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I Don’t Look Like Her

Comparison in an Age of Individuality.

By Anna Thornley

Photo by Sophia Kysela

I recently had to unfollow actress, comedian, and twitter extraordinaire Rachel Sennott on Instagram. It wasn’t personal — that is, it was not a personal attack. I think she is great; she is beautiful, funny, and talented. She has a killer pout and killer style. However, with every new post of her in a movie or a bikini, I felt myself fill with an all-consuming envy. I knew I had to end our (my) parasocial relationship.

Let me give some context. I am not someone who generally feels threatened by other women. Not only from a feminist we are all unique perspective, but because it makes me feel an over the top brand of insecure.

I know I am not alone. One too many comparisons to Daphne ruined Bridgerton for my friend. It’s hurtful in the other direction too. When my other friend learned that her new boyfriend's ex was blonde, she was outraged. She worried that she was not his type; she worried that dating a brunette was a compromise. But, somehow, it stung just as much finding out her boyfriend had hooked up with girls who are also brunettes with green eyes.

Rachel Sennott is my brunette with green eyes. No, my boyfriend did not hook up with Rachel Sennott. However, one time my sister said I look like her. “I do not look like her!” was my first response, screeched in an unspeakable pitch. I really don’t, I insisted. I proceeded to deny, rage, bargain, and grieve. I flew through the first four stages of grief without reaching the final one: acceptance. If I thought she was uglier than me (she is not), the alleged likeness was offensive. If she was prettier, then I worried I was her uglier counterpart, and the comparison made this inequity all the clearer.

It should be flattering to be compared to a beautiful person. Maybe it is to some people — those who possess a well-developed and transient self-image. However, in a society that is obsessed with individuality, this kind of comparison conflicts with the unique, one-of-a-kind beauty that we are supposed to chase. This unique one-of-a-kind beauty, of course, must exist within certain confines. Beauty must be white, wealthy, and thin. Beauty must bend with the time: buccal fat out and lip filler in, BBL thick to medically thin, even cheugy to alt. Above all, it must be effortless. We want a beauty that is both widely accepted and undeniably peerless. And that does not exist.

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