We live in a culture that worships beauty, constantly bombarded with images and messages, both overt and subliminal, that appearances are everything. Women especially line up to spend billions (yes... BILLIONS) of dollars each year on products that they have been led to think will make them more beautiful, attractive, desirable... and therefore, more valuable.
It sucks. The gold standard that is pinned in the backs of our brains by lingerie, and makeup, and even car commercials is one that seems so utterly unattainable. It leaves us striving and spending and sometimes wallowing in self-doubt.
There's so much more to who a person is than their appearance. There's only so much a person can do to enhance what DNA has given them. Being pretty really comes down to genetics (and maybe some cosmetic enhancement... and even that only goes so far). There's no real personal achievement in being pretty. What kind of compliment praises physical attractiveness as if it is some sort of rare accomplishment?
Shallow praise for shallow traits.
There are compliments that bear more weight, compliments that address real achievement and real value in a person.
But I still want to hear that I'm pretty...
Pretty smart, pretty strong, pretty talented, pretty kind and compassionate.
Tell me I'm pretty well-read, pretty articulate, pretty funny.
Say I'm pretty brave, pretty exciting, pretty interesting.
I want to hear that I'm pretty confident, pretty open-minded, a pretty good listener and friend.
Pretty witty, pretty hard-working, pretty generous, pretty daring and pretty ambitious.
I want to be seen as more than just pretty... I want to be pretty amazing.