www.whyville.net Jul 6, 2008 Weekly Issue

Times Writer

Flawed Fashion: What is Beauty?

Users' Rating
Rate this article

I am back with yet another edition of "Flawed Fashion". But I return bearing a question for you: What is beauty? What is ugly? www.dictionary.com defines these terms as:

People can be so critical of each other, it's amazing. When someone does not fit our perception of beauty, we immediately point it out and label them as "ugly." In our minds, they are then known as "ugly" and we think cruel thoughts about them. We may even spread rumors and say mean things about the way they look. Albeit some people are genuine and do not find people ugly. However in my opinion, in everyone's entire lifetime, they have branded someone as "ugly" because that is human nature. We judge people based on the way they look because looks matter.

But this article is not about judging people by their looks. It is about what we find beautiful and ugly. The dictionary.com definitions of beauty and ugly are very vague and questionable. Do people have a specific characteristic that they find ugly? Are all people with this characteristic considered ugly? To answer these questions, I decided to conduct an investigation about the conceptions of beauty.

I began by interviewing three female Whyvillians about their thoughts on beauty.

holiday50: What is beauty?

CupofCake: Green eyes and brown hair are beautiful.
dartanian: As long as they compliment each other, I don't really have a preference in eye or hair color. Except for people who don't have fair skin and dye their hair blonde. But I really like eyes in general. And smiles, and having nicely styled hair.
Morgan612: I don't think there's a specific look that defines beauty. I think some people with blue eyes are pretty but I also think people with brown eyes are pretty. Same with hair, lips, etc.

holiday50: Which female celebrity is beautiful to you? Why?

CupofCake: Katherine Heigl, because she always looks stunning.
dartanian: Paula Abdul is really pretty. So are Cat Deely from "So You Think You Can Dance" and Shenae Grimes from "Degrassi: The Next Generation". They all have nice hair and smiles. That's what I find attractive on girls, in the straightest way possible.
Morgan612: Jessica Alba because her hair and skin color compliment each other and she's naturally pretty. She doesn't wear tons and tons of makeup. Also, her smile is really pretty.

holiday50: What is unattractive/ugly?

CupofCake: A big nose, big lips, and wrinkles.
dartanian: Funny shaped noses, really prominent jaw lines and protruding foreheads.
Morgan612: When people who don't look good blonde dye their hair bleach blonde. And when people have really small eyes.

The Whyvillians I interviewed have a specific perception of what is beautiful and ugly. But what if women were to possess the features that the interviewees thought were ugly? Would these women be beautiful or hideous? I decided to investigate this idea further. For each interviewee I found a celebrity that fits their description of unattractiveness. Then I asked them whether they thought their celebrity was attractive or unattractive. What I was trying to get across was that even though we find certain features unsightly, they can also make a person pretty.

Two of the interviewees changed their perceptions of beauty. This proves that even though we may dislike some traits, they make other women beautiful.

holiday50: Which female celebrity is unattractive to you? Why?

CupofCake: Rosie O'Donnell, she looks like she doesn't take care of herself, and she's very unattractive with or without makeup.
dartanian: Sarah Jessica Parker, Angelina Jolie, Julia Roberts, they all have obscure looking faces.
Morgan612: Lindsay Lohan because she wears too much makeup and tries way too hard, and does too much to her face. It just looks bad.

I asked the Whyvillians which celebrities they thought were unattractive. They had good reasons as to why they dislike some well know stars. However, two of the Whyvillians' reasons did not coincide with their apprehension of ugliness. The interviewees dislike their chosen celebrities because of simple, correctable flaws. What if these celebrities' flaws were corrected? Would the interviewees find them beautiful? Keep in mind that they would still have the traits that the interviewees find ugly.

The stars still have the attributes that the interviewees find distasteful. I only edited what the interviewees disliked about the stars' faces. Even though people fit our description of ugliness, we don't always dislike them for this reason. They may have other correctable flaws that displease us.

The diagram above is a timeline of my avatar from 2005 to early this year. As you can see, my earlier faces break my Flawed Fashion rules. Clearly, I've branded my own faces as flawed. But do these imperfections make me beautiful? I remember when I first created these faces. I thought they were beautiful and decided to show them to the rest of Whyville. It didn't matter whether other people thought I was ugly. It only mattered what I thought about myself, which, at the time was that I was gorgeous. I had the self confidence not to worry about being judged.

Throughout the series I have been preaching perfection and realism. But the truth is, there is no such thing as perfection in reality. I was vouching for an idealistic world which I realize that I can't force on Whyvillians. Notice how, throughout the timeline, my faces are not unique? My looks were simply mannequins made for the real world, not the virtual world. I did not use my imagination and explore my creativity. Only a few of the face parts are out of place. Nothing else is out of the ordinary.

My avatars have all been faces. Even though they are lifelike, there are several flaws within them. What if, in 2005, someone had pointed out these faults? What if they told me that my looks were beastly and incorrect? Would I have cared? No, because I am not easily phased by silly comments. Referring back to the timeline, I asked the interviewees to judge my avatars based on real life faces. Even though they are inaccurate as pertaining to reality, some of them are attractive. This is because not only do faults make avatars unattractive, they also make them attractive.

Beauty is hard to define because it means different things to different people. But what beauty should not be is something specific. Beauty is not a certain attribute. For instance, by saying small eyes are beautiful, you are stereotyping. You are categorizing every person with small eyes as beautiful. However, people with large eyes are also pretty. Furthermore, people with small eyes can be unsightly. It isn't fair of me to condone my interviewees and mock them about their perceptions. So I asked them once again, what beauty and ugly truly means.

holiday50: What is beauty?

CupofCake: I guess it matters on your other features . . . If you have a small head, or obscure and tiny eye . . . but have a honker and huge lips and then it just looks not too great (i.e. Angelina Jolie). So I suppose the size of your features is all that matters with beauty. I really don't know how to answer that now.
dartanian: Beauty is being yourself. I know people can't really help that they have obscure shaped faces but they should try and embrace their beauty.
Morgan612: Beauty is when you look happy and healthy.

holiday50: What is ugly?

CupofCake: Having small eyes, and a small head. But having a huge nose and huge lips.
dartanian: Ugly is covering yourself in makeup because you are not comfortable with yourself. I accept makeup that's like, natural and just enhancing your natural beauty. But not when it's not natural, it's ugly.
Morgan612: Ugly is when you wear tons of makeup and look fake.

To me, beauty is not flawed. Then what is the point of this series, you ask? Stay tuned for my upcoming article for the answer.



Did you like this article?
1 Star = Bleh.5 Stars = Props!
Rate it!
Ymail this article to a friend.
Discuss this article in the Forums.

  Back to front page