Phenomenal Woman, That’s You

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I’ve received a couple of heartbreaking emails, and I’m pissed. Guys are telling women they’re ugly, usually after their sexual advances have been rejected.

One attractive young woman said that although she has always felt comfortable and even positive about her own looks, it has been made very clear to her recently that she is a “butterface” and will never find someone. She is devastated.

Another woman wrote about the guy who casually referred to her as a “7” and then proceeded to claim it was a compliment. When she indignantly told her BFF about it, the girl said she was envious, because she knows she’s a 5 on a good day.

WTF. Don’t listen to this sh*t. There’s no universal scale that can possibly account for all tastes.

It is never appropriate to offer unsolicited feedback to someone regarding their physical appearance.

If it’s not for you, walk on by. The most powerful thing any of us can do is vote with our feet. Unless someone is putting a gun to your head to force you to mate with someone you find repulsive, step off.


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Both sexes already bend under the weight of beauty standards defined in popular culture. Young people strive to resemble models and celebrities, commonly resorting to surgery to achieve an unrealistic, unnatural appearance.

Yet there’s an epidemic of online and real-life shaming happening, often by men striking out after their advances are rejected. One professional misogynist recently went on TV claiming he was concerned about women’s health, only to trip up and reveal his true motive by saying there aren’t enough thin, beautiful women left for him to date. (As if the man had anything to offer.)

Fortunately, an incident went viral last week that shows us how to respond. Blogger and marketing director Christina Topacio feels comfortable and sexy in her skin:

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She’s clearly confident and living the good life. Here are messages she received from a man she has never met:

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This flat-brimmed douche, named Bruno, has shared his advice elsewhere as well – after being rejected, naturally. Topacio had a brilliant reply:

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Guess what? 90% of us aren’t in the top 10%. Yet most of us will marry for love. Don’t let anyone kill your joy or take away your self-respect.

Do looks matter? Sure. We owe it to ourselves to do the best we can with our health, grooming and presentation so that we maximize our options. But this is no one’s business but ours – to the extent we don’t achieve our potential, only we pay the price.

You do not owe men anything. Not long hair, not a thigh gap, not a made up face, not stiletto heels. Not attraction. Not sex.

An attractive man with something to offer women will never feel the need to diss us. He can take a pass, no hard feelings. We’re all trying to do and get the best we can. No apologies.

For the record, I truly believe that 90+% of guys would never behave this way. But technology makes it possible for the most obnoxious males to have their say. The best thing any of us can do is shut that down. Ignore it.

In closing, I want to share a poem by Maya Angelou with you. Back in my acting days, I performed this on stage as a monologue. It made me feel fantastic – the more I performed it, the more true it became.

Phenomenal Woman


Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.


I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It’s the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.


Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can’t touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them,
They say they still can’t see.
I say,
It’s in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.


Now you understand
Just why my head’s not bowed.
I don’t shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing,
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It’s in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need for my care.
’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.
As someone who has generally punched above her weight, I can vouch for the power of this attitude. Read it. Then read it again. Then try saying it out loud. Make this your mantra!


/rant over

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