Tag Archives: ugly acceptance

Ugly Acceptance Part II

31 Aug

See, I knew I would come to regret writing and posting a giant rant at one o’clock in the morning. Because now, reading back, and reading your awesome comments, I realize that there are a few things that I want to add, or explain.

First of all, my main point is that appearance-based compliments and insults are our go-to when it comes to women. I remember going through a really tough time in my early twenties and, when I went to the doctor to tell him how sad and hopeless I felt, he said, but you’ve got everything going for you – you’re young, attractive, and you’ve got your whole life ahead of you.

Er, what? How was that even a response to the problems that I was trying to fix?

When we want to make a woman feel good, we often tell her how pretty she is, how nice her hair is, or how well she’s dressed. And I don’t think that these things are bad in and of themselves, but I do think that this is indicative of how our society continues to view women. We consider a woman’s appearance to be her most important asset, plain and simple.

My friend L over at Life In Pint-Sized Form also posted about Ugly Acceptance, and I think she made a lot of really wonderful and succinct points. My favourite is this one:

” … the Ugly Acceptance movement … isn’t about accepting that you, personally, are ugly. It’s about accepting that beauty doesn’t fit into glossy little boxes with bows on the top.”

Yes, exactly. I’m not trying to say that you are ugly, what I’m saying is that all women, even incredibly beautiful celebrities, feel ugly sometimes. No woman can ever fully achieve the incredibly high standards for beauty that our society sets. And the thing is, I am tired of feeling like that is something that I need to achieve.

To go back to my original story about my trip to the doctor, imagine that same story but with a depressed young man in place of a young woman. Would that doctor ever try to comfort a sad, hopeless man by telling him that he was beautiful? Not bloody likely.

The next time you want to give someone a little pick-me-up, want to say something that will make them feel better, try to stay away from compliments about their appearance. Or, if you do really want to remind them that they’re pretty, add that they are also smart, and funny, and valuable to you as a friend. Praise their accomplishments and positive personality traits instead of their looks. Admire the things about them that they have control over, that they have done for themselves, instead of resorting to the old standard, but you’re bee-yoo-tee-ful.

For once, try to look beneath the surface, and see straight into that person’s heart (use your x-ray goggles for this). Chances are it’s beautiful, too.

See? So pretty.

See? So pretty.

The Ugly Acceptance Movement (or, a term I sort of just made up right now)

31 Aug

My sister and I went to see The Dark Knight Rises last night, and it was fine and all (especially Christian Bale), but there was something about it that really irritated me. It’s something that bothers me just about any time I go to see a movie, or watch a television show, or whatever: there were no ugly women.

This was a movie full of many dudes, some of whom were extremely attractive (again, Christian Bale, I am looking at you) and some of whom were what I would describe as “not conventionally attractive”. There were two women in the movie. Both were thin and polished and beautiful. Of course.

I am so fucking sick of all of these movies where men are allowed to be schlubby, or hook-nosed, or Steve Buscemi and still end up with a smoking-hot girl at the end. I am so fucking sick of movies where a girl is ugly because she wears glasses, or has braces, or favours big baggy sweaters – and then she takes off her glasses and blammo, she’s Rachael Fucking Leigh Cook.

I just want to turn on my television and see someone who looks like me. Someone with bad skin and squinty eyes and a big nose. I want to be able to go outside without feeling like I have to put on a layer of makeup before I can pass as presentable. I want to not feel like a disgusting monster approximately 43% of the time.

There have been times in my life when I would have been willing to trade any and all of my many sterling qualities for a pretty face. That’s gross, and it makes me feel gross to type it out, but it’s true.

Have you ever noticed how many men think that the gravest insult they can sling at a girl is to call her ugly? Anytime they want to make it clear how great their distain is for a woman, her life, and her entire body of work, they call her ugly. Anytime they want to dismiss a woman, her thoughts and feelings and smarts, they call her ugly. When they want to mock or insult another man, they call the object of his affections ugly.

I am fucking sick of it, do you hear me? I am sick of ugly being this horrible, shameful thing to be called. I am sick of appearance-based insults being the very worst thing that people can think of.

I am not writing this because I want you to believe that everyone is beautiful, or because I’m fishing for compliments, or whatever. What I want you to realize is that ugly is normal. Ugly is what the majority of people look like without makeup or airbrushing or clever lighting. Ugly just means that you don’t conform with society’s rigid beauty standards.

So here’s my homework for you: go watch some Coronation Street. Check out how many ugly women are on that show. Notice that their lives really aren’t that different from their more attractive counterparts, and also note their hot boyfriends, and not-hot boyfriends. Notice that you are watching television and you are actually seeing people who maybe look like you. Oh, and if you need someone to catch you up on the last twenty years or so of the show, give my mom a call and I’m sure she’ll be happy to oblige.

I guess what I’m really saying here is, fuck society’s boring, homogeneous ideas of what beauty is. Maybe I’m ugly, and maybe it’s fine. So who’s going to help me write the Ugly Woman’s Manifesto?

Oh and the first person to leave a comment telling me that I’m pretty gets a knee to the groin.

Hollywood’s idea of “ugly” – quick, avert your eyes before Medusa here turns you to stone