How pretty do you want to be?

When I was small, my mother told me I was beautiful, all the time.  I’ve always thought that was a terribly kind thing to do, as I think I have grown up with more confidence than my looks should really allow... which, as a woman, I consider a bonus.

I can hear the exchanges now:

13-year-old me: “Oh God. I am one big mess of pimples, cellulite and unbelievably bad perm. Clearly, I am the ugliest person ever spawned and need to hide here under the bed for the rest of my life. I am sorry about the no grandchildren ever thing.”

My mother: “Nonsense! You are incredibly beautiful! Seriously. BEAUTIFUL. And, ah... that perm will grow out.”

(There are some things even a truculent, self-obsessed teen won’t buy.)

How lovely is my Mom? Yeah, I know.

But I’ve started to wonder if it would not have been better for my Mom to have instilled a slightly more realistic vision of myself. I don’t have daughters, so I am not sure whether I would have chosen to emulate my mother’s approach, or would have tried a more down-to-earth one. (If you DO have daughters... please, tell me how you handle the looks issue.)

The truth is, now that I am grown-up, I mostly like the way I look. But then, I really believe being seriously pretty is as big a handicap as being seriously funny-looking. Best case scenario? Kinda above plain, but with a nice big, reassuring smile.

So, answer honestly.

If you could choose: would you like to be breathtakingly mag-world gorgeous?
(Cos of course there are many types of gorgeous, but only one that really sells.) Indeed – maybe you already model-like, in which case, let us know how it feels to live in your skin.

Or a bit unattractive so stupid people just leave you the hell alone? (Don’t laugh, I know quite a few people in this category.)

Or are you like me... keen to be somewhere in between?

And – this is the important bit – What should we be telling our daughters?

Click here to read some of our reader responses.

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