On Being Pretty

Recently I’ve been on a kpop  kick music wise, especially the more dancy kind of kpop girl groups who also rap. There are two girl groups that I especially like,  f(x) and 2NE1. They’re both pretty dancy and rap quite a bit, unlike cutsey style girl groups like Girls’ Generation or Wonder Girls. I realized that my favorite song from f(x) is called Pretty Girl and my favorite song from 2NE1 is called Pretty Boy.

The song Pretty Girl is about how a girl, who is not as pretty as the prettiest girl who everyone likes, uses her magic power to put a pretty face on everybody, thus depriving the pretty girl’s privilege of being pretty and getting all the attention.

The song Pretty Boy is about a boy who has only a pretty face but not so much other nice qualities.

Both songs kind of look down on being pretty, or, at least, a person who looks pretty and lacks other qualities such as being kind, smart, or has a “nice personality”. Funny thing is, all the girls in these groups are very pretty. I’m not sure if they’re born pretty but they’re definitely packaged by entertainment companies to be very pretty, prettier than any girl you just stumbles upon on the street.

This is how pretty f(x) is.


This is how pretty 2NE1 is:


Working in the visual media industry, I’m very aware that much of our sense of aesthetics is formed and directed by mass media. But everyone wants to look good and that’s why beauty and cosmetics is a billion dollar industry. However, no matter what kind of products regular people buy, they are never ever ever going to look like the celebrities who are representing the brands. Behind every image and video clip thrown in front of your eyes is a group of talented stylists, photographers, videographers, marketing strategists and touch up artists  who know how to create a dream for you and make you take out that cash from your wallet.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t look pretty. You can look absolutely fabulous,  you just have to genuinely accept how you look, and create a look for yourself. The minute a person starts to put a little thought behind who they really are and style themselves according to their own features, they start to break the spells of the media and brainwashing of companies.

I was born with too dark of a complexion for a standard Asian “pretty look.” My friends and relatives used to tease me and said my skin is so dark because I drank too much soy sauce (lol). Here’s me and the standard asian pretty girl, Zi Yi Zhang.

Me and Zi Yi Zhang

Even after moving to the U.S where there are people of all colors, I was still frustrated by not looking like a “pretty asian girl”. But maybe because of my laziness and frugality, I never bought products to lighten my skin color like a lot of asian girls do. Now I’ve totally given up on looking like those girls. First of all, I don’t want to spend money and time doing something that will never work. Besides, I finally  realized that God already gave me a set of pretty good, healthy features and most importantly, a creative mind that appreciates what I already have and can make a style of my own.

Plus, there’s a variety of tastes and beauty standards in people. People who like Kim Kardashian will probably not like my look. But people who like my look might not like her. Even if I’m underestimating the power of the Kardashian makeup, hair, boobs and hips, I fundamentally don’t care about the people who like that kind of look. I’ve got a niche audience instead of a general appeal (lol).


On the days when I’m totally happy with my look, I feel pretty. And that’s the most important thing that no magazines, websites or companies can ever sell people.

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