Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Rent We Pay

The other day I posted this quote by Dianna Vreeland.  

"You Don't Have to Be Pretty. You don't owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don't owe it to your mother, you don't owe it to your children, you don't owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked 'female.'

Your comments helped me wrap my brains around, and put into words the things that I had been thinking. 

There is no rent for occupying the space marked 'female.'  What I was failing to realize is that we're not renters.  We're all home owners of the spaces we occupy.  Female, male and even human are spaces that we have been given.  We can't be thrown out and there are no foreclosures. 

No rent required. 

What we do with those spaces is entirely up to us.  There are no requirements.  And thinking about it that way is particularly liberating because (to carry this metaphor a little too far) there's no landlord who will get mad if you paint the walls a funny color and all of the upgrades that you want to do are totally up to you.

If we chose to make our place pretty, that's our choice. It's nice to have a pretty place but I want to make sure that the space I occupy is thoughtful, kind,inspiring, makes other people feel welcome and appreciated and happens to be full of laughter and fun too.  

I'd love it to be pretty but pretty comes WAY down on the list.


  1. Excellent post, but just FYI, the quote is by Erin Mckean not Diana Vreeland.