Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

Undesirable

Here’s something extremely personal that I have not written here before. Oh well, let me get into it without wasting more seconds.

I have never been called cute. Never. I have been called strong, mature, intelligent, friendly, outgoing but never cute. For the first time, I wish someone called me cute and this was new to me. You see, I have always shied from the word cute.

Throughout my teenage life till the age of 21, I’ve been instructed, sometimes warned to not dress girly, feminine or in any way that makes me look beautiful or cute. My conservative Muslim mother has ground into me the motto that I’ve to look neat but never cute or pretty or sexy because the latter means the opposite gender fancies you. God forbid that I look attractive to the opposite gender!  Good girls want to look pleasant and polite! Only bad girls want to look cute! I’ve only been allowed powder on my face until the age of 19. A hint of lipstick has illicit this response before, “Which boy are you trying to attract?”.

Yes, cute =/= sexy but cute also means you’re a sunshine, a bright smile, an energy boost, feminine, coy, maybe funny too, attractive and definitely fancied. I’ve never been called cute. A part of me rationalised this by thinking that it was wrong of men to objectify women or to simply trivialise women by calling them cute therefore, cute is not a badge to be worn on women’s sleeves. However, I was simply overthinking to overcompensate for being undesirable to the opposite gender.

It is a very normal, biological, natural desire to want to feel attractive. By telling me only bad girls try to look attractive, this very normal desire has been painted as something I shouldn’t be feeling, even painted as an immoral act, a sin. I would have liked a proper explanation that my hormones will make decisions instead of my brain during my teenage years, that I would want to look attractive, that it is normal to feel so and that this is a way to learn to control my nafs. Sigh.

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