Being Ugly and the Power of Beauty

I’m an ugly girl. 

That’s right – I said it. The big “U” word. The word that people run away from, or try desperately to cover up with make-up, compliments and pseudo-self esteem. Call yourself ugly, and you’ll be under the barrage of:

1. Beauty is subjective! Isn’t it in the eye of the beholder anyway?!

2. Everyone’s beautiful! You’re beautiful!

3. *Lists a bunch of reasons why you can’t POSSIBLY be ugly*

4. Says you’re delusional/insane (re: being completely dismissive)

Part of this problem is that people tend to imagine in extremes. Ugliness is defined as horrific – like Hunchback of Notre-Dame type stuff – so if you don’t look like Quasimoto, then you can’t be ugly. This is irrational. NO ONE looks like Quasimoto, except for him, and few people would go around calling survivors of accidents with physical deformities as ugly. So basically, ugliness is reserved for fictional beings and monsters – which humans are not.

Granted – I understand it, really I do. With great beauty comes great power; to be called a model is probably one of the highest compliments a person can receive. Humans are so fixated on beauty that whole enterprises have been constructed in order to dismantle fabricated beauty (ie: Hollywood stars, magazine covers, etc) in exchange for “natural beauty” (ie: Lady Gaga’s Born This Way type stuff).

And I can understand the sentiment: everyone (well, most of you!) want power because power makes things easier. Money is power, but not everyone has money, but  nowadays anyone can be beautiful, right? I remember my friend, who is from Appalachian, telling me about how beauty pageants were one of the few ways to get out of their town.

So yes – I deeply understand the influence being beautiful has over people – even those who wish to bunk beauty standards. Not so that they can be ugly, but so that they can be beautiful in their own way.

This is all well and good but ignores the truth: not everyone is beautiful (and in some cases, don’t want to be!). I’m not a beautiful girl. Most people focus on my personality, and what’s going on in my mind, not so much my body.

Being ugly, and being willing to call myself that, is always tricky business. When you’re conditioned to believe that ugliness is bad and prettiness is good, well, most people will do anything to show you how “good” you really are. But here’s what I’m here to say: being ugly isn’t a death sentence, it doesn’t say anything about your character (any more than being pretty does) and it’s not mutually exclusive from being awesome. 

Yes – I am a ugly girl but so what? Why do I need to soothe myself with compliments in order to make myself feel better? Why is happiness so directly related to “feeling/being beautiful”? Why can’t I be ugly AND happy, successful, accomplished and unafraid? Why is ugly such a dirty, fucking word? 

Ugliness is a descriptor, like anything else. Being ugly doesn’t make me less than. It simply is. 

Even in the quest to “re-define beauty” why is beauty even a necessary part of the equation? Why force people into believing they’re beautiful? There is power in all things, including ugliness. Many people are terrified of being ugly, but if there’s power in exactly who you are, that includes being ugly too.

 

People are often quick to prove you’re beautiful, even if it’s just one feature.

Why do you think that is? Why can’t people be both ugly and happy?

This is definitely a discussion I want to have with as many people as possible. I really want to understand – why do you want to be pretty so bad? And why are you so quick to downplay people’s assertion of their own looks – which has NOTHING to do with you?

68 thoughts on “Being Ugly and the Power of Beauty

  1. Most people I know say they’re XYZ about their looks and are asking for reassurance, not feeling good, lacking confidence, etc. That might be why people react, even though your looks, have nothing to do with them. Then again, why do you bring it up? To have a deep conversation about it or do ou want them to say, “Yes, you are?” I’m curious about this…

    It took years, but I’ve come to terms (mostly, I’m not perfect, no one is) with my looks, my good, my bad, my ugly. Because whatever you think, I think everyone has some ugly. Physical and mental.

    So, to take your question back to you. Are you happy? You say people can’t be ugly and happy but is that a generalization?

    I find it funny – my friend is attracted to one person, while I think they are NOT attractive (yep, ugly). And visa versa. So I think that it is in the eye of the beholder. It really is.

    I have always been one to be attracted to more than physical looks and body. My eyes, see deeper. See beyond. Beauty is my own definition (http://smallhandsbigideas.com/friends/bearing-your-personal-signature/). You are talking about a mass media definition, but that is not the world’s definition.

    I like what you’re saying around the word ugly. It’s not this horrific description.

    The dictionary says:
    1. very unattractive or unpleasant to look at; offensive to the sense of beauty; displeasing in appearance.
    2. disagreeable; unpleasant; objectionable

    So why would you fault someone for shying from ugly? By default, it is not a positive word. For instance hate is hate and love is love. One does not have a positive connotation, the other does.

    Because it has been defined as NOT positive, especially, look at the second definition. It’s not all about looks. You can call someone’s heart ugly, someone’s mind ugly.

    That’s a bit of rambling. I don’t strive to be pretty. That’s not my first goal in life. I rarely think about it actually. I am the way I am. I look the way I do. I barely wear makeup, I take 5 minutes to get ready and I would never get plastic surgery. Other people? They favor the “positive” connotation of looking good. If you read studies, I think it’s interesting that people find looks get you a lot of things. That’s probably why a lot of people are obsessed with it.

    • Oh Hey Grace! Thanks for stopping by! :] *rolls around with the happy*

      “Then again, why do you bring it up? To have a deep conversation about it or do ou want them to say, “Yes, you are?” I’m curious about this…”

      I bring it up because I want to have a conversation about it. I think I’m at the point in my life – or my development – that people telling me “I’m pretty” has no effect on me. At this point, I just have to suck it up and deal with it if people want to tell me that they don’t think I’m ugly. I’ve been ugly my whole life – admittedly, it hasn’t been a pleasant experience. I’m frantic about finding someone who will want to be with me, despite the way I look, and I tend to get very bent out of shape about beautification techniques (like make-up) because I know it’s a lie. If I’m naturally unattractive and use artificial means to beautify myself, wouldn’t that makes my “beauty” more contrived and less real? This is what I think. So I have a lot of self-esteem issues about being ugly because I’ve been rejected for it, and because people very rarely allow a space for ugliness to exist or for people to feel/be ugly.

      So generally, I wouldn’t describe myself as happy. For me, it’s very much about rejection and the perceived consequences of not being attractive. I suppose it’s an issue of no one accepting me for the way I look and instead trying to project their own issues onto me: re – the fear of ugliness. If I’m ugly, that means that THEY possess the potential to be ugly, therefore no one is allowed to be ugly. I feel like I have no space to be unhappy, that I must strive to be beautiful (and therefore happy) all the time.

      You say people can’t be ugly and happy but is that a generalization?

      I meant that people act as if you can’t be both ugly and happy. People treat beauty like it’s the only key to real happiness and that all happy people must find themselves to be attractive. Being ugly is hard in a world where no one wants to be ugly.

      Though, I personally rarely use ugly to define anything but physical appearance. I don’t really say that a person’s behavior is ugly, or that their ideas/thoughts are ugly. I guess this is because for me, ugliness is only about looks – there are other, more apt words to describe people and their behavior. When a word, like ugly, gets spread too thin, it starts to lose some of its meaning.

      Mostly though, I wanted to explore or try to understand why people won’t let me feel or be ugly. Why are people so quick to tell me I’m not? Why don’t people let each other have their emotional space and not feel the need to invade it? Why are people so hungry for physical beauty – going so far as to say that NOTHING is ugly and that EVERYTHING is beautiful?

  2. I feel like instead of trying to convince everyone that they’re beautiful, we should be trying to convince everyone that they just ARE. They EXIST, they have a face and a body that EXIST and so does everyone else. Done.

    What I mean is that we shouldn’t be judging people’s appearances at all. There can be things that we are attracted to, features that we appreciate in others, but an overall idea of “beautiful” versus “ugly” doesn’t make sense.

    I appreciate it when someone compliments me, but I recognize that it is ONE person’s opinion, and that someone else might think I am ugly. I might look in the mirror one day and think I look like crap, but feel great the next day. Beauty is something that is so varied and fluctuates so rapidly that maintaining an ideal of beauty is nearly impossible. Even celebrities and so called “perfect” looking people can’t keep up with it. In the past 50 years alone the beauty ideal has changed numerous times!

    I would imagine that you are more at peace with this idea than most people. You realize that the way you look isn’t really important, and that it’s okay if some people aren’t attracted to you.

    I think, however, you should realize that “beauty” and “ugliness” are not all-encompassing terms. If you don’t feel that you are beautiful, it doesn’t mean you are not ~ it means that is YOUR opinion of yourself (even though we both know that’s a difficult way to exist)

    • Hey Jessica! Thanks for stopping by!

      I like this idea of simply existing, since it would alleviate a lot of issues surrounding ugliness and beauty. This is particularly true in cases where being beautiful is prized over anything else, which is really problematic when you’re not attractive. I’m not a cute girl, and I don’t want that to be held against it, even though it probably will (since it has been in the past).

      I’m actually rather fascinated by beauty trends and what influences them. With the way people talk about beauty, you would think it existed in some kind of cultural isolation, even though that’s not entirely true. I don’t know the details of each era – though I should look into it.

      I guess it depends on how you mean by “all encompassing.” I don’t use beauty/ugly to describe behavior characteristics or mentalities, though this is increasingly common usage for other people. My relationship with ugliness and beauty is purely physical, and nothing more than that. I think it becomes difficult to talk about what constitutes ugliness and beauty, when people start saying people can’t be ugly on the outside, only on the inside. I think that distracts from the discussion on what it means to be ugly vs pretty when you try to make it really abstract. Also, when it comes to myself, I think my opinion is the most important so my opinion of myself is the most important. To me, you pick and choose what you want to accept that aligns with how you see yourself, versus forcing yourself to conform to other people’s ideas about you. Therefore, if I say that I’m ugly, then it means exactly that – and no one can persuade me otherwise.

      • Hi there!

        I find following beauty trends interesting as well ~ you’re right, they don’t just swoop in from oblivion, but rather are created by a specific culture. I consider myself very girly – I love makeup, clothes, nail polish, and pretty much anything pink – but I like to decide for myself what is “on trend”. It’s taken me a while to discover my own personal style, because for a while I felt that I wasn’t stylish or pretty because I didn’t fit what everyone else seemed to think was trendy or beautiful. I guess what I’m saying is that, while I enjoy beauty and being girly, I think it’s super important for people to determine their own definition of beauty. There is no right answer.

        This is what I mean when I say that “beautiful” and “ugly” are not all-encompassing terms – they are not written in concrete. The definitions of these terms fluctuate, depending on who is being viewed, who is doing the viewing and how each person interprets the terms.

        • Hey!

          I’m definitely not a trendy person, and few people (aside from relatives – and I think that’s mostly a survival mechanism) would consider me attractive. And I think that should be okay. I guess I want to learn how to tease apart self-esteem being so closely linked to beauty (or feelings of beauty). Why must we be or feel beautiful in order to feel good about ourselves? Why is clothing so closely linked to beauty (and to an extension, self-esteem)? Hmmm.

  3. When I was reading this it sort of disturbed me that you kept calling yourself ugly. Might be because for many years as I was growing up I was teased so much for my “ugliness” and then one day I switched schools then I was teased for being “pretty”. Confidence in my “looks” varies with the day. I am almost thirty-five and am just coming to terms with all of me – inside and out. Yet, I would never call myself ugly because I know that in someone’s eyes I will always be pretty.

    “Beauty” truly is a personal thing. Just like Grace commented she doesn’t find some people attractive that her friends do. I recently finished the book, Why Women Have Sex, let me tell you that was a very interesting read. According to that book and everything else I have read “attraction” is something we just happened to be hardwired for. Unfortunately though now those preferences we evolved to have are used to sell us products – many of which are sold to help us attain those standards.

    I am an anti-makeup girl. I wasn’t allowed to use it as a teen so I never really learned how to properly apply it. By the time I was an adult I was comfortable with how my face looked like with just some lip-gloss and none of the men that dated me ever complained. So. Now at my age I see no point in makeup. I don’t think I am beautiful but I am happy with the way I look. My outside is only the shell others see before they get to know me.

    And yes, I am still disturbed just a bit that you would say you’re ugly. The definition doesn’t fit your outer shell or what you’ve shown me of your inside. I am not commenting to change your mind about calling yourself that. I just hope that in you calling yourself that you aren’t damaging your inner beauty because you are convinced your outside shell is ugly.

    In your response to Grace you said, “When a word, like ugly, gets spread too thin, it starts to lose some of its meaning.” Which made me think of how in the fifth grade I wrote on back of my school picture, “I hate myself. I’m ugly!” I wrote that on the back of an 8 X 10 like 30 times. When my mother found it disturbed her. As a child I told myself I was ugly so many times that eventually it lost it’s meaning. Eventually, the word could’ve meant anything when people used it to describe me. I was got over being ugly by telling myself enough. I wonder if your use of the word and acceptance of what you think is your “ugly” is something similar?

    These days I don’t care if people call me ugly or pretty unless they are referring to my character instead of my shell.

    • Hey Lidia-Anain! So good to see you here! :]

      I liked your comment! I don’t know if you’re familiar with Sonia Choquette – she’s a well known Medium based in Chicago and has published many books on how to connect with Spirit. Anyway, she’s talked a few times about the stories we tell ourselves, and how eventually they’re supposed to lose meaning. I’ve been calling myself ugly since I hit puberty (my earliest memories). I got teased for not being attractive as a child, and perhaps I worried about the way I looked, and felt I was ugly, but it really kicked in when my face exploded, and when my body wouldn’t develop. I’ve been calling myself ugly for close to a decade now, and the story hasn’t lost any of its meaning. It continues to hold true as I experience life as an ugly girl, a girl who doesn’t really stand out, who no one has been attracted to, who no one seems to really notice – on a physical level, particularly.

      My ugliness is the foundation of which my life has been built. That’s probably rather dramatic, but it’s relatively accurate. I KNOW that I am not attractive, and this reality has been made evident to me since I was very young. I knew I wasn’t going to be pretty.

      So now, my story becomes: How can we talk about ugliness without demonizing it? Because by demonizing ugliness, I’M being disregarded and marginalized. My experiences are being ignored as people try desperately to make sure that no one is ugly and that everyone is beautiful. I so profoundly disagree with this.

      When I was a senior in high school, there was this girl I knew, and I remember she told me she was going to prom alone (or with a friend). I remember asking her why, out of curiosity, and she said, “Because I’m ugly.” I didn’t say anything. I don’t believe it’s anyone’s right to “correct” you tell you you’re “beautiful”. I felt that I could relate to her feelings, and that by not saying anything, I was respecting her right to say that. I feel that by rejecting people’s feelings of ugliness, you’re rejecting their right to have those feelings.

      I don’t use the terms ugly/beautiful to describe character or behavior. I think there are much better, and more appropriate words to talk about those kind of things.

  4. Eh, I don’t think you’re ugly. You look exactly like me. I do agree that there is an unhealthy fixation on beauty. No, everyone is not beautiful and that’s okay. There are a great many other characteristics to have. And the best part of it is that you have actual control of those outside of your genetics.

    • Thanks for your comment Malik :P

      I find myself wondering a lot about personality and looks. Are prettier girls “exempt” from having a personality? I’ve heard random anecdotal insights about this – how pretty girls aren’t really expected to be smart, or interesting. This could be the result of how physical beauty is so highly valued that it’s as if that’s ALL you need. I remember seeing this Tyra Banks episode – she’s not exactly a scholar or sociologist – but she had this episode where six attractive women came onto the show. Three of them complained about being pretty while the other three bragged about its benefits. Some of the women complained about being dismissed, or treated as if they weren’t very smart. The other three bragged endlessly about the gifts they got, how many times they’d been proposed to, etc. It was an interesting juxtaposition – especially when I saw this documentary about the perils of being attractive but for both men and women. It was so fascinating, watching these interviews. It made me realize that no, I’m not attractive, I don’t share any of these experiences with these people!

  5. I read your posts and always appreciate your honesty. By the way, I was just surfing EdenFantasys.

    I believe that what we define as physically beautiful or ugly is in the eye of the beholder. Surface level, facial attraction is only perception. Yes, society can direct our perceptions, but when an individual chooses to steer those perceptions according to self (not society), those limitations change.

    There are ugly supermodels and beautiful ugly people. I’ve seen women who aren’t physically attractive (face wise) by my community’s standards, but when I throw away the biases, they’re actually pretty. We’ve all seen someone’s wife/girlfriend or husband/boyfriend who we knew were ugly (when compared to a more attractive person), but they’re “supposed to be” pleasing to the eye. That’s like calling a bride, who’s obviously less attractive, beautiful only because it’s her wedding day. We often call people pretty only to be nice (knowing damn well it has nothing to do with whether they’re actually appealing to us). Nonetheless, being able to pair physical attraction with other favorable attributes can be a plus.

    And makeup works two ways for me. Some people use it to enhance their beauty; others use it to hide their ugliness (along with weave, fake nails, clothes, jewelry, fake personalities, cars, sex, more attractive partners, etc.).

    I think the root of this beauty madness is our pre-disposition to want or like things that are generally pleasing. And we live in a world where the bottom line matters. So whatever “they” define as physical beauty is law.

    Sadly, we can’t compliment someone for possessing the attributes we see as “beautiful” without penalizing those who don’t possess those qualities.

    You stated: “Mostly though, I wanted to explore or try to understand why people won’t let me feel or be ugly.” You can’t profess your ugliness because people associate that with poor self-esteem. When you declare your ugliness, you conjure in others the ugliness they deny. If you (or anyone else) wants to own the title “ugly,” it only signifies that you are aware that you don’t fit your communities’ standard of beauty. In my opinion, that’s a descriptive fact check.

    • Hey! Thanks, I’m glad you like them. :3 Oh, I love Eden Fantasys!!!

      It’s great that you mentioned people who only say you’re pretty to compliment you. I feel that it is very much a knee-jerk reaction, and at times an expectation. Even if we don’t like what someone is wearing, or how their make-up looks – we’re often socially obligated, on some level, to say that they look nice anyway. I’ve also found this to be the case with my ugliness; if I bring up that I’m ugly, suddenly, I’m very pretty. I do remember one incident though – that left me with mixed feelings – I complimented a customer on how pretty I thought she was, and she seemed so awkward in her response, “You’re nice.” It was such a weird thing to say. I rarely – if ever – expect compliments when I acknowledge something that I like about another person. Most times, I’m always happy when people just say, “Thanks” and go about their day. But in this instance I felt like she was scrambling for a compliment in turn (since I do believe that people feel obligated to return a compliment) and settled for “you’re nice” since I’m clearly not an attractive girl.

      Perhaps I’m overanalyzing it. Perhaps she was made uncomfortable by it – not all people like to have their looks pointed out to them. Some attractive people hate being good-looking (or rather, its consequences).

      “You can’t profess your ugliness because people associate that with poor self-esteem.”

      Oh yes, that one for sure! It’s difficult because people also really quick to try and save you – which I don’t think they have the right to, honestly. My mother found out I hated myself when I was younger, and to this day I regret telling her. I regret many of the instances in which I was honest about the way I look because people really don’t understand. So much trauma.

      “If you (or anyone else) wants to own the title “ugly,” it only signifies that you are aware that you don’t fit your communities’ standard of beauty. In my opinion, that’s a descriptive fact check.”

      This is pretty great, I like this! I shall ponder on this some more, since it pertains very much to my own experiences of being ugly.

  6. “People are often quick to prove you’re beautiful, even if it’s just one feature.”

    This is so true and so very interesting. Like you said, I think it just comes down to people thinking that beautiful is the ultimate compliment; that if you can find beauty in something or someone, even if it’s just one feature, then the world is a better place because you’re looking on the “bright side” or finding the goodness in something.

    The problem, of course, is that it assumes that the beauty or goodness we see absolutely has to be physical, which is sad because that’s not where the real substance lies.

    I think people are much more comfortable calling objects ugly than they are calling people ugly. I might go shopping and think a pair of shoes or a blouse is ugly, but I rarely meet someone and think that they’re ugly. Maybe it’s because with people, my impression of them is rarely based solely on looks. I’ve met people who at first seemed attractive, but after talking to them and realizing they were jerks, no longer looked attractive to me—their features seemed to take on new meaning. I’ve also met people who at first didn’t necessarily make me drool, but who became more attractive once I got to know them. And I know that might sound like a lot of “inner/outer beauty” bs, but it actually did change the way I saw them, and whether or not I liked looking at them. Which I guess brings up the question of, why must our feelings manifest themselves in the physical? Is it simply a matter of how we’re wired to be very visual?

    Maybe to an extent it is, but as a culture I think we’ve taken it to an extreme. All the images we see of beautiful models and actors are not even based on reality—they’re manipulated beyond belief. And yet we look at them and it often affects how we look at ourselves. I think I’m just rambling at this point, but there’s just so much to think about here. Thanks for sharing it.

    • Hey Natalia! Thanks for dropping by! :D

      ” I might go shopping and think a pair of shoes or a blouse is ugly, but I rarely meet someone and think that they’re ugly.”

      This is interesting, and accurate. I think, for the most part, there’s a certain amount of social obedience. We don’t want to hurt each other’s feelings, and since we live in a world where being attractive is preferable over being ugly, being ugly is the worst thing you can say to someone. However, it becomes more “appropriate” to call inanimate objects that can’t be effected by our words, ugly. I think that this is a form of re-directed projection (I’m not sure if this phrase is real or not but… yeah!) I think A LOT of people want to call others ugly, but are afraid to. For example, my friend’s BF is NOT attractive at all. But I don’t want to bombard my friend with constant remarks of how ugly I think he is. It’s not very nice, and it would probably ruin our friendship. (And whether or not she acknowledges his ugliness is unknown to me). So I think many people start to call everything else ugly because they won’t be penalized for it. But I think since ugliness, even in those situations, holds such a negative air to it – people might be made uncomfortable if you call something ugly (particularly if it’s something that they own – since it reflects on them and make them either ugly or someone with ugly taste).

      Slippery slope. Which is why I try to keep the ugly discussion on my body versus everything else.

      It’s funny because I can’t think of a situation where someone’s personality affected how I perceived them physically. There was this guy I knew in college who turned out to be a horrible person, but even after how he treated me, I didn’t find him LESS attractive. I still thought/think that he’s a good-looking guy with a crappy personality. I don’t suddenly find people ugly or beautiful simply because of their personalities. Those sorts of things don’t persuade me – but I’m probably alone in this because this is a common mentality people have regarding others. The physical is really important to me, so I don’t reject it, no matter what.

      I’ve always felt that humans are visual because for most of us, we can see. Hah. But I don’t believe in “inner beauty” since I don’t use the word beauty in that way. But, I think as animals, humans crave something that can be an indication of something more. Many types of birds have elaborate dances, some animals have nice colors or make weird noises – humans probably have the beauty obsession. If we didn’t, why would people be so desperate to be beautiful – to be pretty MEANS something good and to be ugly means something bad. If you’re ugly, then no one will want you, right? So now entire constructs are designed in order to tease apart ways so that everyone can be beautiful – hence “inner beauty” vs “outer beauty”. Some of us may have crappy genes, but we can always work on our personalities is the general assumption.

      I think that’s just as much an extension of the beauty obsession as tweaked magazine covers and untouchable Hollywood stars.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Hey, I wanted to reply earlier, but I didn’t feel confident in having anything intelligent to say. But I’ve been thinking about this post since I saw it, and I’d have to say, in my own experience, that people aren’t ok with ugly because we’ve been conditioned to see it as negative. On the other hand your point seems to be about owning your looks and finding happiness that way, which I can totally agree with. Still, I was musing that this idea might be another way of being Beautiful, since we tend to equate all positives (strength of character, honor, courage, compassion, kindness, sweetness, etc) with beauty. At least, I do. Automatically. I tend to look at a person and find their positives and call that their Beauty, because…well, because that’s just how I see it, which is why I think societal conditioning is involved.

    The idea of saying “I’m Ugly” and owning it is intriguing, though like I said I think that would make it a kind of beauty since you’re taking charge of the idea and making it yours. I’m not sure if I’m making any sense at all, but I can describe that happy feeling I get sometimes. The one where I’m striding down the street feeling confident and sexy, where I feel like there’s a glow that’s radiating out of me from my deepest innards. On those days I feel beautiful, and that’s the only description I can ever come up with.

    So…maybe I’m brainwashed? :)

    • Hey!! Thanks for stopping by! :D

      Ah no I totally understand what you’re coming from, and I do think that idea is a very popular and mainstream one. No one wants to be ugly, since it has such a dark connotation in our day to day conversation. So people have decided that expanding the definition of beauty is a better use of everyone’s time. I can understand that – it’s perhaps easier to find ways to convince yourself that you’re good-looking versus trying to accept it in case you’re not. And I do think that that is societal conditioning because my very act of disagreement tends to get people really excited about beauty and what it means to look a certain way. To be beautiful – or a desire to want to feel or look beautiful – is part of the Status Quo. And any deviation from that is problematic for some people.

      :3 Thanks for your comment.

  8. Very interesting post. I have to say though, that I think it is very important for everyone to feel beautiful – inside and out. I do not feel pretty all of the time, but I think it is extremely important to try and feel that way as much as possible- but only for myself. How can I go to my job interview tomorrow thinking that I look ugly and then get the job? Because I associate ugly with only bad things, I would think that feeling ugly also means feeling like shit and in turn I believe it would effect my performance at the interview and I wouldn’t have the confidence to get the job. Suddenly I start to think about other parts of me that suck real bad

    I think that how you see yourself directly correlates with your self esteem and I think it is very important to have high self esteem. Why would someone want to go through life feeling down about themselves?

    The word ugly, to me, is a horrible word to use because I do believe it to be a negative word. When I think about someone who says they look ugly, I think that person feels horrible about themselves. I am guilty of telling that person that they are indeed NOT ugly. I may not go into detail about what is beautiful, but I certainly wouldn’t be able to sit there and allow someone to say that they are ugly.

    I like your idea of being able to use that word sort of just as a word, but I don’t see how you cannot feel the feelings that usually come with that word. In our society, it just seems impossible to not have any negative feelings towards the word. Simply because of what the word means. In a response you said that you hate yourself. If you had a choice between loving yourself or hating yourself, wouldn’t you choose to love? Also, I believe if given the choice, you would choose to feel beautiful. Why not?

    And I think that everyone is capable of feeling beautiful.

    Beauty is about a feeling. There is no one standard of beauty. There is a GENERAL standard, but no ONE standard. I may think dark skin in beautiful while someone else may think light skin is beautiful (one example of many). My sisters think Kim Kardashian is beautiful and I have to disagree. They call me crazy.

    What I think everyone should do is value their outside appearances and truly believe that they are beautiful – on the outside. We can save inside beauty for another post (wink). I think you would probably say ‘well I feel ugly and I am ok with that, so who cares what others think? I do not think ugly is a bad word’ and you can say that, but I don’t think you can be happy viewing yourself as ugly – no matter how you construe the meaning to deal with how you see yourself. You deserve to be happy and you deserve to FEEL pretty, not for anyone else’s sake but your own.

    Maybe I don’t understand, but how can you not feel sad to say you are ugly? Because it is just a word? But it isn’t just a word, it has a meaning. I am not trying to be rude or careless or insensitive (and I hope I am not coming off as any of those ways), I just truly don’t believe that it can’t hurt you to view yourself as ugly.

    Many people think that feeling or being pretty is about someone else’s opinion rather than your own, but I do not agree. Feeling beautiful is something you feel inside. There have been TONS of women who say “I am beautiful” and I may look at them and think, ‘I dont think so’ and vise-versa but my opinion does not matter. What matters is the inner feelings of yourself.

    I really, really, truly believe everyone should feel beautiful – why not? Why shouldn’t we try to feel beautiful? WE SHOULDN’T COMPARE OURSELVES, but we should DEFINITELY, without a doubt, strive to feel beautiful.

    • Actually, my feelings of ugliness haven’t prevented me from doing well at job interviews or getting hired in the past. To me, interviewing is about skill, and I know exactly what I need to project in order to do well in an interview. My problem surrounding ugliness isn’t ugliness in and of itself, it is the CONSEQUENCES of being ugly. The consequences of being ugly is normally rejection – people treat you differently if you don’t look how they want you to look. People feel entitled to both your mind and body when you say that you’re ugly. People think there’s something wrong with me, like having low self-esteem for example, because I call myself ugly. And as a culture, people begin to prioritize beauty and feelings of beauty – so people who are attractive get TREATED differently than other people.

      I wouldn’t say that I have high self-esteem – quite the contrary. But how I feel about myself is based off of how I was treated by others. My ugliness is something that exists, period, I’ve never had life as a pretty girl and I wasn’t raised as one either. My mother is intent on complimenting me because I told her that I hated myself for being ugly as a young teen. As an ugly girl I didn’t get the same benefits and perks that other, and much more attractive girls get. I have been calling this “Beauty Privilege” and it exists regardless of what I think about myself. The problem with beauty privilege (as beauty is associated with power), is that people begin to think and treat beauty as something that’s more valuable than anything else. So if you don’t feel beautiful, or think you’re attractive – people think there’s something wrong with you. And since everyone wants power – in some way, shape, or form – everyone is hungry to be attractive, or to feel attractive.

      But I think the concept of beauty is fleeting and insufficient. I’d rather just be ugly my whole life, instead of constantly trying to reassure myself of my value via my looks. I don’t think I’ll ever be the type of person who finds pride in the way her body or face looks. I’m ugly – and that REALLY needs to be okay. I don’t think beauty equates to happiness; this is just the meaning people have given it.

  9. This was a really compelling post.

    It’s so weird because you’re completely right, as soon I started reading this, I had to fight my instinct to try and convince you otherwise – I don’t know why that is. But had you said that you weren’t as smart or were socially awkward or some personality trait, then I wouldn’t fight as hard to tell you you weren’t.

    And it isn’t my place to tell anyone how to define themselves only because I see it differently. Perhaps it’s because ugly is associated with dislike. And I never want anyone to dislike any part of themselves because it usually leads to great unhappiness. But of course, not always.

    I don’t know, this post has left me with a lot of thoughts so I may come back when I’ve thought them through and post then! :) Very very interesting though dear.

    • Thanks for popping over Gia. :]

      I’m glad you liked it. The definition of words changes and evolves all the time. Like, the word “Google” didn’t really exist in our day to day vocab the way it does now. Now we use google all the time in the way you would use a verb, “Oh, I’ll go google that.” That, in a way, means absolutely nothing yet we’ve given it a meaning. I view ugliness as the same way. Ugliness is a word, whose meaning is defined by its users and usage. If we begin to change how we use words and what we associate with those words, we can change language. But, some words can’t be changed because they don’t fit into the bigger picture of how people wish to define themselves by. To be ugly is an undesirable state of being for many people – attractive people earn more, have the halo effect, are happier, wealthier, and so on. So who wants to be ugly, when beauty has such great connotations? It isn’t the word itself that’s the problem – merely our associate with it. And I think I can change ugly, even if it’s just for myself, into a positive thing. :D

  10. This is such an interesting post. To hear someone just call him- or herself ugly – repeatedly, no less, & without shame – is so rare & jarring. I think this is the case because, well, beauty IS subjective. Sure, there are conventional standards of beauty – model-like looks, symmetrical features, thin waist & big boobs. By these standards, I’m certainly not pretty, either. But I think beauty is about so much more. I have friends who, upon first meeting, I thought, “Wow, she’s not pretty at all,” & now I can hardly remember feeling that way when I look at them. They’re my friends; they’re beautiful. I love their personalities, their smiles make me happy, their eyes tell stories. When you know someone & love them, they become more beautiful. Does this give them model looks? Of course not. But I find it difficult to think of anyone I love as being truly ugly, no matter what I first think of their looks.

    • Heyy!!!!! :D

      I’m glad you stopped by. Woot.

      I have knowingly befriended girls I thought were attractive, and I tend to be drawn to girls I think are cute. So, it’s rare that I’ll meet someone who I think is ugly, and then end up be-friending them. I don’t have a physical criteria for friendship – I’ll be friends with just about anyone regardless of physical appearance – but I also tend to find most girls to be very good-looking. Like, if there were ten girls in a room, I’d probably think about eight or nine of them were really cute. In fact, it’s also equally rare that I look at other people and think “Wow, she’s really ugly.” I have several friends who don’t think they’re very good-looking (though refuse to call themselves ugly) and I think they’re really, really attractive. The only person who I think s ugly is myself. And loads of men; in fact, I find most men to be really ugly. And the guys that have nice personalities tend to be good looking physically – in my experience – so… there’s THAT too.

      Thanks for commenting!! :3

  11. How could you even call yourself ugly?!? True beauty shines from the inside out. And you def. have a shine. Other than that it’s whether or not you and your choosing find each other attractive. BTW I enjoy reading your blog. I left you an award on my blog. Feel free to check it out whenever you get the chance.

    • Hah. I only use beauty to talk about the physical body – not the abstract attributes like our personalities. I don’t think someone’s personality makes them less attractive physically – just giant assholes who also happen to be hot. o.O But I’m not sure that’s what people mean when they talk about attractiveness… which I think tends to take on a more abstract, “applies to everything” type of deal. :3

      Thanks for stopping by! I will check out your blog for sure.

  12. Pingback: It’s Liebster Blog Award Time! « Hot Femme Writing in NYC

  13. I’m not ugly; I look like a guy, a reasonably good-looking guy, but a guy all the same. I don’t often say so, because you know, I get the same sort of thing thing you get. “You look pretty, Annie.” “You do not look like a guy!” “Male/female attributes are all subjective.” “Its who you are on the inside that counts.” I do enjoy the few people who say, “So what!” :)

    Just like you, I can paint myself up, even accent the masculine features and it somehow comes out “feminine” in the public perception, but in my perception it’s just contrived, and I look like a drag queen. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose, I’m just not one.

    I’m used to it. I’ve looked like a guy all my life. For you naysayers, one of my grandfathers called me Andy. It didn’t matter how many times we told him. Sometimes the look on his face I just knew he was thinking, “Why the Hell’d ya name the boy, Annie?” I had kids in school who thought it was funny to call me sir, tell me I was in the wrong locker room, etc.

    I’m okay with it. I wasn’t always, but I am now. I like the way I look because my reflection fits my personality. My facial expressions are perfect; my smile is perfect; I’m perfect. I just look like a guy.

    • Hey Anne! Thanks for stopping by!! :D

      AH – thanks for your comment. My first thought was: To be a girl who looks like a boy, would make gender bending a lot of fun! Especially if you have the slim figure of a boy, versus something more curvy which tends to be associated with womanhood (a contrast I don’t agree with but exists all the same).

      But, I think it’s great that you’ve made peace with it, though. It is incredibly difficult to live with a face or body that we don’t like. But, for me, ugliness is more of a problem because of how people treat me – or will treat me – versus ugliness in and of itself.

  14. I’m ugly too, by cultural standards. And I get excluded from society. People act like the sight of me is searing their eyeballs. It IS hard.

    From reading radical feminist stuff, it seems to me like they would be the most accepting of ugly women socially, but although I agree with most of their principles I can’t do the whole lesbian seperatist thing that would get me out of the Male Gaze completely.

    “Beauty, in the context of women’s appearance, is part of a patriarchal ideology that has evolved to erase women’s humanity.” – This is from Jill at I Blame The Patriarchy.

    But Jill gets to live on her very own ranch, while the rest of us have to get out there and deal with the system and get scorn shoved in our faces every single day. I wish I had an answer that didn’t involve either massive self-denial or revolution, but I don’t.

    • Aw! That’s horrible – how do you get excluded from society?

      That’s a really interesting quote. The concept of beauty is a complex one because some women WANT to be looked at, and part of being attractive is a performance. Dressing up, flirting, wearing make-up – some of it is a deliberate act to be noticed. Which I think is where this idea came from that women only dress up to appease men, so most women are defiant when they say that they dress only for themselves. But to me, if that were the case, why not just get dressed up and stay home – where no one could admire you but YOU? It’s akin to letting someone read what you wrote, but then telling them you don’t care what they think about it. So why give it to them?

      I dunno – I think about that frequently!

  15. Hi ugly girl. I am ugly too. I understand and can relate to everything in your post. For years I surfed the web trying to find a community that offered support to people who are ugly. And like you I only found people dismissing the notion that someone can be ugly.
    To answer your question I guess people cannot admit someone is ugly because they dont like feeling mean and or rude. No one wants to say ‘yes you are ugly’ same way no one would like to say ‘yes you are dumb’ to someone who is not smart.
    When they hear you say ‘i am ugly’ they say its low self esteem and they try to convince you that you are not. But this doesnt help. In my own personal experience it only prolongs the healing process. It makes the ugly person take a longer time to come to terms with their ugliness and accepting their ugliness.
    It took me years to finally accept and love my ugly self. You have to be grateful and concentrate on the things that you have and not on the things that you lack like beauty. After all its better to have an ugly yet healthy body that a beautiful terminally ill body.

    Life is too short. Be ugly. Be happy. Be you.

    • Hey Fea,

      Firstly, thanks for stopping by!! Yes, it’s difficult to find a group who are willing to offer real support for ugly people. Many people, like you said, reject the notion of being ugly and prefer a more egalitarian approach to beauty – everyone is beautiful/flaws are beautiful/other types of nonsense. I would agree that many people don’t want to be rude, but I also think that complimenting on someone’s beauty opens the forum for them to comment on yours. Part of my irritation with the ugly discussion is that many people dislike ugliness because people, themselves, fear the they could become – or are – ugly. Therefore, no one else can be ugly, and even if you meet someone who is unattractive to you, you simply say “to each his own” and walk away without feeling bad. A lot of it, I think, is to protect one’s sense of self and perception about reality. What other people are reflects back at you and shows you your own potential – does that make sense?

      YES. To have people constantly contradicting you in the name of “helping” you definitely can prolong how long it takes for self-acceptance. It can be harder when your feelings aren’t validated, or your experiences ignored or re-interpreted for another person’s convenience. But it’s frustrating to not be able to talk to others about your feelings. So it’s a catch 22.

  16. Really not what I had expected while clicking the link to this post.. however I love your honesty.. most people who call them self ugly do it only for the compliments.
    Although people call me beautiful and as arrogant as it may sound I know I am, however thats just the thing.. Ive never been more unhappy. I would trade it for happiness if I could.
    Any way great blog!

    • Hey Lady Bonbon!

      Thanks for stopping by! I don’t think it’s arrogant to think oneself attractive. Beauty is such an unusual concept because we’re encouraged to want and feel beautiful, but to never say it outloud or admit it to others. To say you’re good-looking/beautiful is a sign of arrogance, conceit, and shallowness. Which is strange; it’s almost like the ideal woman is one who is beautiful but doesn’t know she’s beautiful. This strange type of humility and innocence. I dislike it.

      What is it about being beautiful that makes you unhappy?

      Thanks!! :3

    • Wow! Lady bonbon, trade beauty for ugliness, then you would now what unhappiness really is, at least you’ve got something positive on your side. Despite being really ugly, names at school ranged from monkey man, baboon etc. There are times when I’ve been really happy, but it always comes back to ugliness literally rearing its ugly head. If you’re unhappy, do something that gives you a sense of purpose or a sense of adventure. Joining those social groups shouldn’t be a problem as guys would trip over themselves to show you the ropes, whereas guys like me get slight regard and the cold shoulder.

  17. “That’s a really interesting quote. The concept of beauty is a complex one because some women WANT to be looked at, and part of being attractive is a performance. ”

    The only reason women want to be attractive is because they have it drilled into their heads from birth onwards that they must be attractive, that attractiveness wins male attention and approval and that male approval is necessary for women’s survival.

    Even today, what sort of man a woman ends up with is one of the biggest factors, if not THE biggest factor, that determines what kind of life she is going to have And what kind of man a woman attracts depends entirely on how conventionally attractive she is perceived to be.

    When you look at those “faces of meth” type displays (though you shouldn’t, because they are used against the inmates’ will and are an invasion of their privacy) you will see that the majority of the women are not conventionally attractive. Their drug habits don’t help either, but even in the before pictures you don’t see a lot of women who could pass for models. That’s because ugly women are systematically sifted out of mainstream society, and into the gutter where they are pissed on by everyone else. They take drugs to get some temporary relief from the cruelty of their lives, sell their bodies to afford the drugs, are beaten, raped and sometimes murdered. If lucky, they are merely jailed and further stigmatized for the crime of looking unacceptable in this society.

    Men created the beauty ultimatum, so that they can keep women externally anxious, insecure and striving to please. Instead of, say, fighting for their right to be treated as fully human. Every time you obey the beauty ultimatum, or perform any act of femininity, you reinforce the status quo and the oppression of all women.

  18. This is an interesting post. Lately people using ‘ugly’ as a descriptor has really been getting under my skin. Because like you anticipate as a response, beauty is subjective.
    I know that our physical attraction to other people and the way we view our own self physically is influenced by what we’ve been exposed to throughout our lives. It just bothers me that people don’t acknowledge this and then treat their personal experiences as the standard.

  19. I read your piece and felt sooooooo relieved that, finally someone “gets it” with that being said it frustrated the heck out of me when I began reading the posts that followed! Your point was so well articulated and somehow it managed to go right over the heads of some of the commentors. Everyone isn’t pretty some people are unattractive, myself being one of the unattractive. And like you, I’d much rather find a way to accept this as opposed to spending tons of time, money and energy trying to make myself artifically pretty. My husband once said to a group of our friends “when I first meet Nicole she was in a group of women, she wasn’t the prettiest one but she smiled at me and I fell in love” a couple of people gasped and one of my closest friends felt the need to defend me by saying “Nicole is cute!” I was so flattered by the idea that he fell in love with me from just a smile that I didn’t realise that everyone else had gasped because he said that I wasn’t the prettiest one in the bunch. Needless to say he felt the need correct, what was a genuine and what I thought to be, a beautiful compliment. It turned into a every awkward moment simply because people can’t accept that everyone isn’t beautiful and that, that is ok… It isn’t the predictor of someones ability to love you. Being pretty shouldn’t be a prerequisite for happiness. Happiness can and does exist for the unattractive ones too.

  20. i agree with you completely. very well said. the anecdote about the reaction to your husband’s comment is perfect. people really do feel like the appropriate response to anything that’s perceived as negative is to deny, deny, deny. we’ve got to embrace reality more and live from there. it’s not just with looks. i always heard “no, your mother LOVES you” because, i guess, everyone’s head would explode if they acknowledged that there are mothers out there who actually don’t love their offspring. i ended up having to invest so much time in adulthood trying to reprogram my brain to recognize appropriate loving behavior — but i digress. yes, you can be unattractive and yet loved and respected and admired. the earth isn’t going to dissolve into nothingness just because we acknowledge a person’s unattractiveness and accept it. why can’t we do it?!

  21. But what you love becomes transformed into great beauty. I think the permeability of the boundary between physical and mental/emotional is being overlooked in this discussion.

  22. I grew up being an ugly girl that everyone always told was gorgeous. My parents, my friends, sisters, teachers. And for a while in highschool I believed it. I guess they were all just rooting for the underdog, bringing up someones self esteem who was no real threat to them. Women have always complimented me but men always ignored me. I’m gumpy and lanky, my smile is a snarel, my skin is sallow. I have brown eyes, brown hair, flat chest, no hips/butt and my hands and feet are large for a women. Women would say I was “so lucky” to be thin and have thick hair and long eyelashes. Men would say I had nothing going for me. I guess I’m lucky in a way that I don’t mind being alone, and I would rather be alone then be with someone who lies to me.

  23. I know what you mean by the quasi-modo thing- ugly just means below average. It doesn’t mean that you have your mouth where your ear should be. I knew I was below average but the first time I became aware that it was just as bad as I saw in the mirror was when I overheard my father telling my mother that he didn’t think anyone would ever marry a girl that looked like me so they expected I would have time to take care of them during their retirement as I wouldn’t have a family of my own. He wasn’t being mean just honest. When I look even at my toddler pictures- I was NOT a cute kid at all. I had and still have these droppy eyes that cave in at the sides and make me look like I’m constantly half asleep. I am also below average and what made this especially tough is that my sister has model looks.. I’m not joking- Once we went to see the tonight show with Jay Leno live and before the taping of the show they do stuff with the guests. My father volunteered our family and they had us go up on the stage. When my sister went on the stage Jay Leno said “Woah!” put a hand on his chest and said, “Quite the gene pool you have there. Forget the stage you should come to my place” (audience laughs). A guy who sits on tv with the world’s beautiful people made that comment about my sister. Gives you an idea of what people have pitted my 5 foot chunky thighed and droopy eyes self against growing up. The worst part is that she’s a complete B*** but noone cares because she’s so pretty. I on the otherhand am considerate to people but in my case no one cares because I’m rather ugly. I hope I can get to the point you have where I can totally except it, but I’m definitely not there yet and I’m in my 30’s.

  24. Thanks so much for this post. I have good days and bad days. I think I also have ugly days and attractive days, but generally speaking, I am ugly, and I am so sick of the inner beauty thing and we are all beautiful. I am in my late 30’s, and I am confident. I know I have a great personality, I am funny, intelligent and caring. However, when I do get sad about how I look, I think about how my personality gets me attention. If I was not the funniest person in the room, if I did not have the personality that I do, I would disappear into the background. I am short, overweight and have acne scars. i know this about myself. I get tired of pretending that I am attractive. I know how the world works in regards to beauty standards. I live in a city that is filled with beautiful people: Portland, Oregon. I also work in an environment that is filled with hip, attractive people: the bar scene. I have had my fair share of dates and romantic companions, but not without trying really freaking hard. I have also been overlooked after having a fantastic connection with men, and then they go for my skinnier, prettier friend. Like I said, I think I have days where I look better than other days, but overall, I have lived my adult life as an unattractive female. As a child and as teenager, I was very pretty. I got lots of attention, but my beauty faded as I hit my 20’s, and I have had to cope since. But I really do try to achieve conventional beauty. I wear make-up, I do my hair, i exercise and I get my eyebrows and legs waxed. ugh, it is a lot of work. I used to try to do the natural beauty thing, because I also spent time in a subculture that appreciated naturalness, but realized I was not a candidate for this realm. Anyways, thanks again. I really do not want anyone to tell me that it is inside my head, and my true love will love me for who I am and all that jazz. Yes, someone will love me for who I am, but that does not change what I look like and the fact really is that I am unattractive, and I guess that is ok.

  25. I agree with everything you said. I am also an ugly girl. I vent about this sometimes with people I know online, but who have never seen me. They start off by telling me that it’s not possible for people to make fun of. They say things like “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” or worse they say: “People know that you think you are ugly, so they pick up on it.” Really? People who have never met me before, but see me in the elevator know that sometimes I think I am ugly? Nope, sorry you’re wrong. So if an anorexic girl thinks she is fat, people are going to think she is fat just because she thinks it? I asked someone that, and they of course said no. People call me ugly because they think I am ugly, not because I think I am ugly.

    Anyway, your blog entry basically said what I think all the time. I accept I am ugly, and I go on with my life, even if people say mean things to me. Yet, if I tell people I accept it, they tell me that I have a bad attitude and if I start thinking I am pretty, then I will be. Just stupid advice from people who don’t know what they are talking about.

  26. I just felt – like every day – sad about my looks, googled a little and finally found some honest talk about ugliness. Old post, but still gonna comment… It’s so frustrating when you want help for your problem (“please tell me how to be happy even though I’m ugly”) and people tell you that you don’t have a problem (“you’re not ugly”). Some people ARE ugly. Why can’t they believe me when I say it and want them to tell me how to accept it? Instead, they make it hard to accept when they deny the possibility to be ugly.

  27. What an interesting blog post. I Googled variations of being ugly and came upon your website.

    As for being ugly, I don’t think anyone has ever called me ugly but I am convinced that I am not all that attractive/pretty/beautiful. How do I know this? By omission: people in general and particularly men rarely ever look at me twice or make any effort to get to know me. I do not buy the whole “They’re just afraid of being rejected if they approach you” thing because I’ve seen men approach attractive women and it’s not because they are more friendly looking or approachable or whatever fill-in-the-blanks there are. So I have to conclude that they don’t approach me or even if they know me over a period of time in a daily setting such as the workplace, they show no interest, platonic nor otherwise. I am a very down to earth 36 year old and I am warm and friendly with almost everyone I interact with but not in a way that just comes across as too much. At this rate, I wonder if I will ever find a boyfriend, get married, have children…I’ve seen too many women say they’ve dated a lot, been hit on a lot, get admiring stares, but it doesn’t ring true for me and I can assure you it’s not just my imagination. I had a friend who would always get stares and glances when we were out together and it was painfully obvious that they only had eyes for her, not me. They would be polite with me but showed no interest the way they did with her and it happened frequently enough to reveal to me that it’s because they don’t find me attractive. They remark to her how beautiful they think she is. I’ve seen it happen over and over, and believe me, I don’t have on any sour or angry expression on my face to scare these guys away.

    I am so sad about this. I am a caring, sincere, honest and intelligent person but no man will see that if he doesn’t first see beyond my looks. It’s usually the looks first that make you want to get to know a person. Nobody says, “This person is ugly but let me spend my time and effort to get to know her and maybe I’ll grow to love her”. It just doesn’t work like that and I can’t say I blame them because it’s usually if I find a man physically attractive that I want to get to know then better. I have been attracted to unattractive guys but only because I happened to get to know them in an unintentional setting. But as a general rule, no one is going to want to even begin to talk to someone of the opposite sex if they don’t at least feel a bit of attraction.

    I’m tired right now so maybe I’ll expand even further later as this subject is fascinating to me.

  28. I love this this post, i know that i’m the opposite of the beauty ideal. I’ve grown into the idea that;s ok. There’s something wrong about
    being in a world when i didn’t get that from the get go. If no 1 finds me atractive it has nothing to do with my self worth. I’ve been thinking about this recently, and came across this quote i’d like to share this. :

    “the fact that “love your body” rhetoric shifts the responsibility for body acceptance over to the individual, and away from communities, institutions, and power, is also problematic. individuals who do not love their bodies, who find their bodies difficult to love, are seen as being part of the problem. the underlying assumption is that if we all loved our bodies just as they are, our fat-shaming, beauty-policing culture would be different. if we don’t love our bodies, we are, in effect, perpetuating normative (read: impossible) beauty standards. if we don’t love our individual bodies, we are at fault for collectively continuing the oppressive and misogynistic culture. if you don’t love your body, you’re not trying hard enough to love it. in this framework, your body is still the paramount focus, and one way or another, you’re failing. it’s too close to the usual body-shaming, self-policing crap, albeit with a few quasi-feminist twists, for comfort.”

    From http://onegirlrhumba.tumblr.com/post/24580327473/on-loving-your-body the whole post is worth a read. :)

  29. I came across your post while I was feeling down and out. I was looking for some inspirational blogs and quotes and whatnot to make me feel better about myself. Like most people, I prefer to feel happy as opposed to feeling sad. I can’t say there is anything wrong with that but, is there something wrong when you feel happier because you happen to feel beautiful, regardless of whether or not your physical attributes are in fact beautiful?

    Personally, as far as physical attributes go I am of average beauty. I know I’m not an ugly person because, well, I don’t really have “ugly/Quasimoto” features, but I’m not stunning. I’m not the type of woman that walks down the street and causes men to stop in their tracks and stare. I never have been and I doubt I ever will be. While I know that I would be considered quite attractive to a lot of people, there’s also a lot of people out there who wouldn’t prefer me. For instance, if I was any other person (beautiful or not) and I saw myself walking down the street I would think, “She’s pretty, but she’s not my type.” So that brings me to ask, how do you build on a relationship with someone(yourself) who isn’t your type? How do you live with yourself if you don’t think you’re as beautiful as your competitors?

    As shallow as it may sound looks do in fact matter, at least when it comes to finding a mate. We may be human but we’re still quite primal when it comes to sex. Whether anyone wants to admit it or not good breeding is what’s desired. No one wants an ugly kid. Everyone wants a healthy beautiful baby. It sounds mean but, if you were given the choice would you prefer a physically disabled child or a physically healthy child? Of course, once you do have a kid you’re “motherly instinct” will come into play and your gonna love and protect that child to the best of your ability whether the kid is ugly or not… or if you were like most other creatures in the animal kingdom and your baby was premature and disabled, you would probably just eat it… However, we aren’t just like any other creature in the animal kingdom, we are humans and we don’t do that, at least not anymore, because it’s gross.

    Point is, a physically ugly person is not a physically beautiful person. They may be beautiful on the inside but, there’s no fixing “physical ugly”, not if you don’t want to go through drastic surgeries. So the real question here is how to fix low self esteem, especially when that low self esteem stems from your personal physical features?

    Everyone wants you to keep telling yourself that your beautiful. They want you to focus on your inner beauty or the one physical attribute that you think actually looks good. The problem however isn’t the inner beauty because most ugly people know that they usually have a genuine personality. The problem is the physical and putting on a mask such as makeup isn’t going to fix it. Lying to yourself isn’t going to fix it and focusing on that one attribute isn’t going to fix the rest of it. None of that is going to truly fix this low self esteem. So how can we fix it? Acceptance for one, but how do we learn to accept it? I kind of figured one way is just to own it. Take an example – A lot of people like bulldogs. We all know bulldogs are hella ugly but! they’re so ugly they’re cute! If bulldogs can make it work why can’t we? Then again, a lot of people are subjective to the “cuteness” in bulldogs as well…

    This last part of my post might sound a little crass but, it’s the only way I know how to say what I’m thinking because it’s what I’m thinking. So I’m not going to apologize for what I said but, I”ll apologize if I offended anyone :)

  30. I didn’t read through the responses, so I hope I’m not repeating something that’s already been said. You’re right, ugly is reserved for extremes, which is why it just feels like the wrong word. Most people are neither beautiful, nor ugly, they’re just plain. I think the problem is not that people aren’t allowed to be ugly (since so few of us are, it’s an issue that comes up rarely) but that they (esp women) are required to be beautiful, to the point where many of us take on an all or nothing attitude where anything short of beauty is ugliness.

    All that’s abstract, though. When I think of people I actually know, ranging from the beautiful to the plain, and, yes, to the ugly, those words become something both more specific and more fluid. A plain friend with a cute new haircut and a flattering outfit? She looks beautiful. A beautiful friend with the flu…not so much. Those words aren’t just about the features on your face, they’re tied up with your demeanor, style, and how the person using them feels about you.

    So, yes, if I were your friend and you told me you thought you were ugly, I’d probably try to talk you out of it. But I wouldn’t be doing it just to make you feel better or out of some kind of pretty girl guilt. I’d likely mean every word.

  31. Like you, I have been ugly all my life. I found your blog whilst searching for something about being an ugly woman that i can relate to, and I have to commend you for really bringing home how tough it is to be an ugly woman when a woman’s worth is pretty much all on how pretty her face is.
    I have been told I am ugly from when I hit puberty, aged twelve. The majority of people who have told me I am ugly have been guys, and guys I don’t know at that. Once I had a can of drink thrown at me by a teenager while walking home. I had somebody hack into my MSN account (remember those? Lol) when I was 13, and write on my status ‘everybody says I’m ugly but I think I’m hot.’ the majority of guys I have dated I have met online, some have gone as far to say that they were disappointed when they met me offline. I am twenty now and have never been in a relationship as most of the guys I have met tell me they are interested in casual sex but not a ‘relationship right now.’
    Interestingly enough, I have and have had friends in the past that fit the beauty standards set by society. I have had women I don’t know comment on how pretty they are and look at me with pity. I have also had men I had been crushing on, talk to me about how much they were interested in my friends.

    I spent most of my teenage years crying and wallowing in self pity about how assymetrical my face is and how big my face is compared to my small features. To say being ugly isn’t easy is definitely an understatement, I would say its a handicap. However, I now feel that although a woman’s beauty is certainly the be all end all for men, you can still get fulfilment out of life without a partner. Know that you’re not the only one, there aren’t that many of us around, but you can still make money, have friends, do things you enjoy etc.
    I can totally relate to your statement about not being able to just say ‘oh im ugly’ like ‘oh I’m Asian’ or ‘oh I’m diabetic.’ that’s why I dont bother.
    I put this hunger for prettiness down to the fact that When things look good, People assume that they are. So pretty face= perfect life, cracking personality, good heart etc. ugly= nasty person, bad quality of life, which is so not the case. Like when food looks good you want it cos you assume it tastes good.

    Anyway, I just came on here to write my point of view and how I’ve experienced life as an ugly woman and I totally comPletely understand where you’re coming from.

    Paris

  32. I like that you decided to write about this issue because I consider myself ugly and I am ok with that fact. There is nothing I can do to change it. Nothing. I never chose to be born to my parents. It is not my fault I look the way I look. And the more we talk about this issue the more understanding we will have for each other and ourselves.

    • If only I could engage with someone long enough to talk about it. Unfortunately I didn’t consider myself ugly until recently, I always thought a majority of people were just rude or just plain ignorant. Having deluded myself for long enough I now realise that society loves beauty and hates, and I choose the word hate carefully, ugliness. I’ve had people run away as I’ve approached to speak to them, openly point and laugh, I’m regularly treated as though I have a learning disability even though I have a university degree. In discussions, I find myself debating alone as those around me side with the ‘beautiful’ side, whatever the subject. In groups I’m singled out, made the butt of jokes and treated with disdain, sidelined and patronised. Women avoid me, family members speak down to me, waiters and waitresses in cafes and restaurants make snide comments as they pass or walk away, and yes I’ve overheard them, probably one of the worst occaisions was when a Down Syndrome teenager told me I was ugly, there’s humiliation! Did I say anything in return? No, of course not, he was a disbled kid. At office parties I’ve been told who in the office I hates me, why? Hate is a powerful word and do these people think they’re doing me some kind of favour? At work, if someone needs to be sent on detachment to another location (usually a second rate one), guess who gets chosen. If a spokesperson is required in a potentially embarrassing or humiliating situation, guess who gets nominated? Even if names are chosen out of a hat, supposedly randomly, guess who’s name gets chosen? Whose requests get denied or dealt with last time and time again, trust me when I say I’ve lost faith in coincidence.

      Yes, I’ve had some good times in my life, yes I’ve achieved some great things, but do these get recognised? Despite everything, it always comes back to ‘the ugly guy’. You may think I’m just complaining or that I should focus on the positives, but this has gone on for decades. I feel for some of the commentors, I’ve experienced what they have, and I’m sure they recognised some of the points I’ve made. What I have, the Germans even have a word for it ‘Backpfeifengesicht’, a face that needs to be punched, and I have the broken nose to prove it. I had to get this off my chest!

      What I would do to be plain……

  33. Parisianfeline, I love your initial post. It is well argumented and raises very good questions.

    We all agree that beauty is a desirable quality. Humans enjoy beautiful things. It may be paintings, sculpture, human faces/body relying on visual senses, or music, voice (hearing system), nice scents/perfumes (olfactive senses), or good food (taste), or smooth skin for instance. People pay for these things, sadly I have to admit in some cases (strip clubs and the likes).
    So if you plan on finding a partner (provided this is what you want which is another issue in itself), being beautiful helps. But it is one of many qualities/attributes that come into play, although it seems to be one of the most prominent in our century.

    And as coffeeandfingernails said, I think part of the reason people always try to reassure other people on their beauty is because most of us are plain people, or maybe plain on the ugly side but not ugly. So reassuring them by telling them they are pretty or beautiful would do the job, no further questions asked. But that wouldn’t work for truly ugly people. Besides these false compliments are not always even necessary as some not so beautiful people have come to terms with the fact of not being pretty.

    But the question still remains: why is it that in our societies, it has become such a big deal and even a prejudice to be ugly. Why do most of us want to or feel the need to end up with a “trophy” partner or even friends in some cases, is hard to makes sense of.
    I mean,as I said above I do realise humans are wired/built to enjoy beautiful things. But we are also very intelligent creatures, so why do we place so much value in something that isn’t really useful to us since being ugly doesn’t mean being unhealthy or sick from an evolutionary point of view.
    And ironically, it’s not because you are the victim of the prejudice of being ugly that you won’t automaticlly apply it to other people. Being ugly most likely doesn’t prevent you from wishing to find a more beautiful partner, or at least someone who is not so ugly.

    Anyways, I hope this post didn’t turn out to be too much of a confused rant and that someone will be able to pick up the discussion from here.

  34. Coucou! Tu es française? (titre de ton blog et image de fond).
    Je voulais juste te dire bravo pour ton article très pertinent que j’aurais pu écrire tellement il reflète ce que je pense: je suis laide et le sais, et n’ai plus de problème avec ça, ce sont les autres qui ont un problème avec ma laideur! Car la laideur et encore plus s’affirmer laid(e) est tabou.
    Donc: bravo et merci, je suis tombée sur ton blog par hasard au détour d’une recherche google. Je t’admire pour cet article.
    Bisous, une autre française. :)

  35. I’ll reply in English just in case….
    I agree with so much comments too!! It’s kinda relieving to see this experience of feminine ugliness is shared by others because too often you tend to see yourself as an exception -a painful one- .
    Sometimes I’m still trying to convince myself I’m not ugly just plain. Sometimes I even find myself cute in the mirror when I smile. Part of me wants to be delusional but people outside remind you of the truth and you get to be bitter at them because of that.
    Well this is not even coherent with my first post……I guess the road to accepting yourself in a beauty-obsessed society is pretty long.
    “L’enfer c’est les autres” said a French philosopher, “hell is the others”.

  36. What is the power of beauty? Can it harvest lumber? Carve building foundations? Generate electricity? Figure out new cures to diseases? Assist space travel and exploration? Grow more food? Protect people from natural disasters? Prevent cyber crime? Intercept incoming missiles from a hostile nation? Provide any sort of useful good or service that betters our chances of survival or our control over our surroundings? Fitness may be beneficial for people to lead longer healthier lives and perhaps fitness and beauty overlap somewhat, but beauty by itself is nothing…

    • Wanderer, I admire your attitude, but I would ask: are you truly ugly? How many truly ugly astronauts have you seen to assist in space travel? NASA wouldn’t put them forward, the other astronauts would wear them down and they’d be washed from the program and take a lesser capable technician job. Can you imagine how much hassel a really ugly lumberjack would have to endure from the other guys before they moved on?

      Beauty has an amazing capability, in a social setting a nod of acceptance from a beautiful person to an ugly person can mean the difference from rejection to tolerance, but not total acceptance. My personal experience of being ‘thrown’ into a new social group, acceptance is counted in weeks and months, whereas I’ve seen young attractive women in the same situation get accepted in moments. Unfortunately beauty by itself is something, the truth is ugliness by itself is nothing. What I’ve found is that if you’re ugly, you better be really good at something, otherwise life will always be hard. Given my time again, I’d learn to sing and play the guitar at a very early age! That’s one corner ugly people do seem to have conquered!

  37. I’m impressed, I must say. Rarely do I come across a blog that’s both educative
    and interesting, and without a doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The issue is an issue that not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy that I found this during my search for something regarding this.

  38. Thanks parisianfeline and everyone who commented for sharing your insights. I hope to accept my ugliness and move on with life instead of obsessing over something that i cannot be. Thank you so much.

  39. For me i want to be just decent enough to be socialy active. I am not able to express myself in the manor like everyone else can. When I say something on the lines of “im not feeling good” or im in a bad mood and im obviously showing it, no one around me cares, people seem to just ignore me like im sort of thing people dont want to bother talking to. It seems like I somehow mess up that persons reputation and make them want to get as far away from me as possible. I am ugly and whats the point in doint the things that your generation is doing if the onily people your able to talk to is your family. Its depressing and I want to look more decent because of this.

    • I read your post the other day and it made me feel so sad. I just had to respond. I’m 4’9″ tall, 185 lbs (85 of those ponds are in my stomach) and I have male pattern baldness, I have good teeth (my only good PHYSICAL feature).I’m telling you this because I don’t want you to think I’m some pretty person that doesn’t understand what your going through. In spite of my lack of physical beauty, I have a wonderful husband of 15 years and 3 beautiful daughters! I figured out early on that I would never be a beauty queen but I’m smart, fun to be around, trust worthy and strong. Even though I’m not physically attractive I’m confidant in WHO I am and I’m happy with that. That is where my attractiveness comes from I don’t let people walk over me but I am very caring, compassionate and giving… TO THE PEOPLE WORTHY OF IT. Enhance your personality, I don’t know much about you so I can’t give you a specific coarse of action but if your interested in something, immerse yourself in it, become an expert at something. People are attracted to individuals that are passionate about life. i.e. If you love animals join an animal rescue group (you get what I’m trying to say) Don’t be a mope people tend to be irritated by someone that’s always in the dumps. I hope what I’ve said helps in someway, and if family is all you have then enjoy them and be grateful for that, you have more than some :-)
      Good Luck

  40. Howdy, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and
    i was just curious if you get a lot of spam feedback?
    If so how do you reduce it, any plugin or anything
    you can recommend? I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any help is very much appreciated.

  41. Wow that’s a powerful post. I’ve not felt good about how I look for most of my life, I’ve had some cruel comments put my way, but yeah, what the fuck. If we are below the standards of airbrushed models who still have their bad skin days, so what. I have trouble looking at myself in the mirror. I am a skin picker. Been doing it since the age of 19. I’ll be 33 in August. Have scars all over my back and chest. I’ve always wanted to be accepted, even though I’m different. Different just isn’t accepted in this world. So by reading your post you have made me see that it is okay to be different, we just need to find that acceptance within ourselves. I am not there yet, but you are which is a great achievement. However, people tell me I have a lovely complexion, which I’ll put down to coconut oil and avocados, the good fats that many of us avoid.

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