials that continue to make women question their own beauty.

  16. I can really see myself in this blog post. But in reverse. The thing is that when I started college I had spent the entire summer tanning before fall quarter so I was tanned and my blonde hair was really light and I’d tested some whitening strips for the teeth so they were White too. Anyway, the Point is that I felt really good and was confident going to school and got a lot of looks when I walked by. So now when it’s the start of my third fall quarter and I’m not that tanned and I’ve gained in weight over the summer I’m REALLY struggling with my confidence. I don’t think I’ve ever been this low in self- esteem which is making me so frustrated with myself.
    Even though it sounds nice that these girls in the post got confidence when boys payed attention to them it makes me wonder why boys attention would be necessary for a girl to be confident..
    Since I’m really struggling with confidence myself right now I really feel that I don’t want anyone else to tell me I look good, I just want to feel for myself that I’m good enough and that I don’t have to stand in front of the mirror and scrutinize myself everyday. To depend on others to make one self feel good isn’t the way to do it. I need to take charge myself and say ” I’m Beautiful” and believe in it.

    • You’re right. It’s not important and it shouldn’t be important that a man finds woman attractive. But what’s interesting to me is that when the woman felt attractive (because others acted like she was) she actually became attractive. Believing in herself made others find her more attractive.

      So the point is that it shouldn’t matter got your tan for your teeth. Take a positive attitude and you will be beautiful.

  17. Like people say, “Confidence is sexy”, and it really is. It is a good thing to be confident in what you do, especially about yourself. In the world of love, we really have to learn to love ourselves before we love someone else. It is the key to a real relationship. Speaking for myself, I tend to like men, or even friends in general, who aren’t scared of who they are or act as a person. I would like for a man to know what he wants in life. I do not want someone to be shy, more like for someone to take control on his own decisions. That right there, will make me focus on him from the inside, not the outside. Because remember, it is not all about the looks. It is their actions and their personality that speak to the heart. Inner beauty is for life. Looks can fade, and not seem the same as they once were.

  18. Jonathan Castellanos

    Unfortunately nowadays…people are judged by their appearance first (which is a bad thing!!!). I don’t think it’s fair for people needing to be worried about looks. I’ve seen many students struggle about this during my high school time. A lot of blame belongs to our society and media. Many young kids rarely ever judge based on looks because they haven’t been exposed to all the false ideals. It would really be a beautiful thing to have a community like that. But as I mentioned before, it’s practically impossible to achieve because we’re constantly being informed by so many sources that looks are important. I believe a lot of people’s potential are stripped away because of this. I agree with the post previous to mine. “beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and colors”. I believe it’s important for everyone to understand this and acknowledge that physical beauty isn’t a primary thing you should be concerned about. It’s important to focus on yourself. This applies to both males and females. As mentioned in this post, we should all be taught to believe that we’re all beautiful.

  19. Beauty standards in todays society are mostly about looks. what’s the culture notion of “pretty”?? Many women only feel beautiful when they hear it from somebody else, specially if its coming from a man. But I think women shouldn’t depend on somebody else to tell them how pretty or beautiful they are. We should be telling ourselves every signal time we look in the mirror. If you believe in yourself, have confidence love your body and it will boost your self-esteem. Remember beauty comes in all shapes, sizes and colors. Beauty isn’t all about looks.We also have to remember that beauty is only with us for a while but our personality stays forever. Somebody can have all the beauty in the world but have a sour personality and that beauty will slowly fade away as people get to know you. Beauty isn’t everything, beauty is about loving and accepting yourself and others will follow.

  20. I’ve witnessed my younger sister shy away fear and shame at opportunities of growth — she won’t raise her hand in class, run for that position she want in her club, or go to that party she’s itching to see play out —because she refused to bring attention to pimples or a bad hair day. Sometimes these insecurities are realities, other times they’re illusions.
    It’s easy to tell her that she’s created these illusions solely due to contempt of self and dismissed her place as a victim of our patriarchal culture but I work hard to educate myself in what I may, and share what I learn with her as well because I really do think feminism can save lives — in the fully and truest sense of the word.That said, working towards empathy becomes a challenge when people in the home are unable to grasp the concept of an eating disorder —it’s come to this — or what fuels it beyond the injured party.
    This post speaks to me at a very personal level because, though my personal concerns with body image have always been minimal (I acknowledge my privilege too —one of them being my small frame), I have been deeply affected by my body and as have those I love.
    While struggles and suffering aren’t unique to anyone, emotions and the way we experience them are limited by the biology of our body. Our soul is what understands them — it is, for the most part, unattached. However, the way we experience and the frequency at which we experience suffering is largely determined by the nature of our manifestations. This isn’t right. We cannot control the world, what our bodies look like — nor should we because, yes, “variety is the spice to life.”
    In order to truly heal, I believe victims need to identify and address their real attacker and this can only be done by understanding their mind and why it thinks the way it does, rather than fighting it by merley eating more, applying zit cream, or just getting “over it.” Knowledge will always empower the mind, and our spirit.

  21. I feel as though in order for women to achieve any kind of success, beauty whatever the case may be they have to first believe in themselves. Have self motivation because without it, they’re just going off the opinions of society. We constantly complain that Society portrays us one way or another but we give them the power to portray us how ever they want. If we just give ourselves even just a little bit of credit we will soon be able to achieve that sense of motivation, self-worth, happiness that we deserve and that we can give ourselves.

  22. Beauty standards in this society are so high that it may make it hard to be confident about our looks and abilities. The media has a huge impact on women and young girls, they show women and young girls that to be beautiful you must be thin, have flawless skin, tall and beautiful hair. I’ve heard that if we were to meet yourself we would not recognize yourself, which is pretty surprising. We tend to doubt ourselves that we might just end up not trying or just give up. We need to have a higher self-esteem in order to feel comfortable and confident with our body. If not we are more likely to become depressed and high chance of having some kind of eating disorder. We need way to empower women to help them feel good about themselves and also that it is not all about the looks. Theirs more important things to focus on like going and staying in school, working in order to have a successful life and future. We need to realize that things will get better but it all takes time and patience and in the end it will all be worth it.

  23. First of all, there is more than the beauty of the face to be judged on. Indeed, most people these days get attracted to the appearance, but yeah, sometimes we say: ” what did he/she see in him/her?” I was told that once when I told my friends about my crush, specially that my crush was mean to me. Later on I figured out that sometimes the prettiest from the outside are ugliest from the inside. However, some people need to feel loved to improve their looks. For example, I have met some girls who would never brush their hair, however, when they have to meet someone special, they turn to a completely different person. I wouldn’t actually call that fake, but yeah love could change people.

    I am not sure if this video is related to the topic, but I would love to share it with you

  24. When I was reading the 1st paragraph, so many images just flashed through. Not-good-looking/ nerdy guys + pretty/ attractive girls, or vice versa. I admit I am slightly “lookism” biased so I always find it interesting to figure out what exactly draws such a couple to come together. Could be money, family arrangement or personal needs. Undoubtedly, when guys start to ask a girl out who is considered as “unattractive at all”, that’s the game-changing point. Girls are not taught to recognize their natural beauty so makeup is all over their faces, fancy/ sexy dress is all over their bodies. What are girls trying to hide? Those ugly ducks find their way to swans because some guys find a spark in them. So why don’t girls start to take a closer and better look at themselves? Faith is a strong suit and all girls should have it on.

  25. Honestly, this is very helpful for any woman out there! I love this! The fact that women always never see what others see or what their significant other see. This just recently happened to me. As I thought I was going to end up alone with no one to share life with simply because I was unattractive, thinking I was never going to feel wanted by someone. Having to be hurt and heartbroken because I was ugly. I would always feel like im the ugly duckling of my crew, having to think always negative of myself. This never helped me achieve anything. Not in school or in sports because at the time i was trying my best to have my focus on something else so i wont focus on bashing on myself and comparing myself with others. However, when i started College I wanted to be a whole different person, and as my dad always told me to think, act and look positive to attract positive in your life. He helped me alot with this minor depression issue, and now ive found my soulmate for that i thank my dad for helping me achieve in school and as well think positive about myself and having a wonderful self esteem and that my bf has helped alot since.Having a negative self esteem about yourself doesn’t help to attract positive people, it attracts the opposite.

  26. Ashley Steffenson

    I’m absolutely in love with Mayo Angelou’s poem “Phenomenal Woman”. I couldn’t agree more with the message that it relays. I strongly believe that a person’s self confidence is entirely dependent and derived from what we think of ourselves. Believing in yourself can be the most powerful thing of all that you need to do in order to “transform” yourself from the “Plain Jane” as stated in the article to a “beautiful swan”. How you’re taken to the rest of the world has a lot to do with what kind of energy that you exude and put back into the world. If you believe in something, you can achieve it. Believing and achieving go hand in hand. I wish so many other young girls could understand this concept. That it’s not in fact dependent on what men think of you, but it what’s you think of yourself. If you allow in a person’s bad or negative energy about you inside of your heart, it’s only going to grow there. You have to keep in mind that caring over minuscule thoughts of what people think of you that may or may not even know you at all, doesn’t say anything about yourself. What you pout out into the world is what truly matters. Your self esteem and your self confidence is exactly just that. It’s for your SELF. And not others. If we all were so reliant on others approval to feel good about ourselves, we would never be satisfied. There will always be someone out there who doesn’t like you regardless of how awesome you are. What counts most is what’s inside and what you believe, not for others. But for yourself.

  27. I think every female out there should read this post because it will really boost their self esteem. For instance, I had really bad eyesight since kindergarten so I have been wearing glasses ever since. Up until high school, I finally got contacts and for some reason, I felt more confident in wearing contacts. Sometimes I would need to wear glasses because I would wake up with puffy eyes, but whenever I wore glasses, I told myself that “today was going to be a bad day.” I wore contacts to school everyday, every time I went out in public, etc. However, once I started dating my current boyfriend, I started wearing glasses more often than I wear contacts. I told him that I would wear contacts but “I’m just too lazy to put them on.” For once, I didn’t feel embarrassed or ugly when I wore glasses around him because he said he liked it better when I wear glasses. My sisters would tell me that, too. I think it really makes a difference to women when their significant other tells them they’re beautiful because It just makes them feel good inside and they start to have a desire to look good for their partner. I guess they want to show other people that: this is the person who transformed me, stuff like that.

    • It’s so sad that we have learned to judge people on their physical appearance.
      People don’t care about other people’s feelings.

  28. This reminds me of a friend as well. In middle school she was very quiet, never wore makeup, and dressed very casual. Years later in high school surprisingly she tried out for the cheerleading team and made it. Once she gained the popularity from both the girls and the guys, she transformed! She gained a sense of style, her makeup was fantastic and she gained a lot of confidence. Although I felt a little uncomfortable that it took this popular group to make her see the beauty she held she still remained very much herself and down to earth to this day which is kind of rare. It’s just interesting to see how beauty was realized when others started to pay attention in a positive matter. Maya Angelou’s poem couldn’t be anymore right. It’s one of my favorites that many women should read and follow. Beauty is confidence.

  29. I believe this is very true. I’ve seen this happen to my friends and girls I knew in high school. When you are not seen as “attractive” to the majority of people around you, you have time to focus more on your personality and becoming more well rounded. Life should not be all about looks and when it is your mind is occupied with focusing on superficial needs rather than bettering yourself, meaning your mind and health. Girls get so caught up in looks that it is harder to find a “perfect” looking girl with the perfect style and everything with an awesome personality, in my opinion. It also depends on your environment and the type of people you are surrounded by. If you grow up in a community with very accepting people, looks start to matter less and it is easier to build a well rounded positive personality. But if you live in a community that is more superficial you are focused on changing yourself for others in order to be accepted than accepting yourself.

  30. I believe this to be very true. If you walk around with low self esteem, lacking in confidence, others will pick this up and 1) feel bad for you 2) feel uncomfortable for you 3) probably not approach you the way they would a confident person I have struggled a lot with my self esteem and confidence and it’s getting better everyday. Interacting with other people is better when you are confident, it can open up a lot of doors for you.

    As for the whole beauty aspect of feeling confidence within yourself, I agree that media has a huge influence. But the media won’t go away so we need to realize everyone cant look like the poeple in the magazines. or on Victorias Secrets. You are unique, God makes no mistakes.

    Being of African heritage and growing up in a predominantly white community during my younger years, I just wanted to blend in and look like everyone else but it was impossible. It took a while but I love myself completely now that I am older and wiser and now I’m happy within myself. I love my skin, my heritage and everything that makes me,me. And the things I used to dislike about myself I now embrace, like my nose, my lips, my height, my hips and my butt! It’s really about finding confidence within yourself.


  31. Chrisina Gomez

    Personally, I think that beauty really does begin with confidence. If you look in the mirror and love what you see, I believe others will too. The media is so focused on this new definition of beauty, but realistically, no real woman is going to look like a Barbie doll. I think we can reinvent this new definition by first, accepting who we are and what we were born with. There is no man or woman that doesn’t have an attractive trait, inside or out. We all have our flaws and we all have something to like about ourselves. Yes, it’s true that it is easier to bloom when someone else sees your beauty first but I think that we should strive to find that confidence within ourselves.

  32. This post reminds us the importance of inner beauty. Physical attraction is important but is not all it. We all are going to get old and the beauty of our youths is going to go away and then all we got is our shallow souls. Inner beauty is greater than a pretty face and a nice rack, because time will take your outer beauty away but it will not take your self-love. Confidence is the sexiest quality in a woman. I believe that a lack of confidence can hurt people’s sense of humor and personality. How can one love another person when one doesn’t even love one self? If a female believes that she is beautiful, is guaranteed that another person will agree, because we are all different but we all have something in common. I believe that one can enjoy inner beauty for a lifetime but on the other hand physical beauty is timed, gravity will do its thing eventually.

  33. Maria Estrada

    This is a beautiful post. Like most people, i have asked myself or had a conversation with a friend about this topic. The truth is that in order for someone to love us we have to love ourselves and accept ourselfs first. Women shouldn’t depend on someone else to tell them how beautiful they are, we should tell ourselves every day. Once you have accepted yourself and believe that you are beautiful, all that light will shine and people will start to notice your beauty more. I know of many cases where one or the other isn’t that cute or pretty but has a beautiful personality that charms those around them and eventually someone starts liking them.

  34. Weiyi Xia (Klark)

    I always believe that confidence is one of the miracles humans can perform, which in this case, confidence does a little magic to make someone “prettier”. Does confidence really change the look of a person? I don’t think so, but I do have some guesses about how it actually works to make a person “look better” than before. “Pretty” is not just a simple thing about appearance – it includes many other traits like the way you walk, the way you talk, your personality, etc. Raising self-confidence can change everything else besides appearance, which is just a part of being pretty, and when you are walking and talking differently in a confident way, you are actually raising your “degree of beauty” into a whole new level.

  35. When I was younger, say in my teen years, I used to always wonder why does the opposite attract? As in, how does he get her or how does she gets him? When I was high school, looks counted for almost everything. You would be judged by the way you looked and how you dressed. As I got older, I started to realize that looks aren’t everything. A girl can be pretty but if she has an ugly personality, then you wouldn’t see her as pretty anymore. What matters more is the beauty inside. Some people can have one of the most enthusiastic personalities and that is what makes them beautiful.

  36. How is beauty? This question will never have the answer, because everyone has their own opinion about beauty. Expensive clothes or fashionable won’t help women look better, even getting worse sometimes. Personally, I think beauty in the outfit just takes 30% of the meaning of beauty; the rest of that will be the knowledge, smart, character, communicate of women. No matter how pretty the women have, when they are getting old, the beauty will go down too, but the personality will stay with them forever.

  37. Little? Miss! Sunshine

    Like others before me, I’ve really appreciated what this post has to say about the topic of beauty. I like that it affirms that the desire to be beautiful is not a “bad” or “superficial” wish that only immature women struggle with. Rather, it’s already part of who a woman is and requires discovery, not alteration/intervention. I believe that beauty is a more expansive concept than it is generally associated with–along the lines of the in-class presentation today, beauty encompasses a whole person and does not compartmentalize/dissect her into “beautiful” and “ugly” categories based on individual body parts/personality traits/beliefs. Most especially, I appreciate that this post suggests that pretty girls are all alike (the word “conventional” used with the word pretty), but beautiful girls are each beautiful in a way that isn’t dependent on external standards.

  38. Nikki Mancini

    I really liked this post, and agree with it’s message. There is nothing more beautiful then self-love and confidence, and more women need to believe in themselves and others will follow. It also strikes me as sad that so many women can only feel beautiful when they hear that they are from a man, beauty is about loving and accepting yourself and all of your faults and taking pride in yourself as a person. There is so much more to a person then their physicality, and women need to learn to respect and love themselves before they can truly be with someone. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, and no one should ever feel as if they don’t measure up to society’s impossible image of beauty.

  39. I really wish more women out there would see this post. If women on average had more confidence with themselves it would drastically change society over a period of time.The way society looks at women reflects how women see themselves. Sure, there are days where we all feel down or low on our self esteem, but in the end who’s quality of life is on the line? Why should anything other then being happy matter. Its amazing how something so small could in return make such a huge difference in someone’s self esteem.

  40. I absolutely love this post and I feel that each woman can relate to this post. I have a similar experience about finding self worth in the eyes of people, not specifically just men. I thought the first story shows how much women find themselves beautiful when the person they are attracted to loves them for who they are. The men see past their women’s insecurity and “ugly duckling” look and truly sees their heart. And when the women recognize that the men loves their heart, she finally sees her beauty in her inner worth. When inner beauty is found, it is reflected on the outside and her personality.

    I thought the second story, the frat guys were more spiteful in their decision to go out with this girl. I don’t know why, but this story reminds me of the movie “Carrie,” where they make the girl feel beautiful, but she then realizes it was all a practical joke. I wonder how she turned out in the end when she found out the frat guys did is as a joke, I hope it didn’t make her second guess herself.

    Maya Angelou is a Phenomenal Woman, and this poem should be a woman’s declaration of finding beauty and worth in herself without the need of a man’s approval.

    • You needn’t worry about the woman in the frat boy story. These guys are often a pain but this time their prank backfired in a good way. For one thing, the men did come to find her truly beautiful. Came to see that they hadn’t known what they’d been missing.

  41. I have a very similar experience with a friend of mine in high school. My girl friend was average looking she wore her hair plain in the same way everyday always dressed in T-shirts and jeans with little accessories but she always looked pretty enough. However she was always insecure with her looks, and as many times I would tell her she looked good or fine she would always complain and never really do anything to change. It wasn’t until she started dating a very popular boy at our high school that she started putting effort in her looks. Putting on make up cutting her hair and getting highlights. She transformed into a young lady. This made me confused why is that when I told her she is pretty and validated her look and even gave her tips on her looks she did not take my advice as a close friend, but when she started dating her boyfriend all of a sudden she had to impress and changed into a completely different person. My question is…If your friend really thought she was pretty after she started dating her boyfriend why did she need his validation?She obviously didn’t care enough about her looks before her boyfriend so why did she start caring after and why now did she only start believing in her beauty. Even if she was average looking compared to our society belief If she truly knew she was beautiful she wouldn’t change after she started dating her boyfriend. Especially if he validated her before. Her beauty didn’t come from within in came from a superficial liking of someone else. Isn’t this just stating believe you are beautiful when someone with status tells you are beautiful then you will start believing it? Why not believe it first and let your beauty shine for what you think and then let other react to that? In Maya Anglos Poem Phenomenal Woman She Is pointing out attributes that she likes about her self not that others like in her. In my example and in the examples given above it is implied that these girls changed their looks to what others saw in them. If you want to be beautiful believe that you are without the need of validation from others. I think that is a more important message and that is what Maya Anglo states further into the poem.

    • The difference is likely that when you told her she was beautiful she just thought you were being nice. When her boyfriend chose her, she finally believed it.

  42. I think the take away here is that confidence is very attractive- in both men and women.

  43. Sindy Vilchez

    I’ve had this discussion with friends before we often see guys go for not conventional pretty looking girls and we wonder’s a pretty shallow conversation but as we get older and try to meet our life goals I think looks start to fade in importance and if you get along with someone they even matter less. I’ve never heard of someone transforming into a beauty after someone asks her out but I can see how that would be a confidence boost. Hopefully all woman can someday be confident enOugh to realize you don’t need that confidence boost

  44. I thought this was a good reminder for us all. Let the beauty within shine through

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