Monday, December 7, 2015

Ugliness is Rebellion

The more I think about it, the more I realize that for a woman, being ugly or fat (which is automatically ugly in our culture) is seen as an act of rebellion. Any form of self possession for a woman is an act of rebellion and that is part of why it is so hated.

People want to treat women as communal property and they are very offended when their property doesn't behave in the way they want. This is why ugliness or fatness is so repudiated. It's not enough to say, "Oh well, she's ugly. I won't hit on her," or, "Yeah, she is ugly but that's not my problem." People feel genuine rage. "HOW DARE SHE BE UGLY?! HOW DARE SHE NOT LIVE UP TO THE STANDARDS WE HAVE SET?!"
She has to KNOW what she did wrong. She has to be PUNISHED for rebelling. She has to KNOW HER PLACE. If she continues this behavior fat and ugly behavior that we have not prescribed, we MUST bring her down. That's how these words "fat" and "ugly" are used as weapons. People think that if they can get you to believe you are fat or ugly (or if you actually are), they can disarm you. They can erase you. They can degrade you. They can once again claim ownership of you. This is used especially against women of power, self possessed women, women with opinions, basically any woman who bears her face and body in public as a matter of routine. How many times have you heard Hillary Clinton called ugly? This has nothing to do with her politics (though those who call her that are often at odds with her politics).

Or does it? Well, I could name quite a few ugly men that are politicians but nobody ever does. That's because men are allowed to be self possessed. Men are allowed to be ugly. Men are acknowledged for achievements over beauty. So, why do people who disagree with Hillary Clinton politically feel the need to call her ugly? They think it will disarm her. They think if they insist she is ugly that she will have no value and thus power so she can be relegated back to corral where all the cattle women are forced to live.

Even when people try to be positive about beauty, they're still doing something I find shameful. Take Dove's "Real Beauty" campaign. They are trying to help raise women's self worth by telling them that every woman is beautiful. First of all, every woman is NOT beautiful. Second, if we're trying to get women to value themselves, why do we have to keep focusing EVERYTHING on looks? This just goes back to possession. All women MUST think they are beautiful. A benevolent slave owner is a slave owner nonetheless.

Similarly, if you are ugly or fat and you mention this out loud, well meaning friends, family, and peers are often misdirected in their reactions. They think they are paying you a compliment or that they are helping boost your self worth but why must women's self worth be innately tied to their appearance? Also, they want to be the ones who get to decide if you are fat or ugly. If you say, "I'm fat," or, "I'm ugly," not only is that a statement of self possession, it's also a challenge. Well meaning people feel the need to prove you wrong. They need to prove to you that you have value. In order to have value, you have to have beauty. Interestingly, often the same people have no problem saying you are ugly or fat when you're not around or in places they think they won't be caught or at the very least, if they are, there will be no consequences (online comments sections come to mind). They know if they do say it when you are around or where they can be caught, there may be a consequence of some kind. You may curse them out. You may cry and they may feel guilt. You may very well just kick their asses. They can't control how you will react and thus they can't own you anymore, so the need to degrade you loses its appeal.

It seems like nobody is on the right side here. Either people are trying to devalue and possess you by telling you that you are ugly or they are trying to bolster and possess you by telling you that you are beautiful. At what point do we get to sit back and just BE? At what point will it be acceptable to BE ugly? To know you are ugly? To be ok with being ugly? To NOT be seen as some rebellious eyesore that needs to be beaten down? To base your self worth on what you have ACHIEVED? Weren't we all taught not to judge people by what's on the outside in kindergarten? It's not that hard of a lesson to learn. That's why we learn it in kindergarten. I guess many of you would flunk out of kindergarten if you had to go back now.

Women have value that transcends our bodies. We have talents. We have knowledge. We have experience. We have stories. We have everything a PERSON needs to have. We are not property. We don't belong to you. We do not belong to the community. We have the right to call ourselves what we like. We have the right to take pride in our talents, our knowledge, our experiences, and our achievements. We have the right to self worth beyond our bodies.
"I have value, goddammit!"
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