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Thu Aug 2, 2012, 05:18 PM

The Upside of Ugly

http://www.thenation.com/blog/169208/upside-ugly



Nadia Ilse, a bullied 14-year-old, recently received $40,000 in free cosmetic surgery from the Little Baby Face Foundation, an organization that helps children with facial deformities. It sounds like a quite a nice story until you hear what Ilse’s “deformity” was: Her ears stuck out a bit.

The Georgia teen’s supposedly corrective surgery included having her ears pinned back, a nose job and a chin reshaping. This is our culture now: teen girls thinking that the slightest perceived imperfection—any deviation from what they see in magazines—is tantamount to deformity and in need of surgical correction.

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If our end goal for girls is simply to have them feel “confident”—especially about their looks—then we create a trap where anything that makes a girl feel better about her appearance, no matter how harmful, is a reasonable solution. (How many times has plastic surgery been preceded by a “I’m doing it for me!” explanation?)

There may be a bit of head-shaking over young girls going to drastic measures to feel beautiful, but we never seem to question the idea that feeling beautiful is a worthy goal in the first place. We should tell girls the truth: “Beautiful” is bullshit, a standard created to make women into good consumers, too busy wallowing in self-loathing to notice that we’re second class citizens.

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She is of course using mainstream society's definitions of "beautiful" and "ugly"... I agree with her that as far as those go we would do well to stop catering to them... and to stop only paying lip service to the truth - that true beauty (and ugliness) come from within.

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 05:34 PM

1. She was a fine looking girl before. The bullies are the ones who need the 'adjustment'.

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 05:51 PM

2. not a lot of change. none of it big deal. that is not why she was being bullied

the parents and everyone else need to figure out why the bullying. there is just not much of change for it to be that huge.

there would have been so many different options i would have looked at before a simple three surgeries.

so sad.

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Response to redqueen (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 09:22 PM

3. "Beauty," at least for faces, is a matter of statistical averages.

I can't find an online copy of the original study, but it is experimental fact that everyone rates a face composed of 128 overlaid images as much more beautiful that a composite from only 16. That is thought to reflect an inborn image of an "average" human face that infants use to recognize members of their own species.

The problem is that with plastic surgery being so common, ever smaller deviations from the statistical mean get stigmatized. Few would regard repairng major damage after an accident of some sort to be vanity. But how far do you have to deviate from average before you are expected to "do something about it" or face public persecution? Nadia's experience unfortunately suggests "not very far."

http://lynaynle.wordpress.com/2011/03/16/koinophilia/

Koinophilia

Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder;
it’s in the eyes of a hundred beholders.
Helen’s face did not launch a thousand ships,
but the thousand faces of Helen can launch any ship.
Beauty is a regression to the mean,
the line that cuts a bell curve into symmetrical halves.

Koinophilia,
the true answer given by the magic mirror
when it was asked, “Who is the fairest of them all?”
To behold Helen, to dream of Snow White,
use your mouse.

Drag a thousand noses, eyes, chins, and cheeks
across the computer screen,
and stack them in virtual layers,
then click on the merge icon.
There before you is the statistical average,
a face of uncommon beauty.

Beauty is the algorithm of the mundane.
If beauty is truth, then truth is as common
as the collective mother smiling down
lovingly at her collective infant’s face.

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