We've seen plenty of this on various social media, right? Someone that mainstream media does not portray as being stereotypically attractive, being declared as brave and beautiful and held up as some kind of champion.
See, here's the problem with that.
A significant percentage of the world's businesses are predicated around insecurity. They feed on it, are made wealthy from it. I've previously asserted that insecurity is central to human psychology, and advertisers know it. The entire beauty industry thrives on people doubting their own appearance...
...and attaching inherent value to it.
Now we all want to look good, right? But look back at that sentence. WHY do we all want to look good? What about "looking good" is important to us? It's how it makes us feel and how others may see us. It's about confidence, feeling good. Looking good correlates to both.
Because we have inherent value attached to beauty, the concept of beauty, aesthetic attractiveness.
You ever see the covers of those magazines that shame celebrities for not looking great, and celebrate other celebrities for looking great? In between every full-page splash of the most ugly possible picture of someone having an off day, there's adverts for skin care cream, weight loss solutions, hair treatments.
(Blogger's Note: I'm not saying that using products is inherently bad. It isn't. I'm not trying to tell you how to live your life. What I am trying to do is to challenge the basis of why we do these things. Why Act 1 makes us feel better and Act 2 makes us feel worse and why Act 3 is even socially acceptable. If it works and it doesn't harm anyone, you do you. It's all good. I'm just poking at society and saying HMM loudly.)
If we attach inherent value to beauty, we attach inherent negative value to ugly - and also to not-beauty, the two of which are entirely different things.
In Bram Stoker's Dracula, Gary Oldman plays Dracula. And he is, in the same movie, both beautiful and ugly.
See? ...but the thing is, in the second picture, he is definitely ugly, right?
But there's no middle ground. He occupies a space of extremes. A space that 99% of human beings simply don't inhabit. (Though most draculas do.)
Our urge to reassure people that they are beautiful when they have doubts is an urge to tell people that they have value even if something or someone else they perceive is more beautiful than they are. We've built an entire language association between beauty and value that is really harmful to the self-image of...well, shit, most of us.
What we need to do is decouple value from beauty. Yes, beauty is nice to look at, but it is NOT the be all and end all. Instead of sharing because we think they are beautiful, let's share because we like them. Let's share because they're fucking human beings too, and they deserve respect, even if they don't fit in with the ridiculous standards of beauty that we have been drip-fed since we've first been capable of looking at a screen or a page.
Perhaps I am somewhat embittered on this topic because I don't see myself as being beautiful. I feel that needs to be aired just to incite some degree of transparency on the topic. But you know what, I don't even care. I wear sloppy shirts and old jeans and tacky sneakers and my glasses are beat up, but it's me. You know what? I have value even if I'm not on the front of Cosmo.
We ALL have value. What we DO with our lives, who we ARE, is so SO much more important than the combination of genetics and external influence that contorts our physiology into a shape that we all recognise as a face.
I'm not a model but I'm a person, and if I had to pick only one - person every time.
Share If You Think They Are People.