Why is that, that men with crooked noses, huge chins, weird hairlines, pouches and other significant attributes can revel in it, make it fun, interesting and even attractive? Women on the other hand end up just…ugly. I just read a post from Stephen Fry’s lovely blog. The accompanying headshot of Mr. Fry is a straight on shot, a close up, that hides nothing. I am sure Mr. Fry chose it very much on purpose, reveling in the ugly. No offense, Mr. Fry I am not saying you are ugly, I believe quite the opposite in fact. I find you charming, cool and supremely clever. What I am saying is that the individual bits of your face, of anyone’s face, would be considered less than perfect. Your nose is in fact crooked. Very much so indeed. On you it is charming. I am sure the photo is meant to reflect your quirkiness, your wit, your intelligence. And it does. Yet, I am very hard pressed to find a single self posted photo of a woman, regardless of stature, profession (even a comic) who would purposely show such a real, head on, unashamed image as Mr. Fry’s.
And were a woman to do, it would most certainly not be considered charming, lopsided and cute, nor reflect inner strength or intelligence.. It would simply be considered…ugly.
He was ugly, himself. Weird-ugly. But ugliness in a man doesn’t matter, much. Ugliness in a woman is her life.”
― Joyce Carol Oates, Faithless
Double standards, men and women aside, I so wish I had the fortitude, the inner belief in me, to rid myself, not of vanity, but of feeling ugly. Why is it so hard to not only accept, but embrace, or at least just be the ones we are and look the way we look? Screw embrace, I would definitely settle for just acceptance, or some kind of ignorance. I flinch every time I pass a mirror. Not out of choice, not out of self deprecation, but out of innate conviction that the reflection is not good enough and I cringe when I see what I see. I see ugly.
Intellectually I know that is bull. I can reason every which way, I can supply boatloads of theory, feminist and not, as to why that is not true. I can supply magazine story after magazine story telling me, us as girls and then women, to believe we are beautiful ‘just the way we are’. But I call bull. We are told it, but we are not meant to believe it. If we were every other single instance in our lives would not rate us on our appearance, critique us on our appearance and ridicule us for our appearance. We would not change ourselves by surgical means, botox and filler-up ourselves, and paint our faces or diet like starving hyenas if we believed a single word.
I do not believe, that unless someone is extremely strong or void of self criticism or self realisation or feelings that one can go through life as we know it content, fully happy with one’s appearance. I do not believe it is possible. I am talking about girls and women, mind you. I wish I could magically change my mindset, rid myself of all negativism. I have tried but it is so ingrained in me that it simply will not go away. We are trained, regardless of by whom or why, we just are, to critique every single bit of ourselves and to pass the bits off as flawed, never to relax and say good enough. And by say, I mean mean it, not just say it. Why can we not just look the way we look and not let it value who we are? Oh, what to do.
I am confident revelling in the crookedness, in the ugly, is not always easy for someone like Mr. Fry either, but, it an equal sort of self portrayal by women just is not done, and I believe, not welcome. It is not lustig, not attractive in its quirkiness. it would simply be considered ugly.
“I have an important message to deliver to all the cute people all over the world. If you’re out there and you’re cute, maybe you’re beautiful. I just want to tell you somethin’ — there’s more of us UGLY MOTHERFUCKERS than you are, hey-y, so watch out.”
― Frank Zappa