Woman Claims She's Judged For Being Too "Pretty"

Photographed By Aaron Wojack.
On Friday, Felicia Czochanski, a Fordham student and freelance writer, posted a personal essay entitled, "People Judge Me Because I'm Pretty." As you can imagine, the piece (which was submitted to Hearst's contributer network, The Mix, and picked up by Cosmopolitan) kind of missed the mark. And the internet responded with venom.

In the essay, Czochanski laments that being regarded as "beautiful" has negatively affected her life. "Imagine how it feels to have heads turn and all eyes on you when you are simply trying to get where you need to be," she writes. "It doesn't make me feel beautiful or sexy. It makes me feel like there's something wrong with me. The scrutiny is never ending." Czochanski goes on to explain that the "scrutiny" (which, I'm not sure is the right word to use here) makes her second-guess the way she's put together. Later on, she talks about how, as a teenager, she used to dress down in order to attract less attention for her looks.

While I take issue with a lot of Czochanski's post, this particular sentence really gave me pause. I agree with Czochanski in that no woman should be made to feel uncomfortable by catcalling or lecherous stares when she walks down the street. But to make the claim, whether it was conscious or not, that the way women dress or look directly influences unwanted attention (and that they should be responsible for controlling that), is offensive, and places the blame on the victim, not the perpetrators.

Imagine how it feels to have heads turn and all eyes on you when you are simply trying to get where you need to be...It doesn't make me feel beautiful or sexy. It makes me feel like there's something wrong with me."

Felicia Czochanski
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The point I think Czochanski is trying (and failing) to make is that women shouldn't be judged by their appearances. And I completely agree with that. But by claiming the problem only has to do with "beautiful" girls — and not looking at the bigger picture — misses the point, and also marginalizes those who don't fit into her strict definition of beauty. (That's "5-foot-5 with blonde hair, big hazel eyes, 34DDs, and toned calves," if you're wondering).

The sad part is that, in a really unfortunate turn of events, Czochanski's soliloquy resulted in people doing exactly what she hates — making snap judgments of her. The lion's share of the comments have to do with her appearance which, regardless of how you feel about her writing, is just unacceptable and downright mean.

While Czochanski goes on to claim that she doesn't want to be defined by her looks, that's exactly what she does in her first two sentences. It's not until the fourth paragraph that she mentions her intelligence, athleticism, and ambition. If you want to break free of a label, Czochanski, you have to break free of it yourself, too.
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