Greater Than Skin Deep

Maggie's picture

This entry was written by Mara Johannes-Graham about her topic for the "Greater Together" video.

Women’s History Month is an annual event that celebrates women’s accomplishments and promotes global gender equality. 

When I was young, I was gifted with a high IQ, athletic ability, and the desire for adventure and discovery. However, what was the most consistent trait that other people talked about?

"Oh, you're so pretty, you should be a model!”
"Aren't you pretty? You should wear a dress. It'll make you stand out even more."

Historically, women’s worth has been determined by their outer beauty.

As a result, throughout my life, I have fought to unlearn this ingrained mindset. The idea that I should spend more time doing my hair and makeup than studying for a test. Not to say that maintaining a beauty regimen equates to being shallow and simple-minded. However, conventional "female rituals" are such a habit that they take up excessive time without even realizing what is happening.

Not only do I have to fight this mindset in order to focus on what truly matters to me, I also have to deal with the consequences—I am still judged first and foremost by my looks instead of my intelligence.

I continually encourage effective action for advancing and recognizing women, to value women’s intellect, contributions, and character rather than a pretty face or shapely figure.