February Letter From the Editor: Perceptions of Pretty

Updated 02/01/18

Words have weight, and as editors, writers, and women, we know this better than anyone. This month, instead of date-night beauty tips or traditional Valentine's Day beauty roundups (though we'll still share plenty of exciting new product launches because #treatyourself), we're switching gears and focusing on a word that tends to start getting used a lot this time of year: pretty.

Did you shudder or cringe just now? Because almost all of team Byrdie did when the word was brought up in a recent edit meeting. There was muttering, there was groaning—someone spewed out an ew. Clearly, this seemingly innocent word has more power than we might care to admit. But is it problematic? And if so, should we blacklist it or instead take back its power?

This month, we're doing a deep dive into the history, etymology, and current-day perceptions of the word pretty. From roundtables with the likes of Maye Musk to a breathtaking shoot in honor of Black History Month, we're getting into the nitty-gritty parts of this theoretically innocuous word.

And because it is Valentine's Day and, try as we might, the candy hearts seem to multiply exponentially on their own, we'll be taking a magnifying glass and examining why we're drawn to the things (and people) we are in a series called The Science of Attraction. (Heads up: There's a piece about pheremones in the age of Bumble that explains so, so much.)

I hope you're as excited as we are to get into the nitty-gritty of pretty.

Watch the video above for a more detailed breakdown of what to expect this February.

—Faith Xue

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