According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, beauty is defined as "the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit." On a technical level, there are many definitions of the term, beauty, and it means something different for everybody. What is considered beautiful in one culture, could be seen as repulsive by another. In my opinion, beauty is a feeling rather than something tangible and I think it is important that we change the way we view, perceive and appreciate the beauty that resides within us all.

beauty comes in many forms

Recently, I saw "I Feel Pretty" which is a blockbuster that came out recently which documents the journey of 30-something Renee as she navigates the ups and downs of working in the beauty industry. The film follows this young woman’s life as she takes bold leaps, conquers new feats and turns her wildest dreams into a reality. So far, it sounds like a pretty normal story where you or I could be the protagonist. Renee has dreams, aspirations, and above all, a to be pretty. This is something shared by countless women both young and old and I am ashamed of the way in which producers chose to depict the issues of beauty and self-esteem, body image, and confidence.

Renee is tired of her old life working in the basement of a cosmetics company and wants a fresh start.

She has lofty dreams and wants to be front and center at a high-end company. An average Soul Cycle class turns Renee’s world upside down when she has a minor accident, falls backward and hits her head on the ground. All of a sudden, she feels pretty. Body dysmorphic disorder is a mental illness which affects males and females ability to perceive themselves in a positive way.

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The disorder causes individuals to perceive parts of their body or their whole being as disgusting, deformed, or ugly. This is not a disorder that goes away when you hit your head. It is a slap in the face each time you look in the mirror, a puzzle piece without a proper place, and a pill without the sweetly sugared coating.

It is a debilitating illness that lingers with each step individuals take, gets laid to rest at night when their eyes flutter closed, and remains present even when others claim they are pretty. Well, what is pretty? Society paints a picture in the minds of young girls and boys that beautiful means a certain height and waistline, a particular breast size and jawline. Society takes the innocence of young minds and brainwashes them with garbage to believe that they are not tall enough, skinny enough, brave enough etcetera.

Beauty lies within us all

I am here to tell you that pretty isn’t a certain body type or bust size. Beauty lies within even if some of us are unable to see that which lies within ourselves.

One of the major flaws with this film is that it inadvertently pokes fun at a disorder that is very real and incredibly raw for a vast number of people. Feeling pretty and being pretty are two concepts which might seem simple at first but are actually incredibly complex.

While one person might feel pretty in skinny jeans and a cardigan others might not. Some people might wear a seemingly gorgeous dress that eventuates all their curves but feel as though it doesn’t make them stand out in a crowd. Beauty, much like feeling pretty is subjective and I believe we cannot judge what pretty is until we come to terms with the fact that beauty isn’t a number on a scale or a size zero dress.

True beauty is a feeling and not a tangible attribute.

According to this movie, feeling pretty means hitting your head, getting a new job, wearing designer clothes, getting the guy, and living happily ever after. Sadly, that’s not beautiful to me. That’s a satirical way to depict a pressing matter that our society faces. Beauty isn’t the issue. It’s our mindset pertaining to the way we view ourselves and others which is the problem. I am not in any way saying body dysmorphia or any other body related issue people struggle with is not prevalent or relevant. What I’m saying is this.

Beauty is not black or white, or even grey for that matter. Beauty is not a color, or a number or a body type. Feeling pretty isn’t what I think this Movies downfall is...it’s the idea of feeling worthy which I feel it doesn’t accurately depict.

You can be drop dead gorgeous, have attended an Ivy League school, and still not feel happy in your own skin. We strive for perfection...or what society deems is perfection at any given time, rather than striving for progress. Progress, or bettering ourselves, should be our real focus. Reaching attainable goals rather than fermented illusions as to what beauty is at any given period of time, is far more effective.

We will always strive for what may not be attainable yet I feel that we are figuratively and literally killing ourselves to achieve perfection. Perfection isn’t attainable because it changes as society progresses. Take a look at the ideal woman in 1920. She’ll look completely different than the beautiful women plastered on tabloids of today.

Beauty much like society is constantly changing and it is imperative that we learn to embrace the imperfections of today and embrace what others choose to scorn.

We need to stop focusing on the things that aren’t perfect and focus on the things that are. There is only one you, and I think you’re pretty perfect to me despite your physical attributes and self-proclaimed quirks. “I Feel Pretty” mocks the American Dream and our innate desire to attain the unattainable. Until we stop and realize that we all possess strengths and weaknesses and are perfect and pretty in our own way, we will never be happy. Renee didn’t need to hit her head to feel pretty. She needed to believe in herself. The major flaw in this movie is that it inherently implies that one must incur a brain injury in order to change the way they think about themselves.

This is where the movie and our society is flawed. Instead of changing ourselves why not change the way we think about ourselves.

We are all put on this earth for a reason and I think one of the greatest things we possess is our ability to impact those around us. We don’t have to be confident all the time. We don’t need to pile layers of makeup on to feel like we can conquer the world. What we need is to believe that we are capable as human beings of achieving greatness. Greatness might look different from person to person but it is something we are all capable of achieving.

For one it may mean rising to the top tier of a prestigious company. For some, it might mean rising to the next level in a tae kwon do the class.

And for others, it might mean something as simply doing their part to help put a smile on someone’s face. Whatever greatness means to you, go after that. Go out and search for what makes your soul feel good. You don’t have to feel pretty in order to be beautiful. You are beautiful simply by being you. Sharing what makes you unique is the greatest superpower you have, so flaunt it.