We all run from the ugly. And the farther we run from it, the more we stigmatize it and the more power we give beauty. Our communities are obsessed with being beautiful and gorgeous and hot. What would it mean if we were ugly? What would it mean if we didn’t run from our own ugliness or each other’s? How do we take the sting out of “ugly?” What would it mean to acknowledge our ugliness for all it has given us, how it has shaped our brilliance and taught us about how we never want to make anyone else feel? What would it take for us to be able to risk being ugly, in whatever that means for us. What would happen if we stopped apologizing for our ugly, stopped being ashamed of it? What if we let go of being beautiful, stopped chasing “pretty,” stopped sucking in and shrinking and spending enormous amounts of money and time on things that don’t make us magnificent?
Where is the Ugly in you? What is it trying to teach you?
And I am not saying it is easy to be ugly without apology. It is hard as fuck. It threatens our survival. I recognize the brilliance in our instinct to move toward beauty and desirability. And it takes time and for some of us it may be impossible. I know it is complicated….There is only the illusion of solace in beauty. If age and disability teach us anything, it is that investing in beauty will never set us free. Beauty has always been hurled as a weapon. It has always taken the form of an exclusive club; and supposed protection against violence, isolation and pain, but this is a myth. It is not true, even for those accepted in to the club. I don’t think we can reclaim beauty.
Moving Toward the Ugly: A Politic Beyond Desirability (*Femmes Of Color Symposium Keynote Speech, Oakland, CA (8/21/11)
by Mia Mingus
I highly suggest following this link and reading the whole piece, which is brilliant and moving.
For a long time, I’ve jokingly told people that I don’t identify as beautiful. It has nothing to do with self esteem or about my own feelings of attractiveness; it’s about my belief that being physically beautiful is ultimately irrelevant. I really love this piece and it’s given me a lot to think about.
This is amazing. I think I need to read it a few more times, then print it off and glue it in my notebook to really process it and talk about it in my own words.
Oh seriously can you imagine just opening a trunk and finding these beauties?
“A young photographer of a bit over 20 years old cleans up in the old family villa - and finds a trousseau of 14 high fashion robes of his grandmother. This is particularly wonderful - and even more as this young man is the sond of Lucchino Visconti and grandson of Carla Erba.”
This is just me but I really don’t like the way the gowns are just casually hung up. Some of them look so fragile!
EDIT: I guess I need to explain that comment above since someone is having issues understanding what that means. Dresses like that are meant to be preserved. They can be displayed properly or wrapped in acid free paper and placed in an archival box. (That is how museums store their extant pieces and how collectors preserve them.)
A few of the garments (three of the dresses I am referring to are not shown on my blog) were cut on the bias. You have to be careful with bias cut dresses because they can be easily damaged due to stretching. (I’m not saying they were damaged during this shoot. Just that bias cut dresses are more likely to be damaged due to improper hanging than say a boned Victorian bodice.) I plan to major in Museum Studies so when I see beautiful extant pieces like this I get sad. Especially since these pieces are so rich in history.
Name calling is unnecessary and childish.
Do not to let your feelings (very natural and usual ones) of momentary irritation and discomfort be seen by others; don’t (as you so often did and do) let every little feeling be read in your face and seen in your manner …
When I’m good I’m very good, but when I’m bad I’m better
Damn. I need to live a life of jet-set glamor and soirees on marble ballroom floors so I have an excuse to wear gowns like this ever fuckin’ day.
Images of Gil Elvgren’s models and painted pin-ups. SocImages points out that these images of “what real women look like” have their flaws painted away and and enhanced to make them more sexually appealing. More examples on their page!
Heck. Yes. I love you SocImages so damn much. You make me want to get that Ph.D. in sociology even more than I already want it.