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Why is everyone at Miami so pretty?

It’s no secret — Miami University has some very hot students.

Miami is ranked #3 on College Magazine’s “Top 10 Colleges with the Hottest Girls” list. We made #14 on Business Insider’s selection of “25 Colleges Where Students are Both Hot and Smart,” too, citing the fact that our campus nickname is “J. Crew U” and Miami students are stereotypically considered to be both handsome and well-dressed. 

According to Bloomberg.com, in a joint ranking of the U.S.’s hottest schools with College Prowler, only “eight schools received A+ grades for either guys or girls, and two — Miami University and Villanova — won top honors for both.”

Long story short, we’ve got a reputation for being rich, preppy, and cute to boot.

For students who don’t fit into that stereotype, life can be a little rough here. There’s something about accepting admission into a college, only to find out that its student body is considered to be one of the prettiest in the nation, and looking into that bathroom mirror, wondering if you’ll be enough.

That was the case for me. This is not a cry for attention — I won’t deny that I think I’m pretty, and I know my friends and partner would agree. But I’ve never been the kind of person that gets stared at in a public space, the person whose Instagram beach posts rack up thousands of likes, the person that feels comfortable flexing in a gym mirror.

Beauty standards are real, and boy, they are harsh.

Even sometimes today, I’ll look at my round face in the mirror and wish that it was more angular, that my cheekbones and jawline were more defined. I’ll eye the skinny jeans I can’t fit into anymore thanks to last year’s “First-Year Fifteen” and begrudgingly go online to order new ones. 

I’ll try to cover the dark purple eye-bags under my eyes with concealer, knowing that they’ll peek through anyway, the product of far too little sleep. I’ll roll my eyes at the freckles that have begun to appear all over my face with the recent coming of a springtime sun.

I love my hair, which is curly on a good day and frizzy on the rest, but I distinctly remember some words of a friend of mine from last year. She was going through the sorority recruitment process, and after a particularly long Saturday of meeting sorority members and talking to organizations, she came back to our residence hall, knocked on my door, and said, “Have you ever noticed that almost all the sorority girls on campus have straight hair? I was the only curly-haired girl in my group today.” 

(And that’s not a dig at sororities, but something I’ve noticed all across campus in general, too. Even I’ve straightened my hair before a night at Brick in the past, because here, straight hair is the “pretty” stereotype. (Or hair-eotype.)

I’m not skinny. I’m not muscular. I’m not tan or well-rested and my hair is certainly not straight.

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But that does not mean that I’m not pretty.

It does mean, though, that I’ll stare at people in my classes, wondering how in the world they got their hair to be so shiny or how many hours of exercise a week they have to do in order to keep their physique so trim. I’ll feel inferior, even though everyone on campus serves their own kind of beauty, and we shouldn’t consider the Miami stereotype to be the only kind of beautiful.

Honestly, I think we deserve those rankings by College Magazine, Business Insider and Bloomberg.com. Miami students are hot. I see it every day, on Zoom calls and High Street, in Academic Quad and on Miami social media. 

It’s not a lie that we’re all gorgeous here.

The issue, though, lies in representation. Because as a not-skinny, not-muscular, not-tan person who came into Miami in the fall of 2019, a quick Google search of Miami students would really only show the slender blonde girls with straight hair and the muscular guys who looked like they stepped straight out of the pages of GQ Magazine. Sure, these people are incredibly handsome, but I don’t look like that. And I know plenty of students who don’t, either.

Seeing my frizzy, curly hair on an Instagram post with thousands of likes would have helped my self-image considerably. And don’t even get me started on how students of color are severely underrepresented among the self-proclaimed “hot people” of Miami, too. That’s an article for another day.

In short, we’re a hot school. We should own it.

But we should own it together. Curly hair and all.

radwanat@miamioh.edu

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