Life’s been better since I decided I was pretty

It really has been that simple. A few months ago, I’m not sure exactly when, I decided that I am pretty. It wasn’t a conscious thing, I only became aware of this decision in hindsight, but the choice to see myself as beautiful rather than searching for the validation from others has definitely changed my life for the better.

I’m a bigger girl. Well, that’s not entirely true. I’m more or less the average size of a woman in Australia. But when you consider your usual media-perpetuated ideals of traditional prettiness, I am definitely not it. I have broader shoulders and bigger breasts and the occasional break out of bad skin. I carry some fat on my stomach, I have hips and an ass and there hasn’t been a gap between my things since I was 10 years old. I tie my hair up in summer and I don’t wear make-up on weekends. I wear glasses because I’m blind without them and in winter I can get pretty lax about shaving my legs.

But screw that. I’m pretty. Or maybe pretty isn’t the right word. I decided that I am attractive. Beautiful. Maybe a little bit sexy. I have great hair and lovely eyes and a nice smile, and what’s more, I’m really damn intelligent and generally a good person and I refuse to spend the rest of my life thinking less of myself because off a number on a scale or the size on a tag.

I’m healthy, and I’m more or less happy, and above all of that, I’m worth more than how I look. And if I lose weight or wear make-up or dress a certain way, it’ll be for me, not for anyone else.

I still have days when I feel frumpy or want to do nothing but laze around in sweatpants and eat tater tots, but that’s okay, because have far more days where I wear vintage dresses and sky high heels or knitted sweaters and my favourite Levis and feel like a bombshell. There are nights when I have candlelit bubble baths and wear tshirts and pyjama shorts and eat brownies and feel  fantastic about it.

I’m learning to love who I am, to be comfortable in my own skin, and sometimes it doesn’t all work out in my favour, but I can say without doubt that I am a happier person than I was before I decided that I don’t need anyone else to tell me I’m pretty.

I’m goddamn gorgeous. Screw anyone who says otherwise.

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DC Comics in bad taste

It’s Suicide Prevention Week, and to help raise awareness of those most at risk, DC Comics launched a competition offering young artists a break into the industry by drawing a naked Harley Quinn committing suicide.

Wait, you say. That can’t be right.

But it is. In a spectacular display of ignorance, insensitivity and, frankly, idiocy, DC Comics has asked fledgling comic artists to not only draw a character killing themselves, but to sensationalise and sexualise the act of suicide.

The comic industry is notoriously hostile towards women, and isn’t known for treating their female characters – or their female fans- with respect (see The Hawkeye Initiative, entertaining and eye-opening). Women who enjoy comics often have to deal with ridiculously contorted, completely unrealistic representation of women in hyper-sexualised and utterly non-functional costumes, presented as little more than decoration for the titillation of male readers.

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(Harley Quinn as she currently appears in The New 52 line, issue #1 The Suicide Squad, and wow, DC, when you screw up you really screw up don’t you? also boobs do not work that way)

There was some hope for minority characters in comics when DC’s Batwoman was made canonically gay, but DC undermined their attempts at representation by forbidding the editorial team to have Batwoman marry her partner, a decision that led two writers to resign from the comic. DC sites ‘editorial differences’. I suspect this is code for ‘bigotry and unwillingness to challenge the status quo’. This little scandal already had DC in hot water.

But this – this is an all new low. Not only is the female character being needlessly sexualised, suicide is. Female characters are often subjected to eroticised violence and sensationalised deaths, but this is crossing a line, and the grown-ass adults working at DC should know better. From the people who write some of the world’s most beloved superheroes, this is a decidedly evil, indecent and offensive move.

DC needs to take a good, hard look at their company, their image and the messages they want to send. Suicide is not something to be exploited for a comic competition. It is not something to be sexualised or eroticised. It is not something to be used to generate interest or stir controversy. It is not glamourised or fetishised. It is a serious issue to be treated with sensitivity, responsibility and common decency. And DC failed on all three counts.