Why The Term 'Beautiful' Is A Genderless Descriptor For This Generation

by Caitlin Jill Anders

There many words and phrases to describe how we feel about someone’s appearance.

A person can be cute, pretty, adorable, sexy, hot, stunning, f*ckable, bangable, a cutie with a booty, a hottie with a body, an ace with a face, etc.

All of these are descriptors generally mean we fancy how someone looks, and we would be okay with kissing the person's face sometime.

There are certain words we reserve for women, like pretty, and there are ones we use only for men, like handsome. It’s not a rule. It’s just sort of how it happens.

And then, there's "beautiful."

Beautiful, of course, can be used to describe someone’s appearance, and it often is.

But beautiful has always struck me as so much more than that. Words are just words, but all of those other words have become so much about appearances.

To me, being called beautiful is more meaningful than being described as all of those other words. It may sound silly, but being called beautiful feels like it truly means something. It's not something you can attribute just to a face.

To me, beautiful does not mean pretty, hot, sexy or cute.

Beautiful is a completely other category. Beautiful is about the person you are, not just what you look like. Beautiful is for humans.

"You are all beautiful!" shout body-positive campaigns to young women across the globe.

But can men be beautiful, too? Absolutely.

You can always tell the difference in the way someone sees you. You can tell if someone is really looking at the beauty that is you as a raw, honest human being. When you’re naked and sitting on top of someone, you’re probably pretty sexy, and that's okay.

But later, when you’re next to the person, and he's tracing his fingers across your body, trying to find the blemishes and imperfections, there’s a shift.

He traces the scars on your thighs and tells you they look like constellations, rather than signs you were once broken. He laughs when you’re trying to be sexy because your quirks come out when you’re trying too hard.

He listens to you talk about how you get sad sometimes, about how much you love poetry and about how weird you think bodies are. He lets you roll around and be silly.

Those are the moments. Those are the things that make you beautiful. Those are the things inside your heart.

And those things that make you tick are the reasons he giggles and says, “You’re so beautiful.”

No one is just sex appeal. There's a soul inside of there, and beautiful is bringing that out.

When you buy an ice cream cone from a truck instead of dinner just because it’s nice out, that’s beautiful. When you’re texting someone on your progress with "The Hobbit" because you just love literature, that’s beautiful. When you say something weird without thinking because you’re just being yourself, that’s beautiful.

This is why men can be beautiful, too. Women and men are beautiful because we're all human beings, and that is incredible.

Ladies, despite how we may feel sometimes, men are people, too. They’re human beings, just like us. Therefore, they can be so, so beautiful. And even though men can seem like strange aliens to women, they are very human.

There are moments when you see it. If we all take the time, we can see it in each other. When you’re feeling his arms, and you notice the stretch marks splayed out just below his shoulders, you see stories from another time in his life.

When he tries not to look at you as he sings, his fingers hitting the guitar and his voice soaring, he is unwavering as long as he does not look you directly in the eyes.

When you know exactly what to say to make him laugh, you hear the giggle he’s probably had since he was 3.

When he will not shut up about something nerdy, and he rambles on for hours, it's because it lives so concretely within his heart.

Women are beautiful. But men are, too.

He is a man, and he is so beautiful. And it's not because his hair is perfectly tousled. It's not because he’s wearing the right glasses. It's not because he looks like Ryan Gosling.

He is so beautiful because of the things he has in his mind, and the stories he keeps in his heart. This is why men are beautiful.

This is why you are beautiful, too.

His bed is pushed up against an open window, and the blinds aren’t down. You contemplate leaving them that way. You want the world to see how beautiful he is, how beautiful you are and how much beauty the two of you possess as you lie there together, talking about all the beautiful things.