It has become customary to comment on the beauty of any person who is not beautiful in the traditional sense. Especially if that person is female. Fat women, older women, women with flabby arms or cottage cheese thighs. Little girls with congenital defects like Treacher Collins syndrome, or progeria are called beautiful as if that word had the power to erase the reality of their conditions.

But why does a child fighting for her life need to be told that she is beautiful? This is not common when talking about boys with the same illnesses. They are more often referred to as “strong” and “brave.”

The need to continually say that women and girls are beautiful is a result of measuring a woman’s worth by her physical attractiveness. Not everyone is beautiful, but it shouldn’t matter! The “everyone is beautiful” movement is not positive or revolutionary: it buys into the incorrect idea that beauty is an inherently good trait that one should aspire to.

There’s no sense in lying to ourselves to maintain a useless metric of worth. Why not be honest and find a better one, like kindness or intelligence? Then at least if we spend our lives working to raise our value in society, we might accomplish something useful. More useful than spending hundreds of thousands on beauty supplies, fad diets, fashion and plastic surgery, anyway.

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