But You Have Such a Pretty Face

I can’t believe it, but the following expression popped out of my mouth today at work: “You look really cute today!”

Meant as a compliment, this phrase is just all wrong. It implies that while you look cute today, you don’t necessarily look even okay-ish on other days. I immediately apologized, but it reminded me of how many times I have heard (and LOATHED) the backhanded compliment, “But you have such a pretty face!”

I’ll own up to it; my face is pretty pretty, but if there is one thing that I find more offensive than that sentence, I’m not sure what it is (and if I did figure it out, I doubt it would be blog-appropriate).

A veritable litany of alternate meanings are hiding under these 7 words:

  • But you have such a pretty face (not to mention your huge ass!)
  • (Your body is so ugly,) But you have such a pretty face!
  • But you have such a pretty face (even though the rest of you makes me want to puke!)
  • (I’m staring at you hoping that never happens to me,) But (at least) you have such a pretty face!
  • (I can’t believe it,) But (in spite of all your fat) you have such a pretty face!

I could go on.

I don’t often get up on my soapbox, but I’m tired of being the fat girl with the pretty face. I know I can’t change the way society views me (and other beautiful ladies like me), but I can change my own perceptions. So often, it’s too easy to accept that the opinions of others really define us. I am done with living in shame and going out of my way so as not to offend the delicate sensibilities of those who might see my big, fat body.

I am beautiful and intelligent, not in spite of my fatness, but right along with it. This is my body. I am working to make that body more healthy and have a better quality of life, but think about this for a second: my body (and your body!) is amazing.


I couldn’t resist a cheesy selfie.

In spite of the horrible treatment I have put this body through, it still works to carry me around.

In spite of the binge drinking and the binge eating of fast food and pizza and chips, my body is not diabetic. It has a near-perfect blood pressure in the 118/75 range, and it is surprisingly bendy.

This body is dexterous. Did you know that I have a B.A. in Music?

This body hardly has any body hair, though it does have a propensity for sweating.

It is far past the time where I give something back to my body for all it has done for me. I am giving my body the gift of whole, fresh, and healthful foods, and I am working to make it stronger. I won’t always have a pretty face (I can dream, can’t I?), but if I don’t start giving back to my body, it is eventually going to give up on me.

What awesome things has your body has done for you??

4 thoughts on “But You Have Such a Pretty Face

  1. A change in perspective is a wonderful idea! I think we all feel pressured to live up to often unrealistic body expectations. I vote throw the silliness out the window and just find what YOU need to feel great about yourself, and where your body needs to be to be healthy and happy. *pompoms* As for me? At the moment my body is overcoming a concussion, which is fantastic in my books. 🙂


  2. Sometimes it’s the little things.

    Take “but” out and you have the compliment “you have a pretty face”. On its own it is a sweet compliment. And, you do!

    Saying “you look PARTICULARLY cute todday” implies that you always do, and today is special.

    You are doing great things for yourself. Those things build on the fact that you start with a pretty face.

    One last thing

    You get to choose how you take a compliment. If you take it as sincere and not backhanded, you win. Ultimately it is about your own self image. Believe you are pretty. Believe you are hot. Believe that you are smart and kind and health conscious….and you are!

    Liked by 1 person

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