Pat Archbold at the National Catholic Register writes on the Death of Pretty:
This post is intended as a lament of sorts, a lament for something in the culture that is dying and may never been seen again.
Pretty, pretty is dying.
People will define pretty differently. For the purposes of this piece, I define pretty as a mutually enriching balanced combination of beauty and projected innocence.
Once upon a time, women wanted to project an innocence. I am not idealizing another age and I have no illusions about the virtues of our grandparents, concupiscence being what it is. But some things were different in the back then. First and foremost, many beautiful women, whatever the state of their souls, still wished to project a public innocence and virtue. And that combination of beauty and innocence is what I define as pretty.
By nature, generally when men see this combination in women it brings out their better qualities, their best in fact. That special combination of beauty and innocence, the pretty inspires men to protect and defend it.
Young women today do not seem to aspire to pretty, they prefer to be regarded as hot. Hotness is something altogether different. When women want to be hot instead of pretty, they must view themselves in a certain way and consequently men view them differently as well.
As I said, pretty inspires men’s nobler instincts to protect and defend. Pretty is cherished. Hotness, on the other hand, is a commodity. Its value is temporary and must be used. It is a consumable.
Nowhere is this pretty deficit more obvious than in our “stars,” the people we elevate as the “ideal.” The stars of the fifties surely suffered from the same sin as do stars of today. Stars of the fifties weren’t ideal but they pursued a public ideal different from today.
The merits of hotness over pretty is easy enough to understand, they made an entire musical about it. Who can forget how pretty Olivia Newton John was at the beginning of Grease. Beautiful and innocent. But her desire to be desired leads her to throw away all that is valuable in herself in the vain hopes of getting the attention of a boy. In the process, she destroys her innocence and thus destroys the pretty. What we are left with is hotness.
Hotness is a consumable. A consumable that consumes as it is consumed but brings no warmth.
Most girls don’t want to be pretty anymore even if they understand what it is. It is ironic that 40 years of women’s liberation has succeeded only in turning women into a commodity. Something to be used up and thrown out.
Pat nails it in his article. Girls have turned themselves into a “commodity,” into, “A consumable that consumes as it is consumed but brings no warmth.”
This is the pivot point of a civilization in decline. Contraception and abortion are the bulwarks which buttress and facilitate a girl’s ability to persist in the lifestyle that comes with hotness, with wanting to be desirable and desired, “A consumable that consumes as it is consumed but brings no warmth.”
Whereas hotness is aggressive, pretty waits. Pretty invites a man in, and then it makes demands of the man. As Pat notes, “…the pretty inspires men to protect and defend it.” Therein lies the great practical value in women holding their dignity, making themselves known to the men they find attractive in a dignified manner, and then waiting to be recognized and approached by the man.
When a girl retains and lives pretty, while eschewing hotness, the bulk of men who cannot appreciate the virtue behind pretty will move on to more fruitful hunting grounds in the pursuit of immediate gratification. Pretty requires too much energy to overcome. While there are some who relish the challenge of destroying innocence, pretty attracts the noble, the good, like a magnet.
It’s self-selective for its complement in men.
With CDC reporting 1 in 4 American girls contracting a sexually transmitted disease before the age of 19 (48% among African Americans), with 35% of all throat cancers being caused by human papilloma virus, new HIV infections increasing steadily, all STD’s (with three temporary exceptions) rising steadily since the 1960’s, some 80% of STD’s occurring in those under 25, with a 540% increased risk of the most deadly form of breast cancer for women who begin oral contraceptives prior to age 18, something needs to give.
Hot is deadly.