Women are in a competition they never agreed to. We're all committed to mastering a sport we never chose to play.
Since elementary school I can remember being put on lists and categorized in strange sections based on my physical appearance, determining my worth solely on one factor.
I can visualize the magazines full of slim bodies, societal bullshit standards being shoved down my throat. And as a result, I remember looking in the mirror and not seeing my body, but what that model was that I was not.
I was never evaluated on my own, seen as my own person. I was and to this day am being compared to others. As a result, I'm comparing myself to others. It's exhausting, it can mentally and physically hurt.
But above all, it's made me competitive in this strange game of beauty. If another woman is beautiful, suddenly she's won a few points and I'm losing the match. It's all about making a comeback, redeeming my winning position.
So what does that say about me? That woman should be conventionally "unattractive" for me to feel secure about myself?
So I'm saying it. Stop passing me the ball. I don't want to play the game anymore. I'm hanging up my damn shoes and retiring from these sick matches.
Women can be beautiful without it taking away from my beauty.
I can no longer feed into male comparisons of me against other girls.
They take my entire being, my essence, my identity and butcher it up into little parts and pick and choose what's hot or worthy, what part of me is valid.
I'm not only my butt.
I'm a writer, a cinematographer, a traveler.
I'm not only my waist.
I tell jokes and sometimes they land. I'm a sister, a cat owner, a barista.
I drink black coffee in the morning, I have a bad back.
I'm not some prop to use to determine another girl's physical attractiveness.
So to anyone who identifies as a woman out there, if you can't unlearn this programmed behavior, it's okay. I promise you, it's okay to still view each other as 'competition'. Only if you acknowledge that it's wrong.
And if you feel hurt and insecure if you think someone is prettier than you, don't feel shallow.
You know that you're more than your appearance, but I understand the need to feel visually superior. It's what we've been taught to feel.
Remember this - competitions and games are objective.
There's a concrete set of rules to abide by. People play the same game on the same terms.
Beauty is subjective. Someone is going to find you unattractive. But for every person who thinks that there's another who finds you stunning.
We're no longer to be consumed by points or scores, and we're not playing for some audience in the rafters, listening to their shouts and cheers, echoing with the male gaze.
I'm done, and you should be too. Let's stop ranking the best players and keeping score.
Women are more than players in a game, and there's no one referee that can call the shots anymore.
Society and men can stop claiming that there's one type of acceptable beauty.
Women are in a competition they never agreed to.
We're calling the shots now.