Monday, May 1, 2017

In All Seriousness: The Ugly Idiot

               "She is so weird looking. I thought models were supposed to be pretty."

               "He is talented, but probably the ugliest player in the league."
             
               "Your girlfriend looks so ugly without makeup on."

               "Your girlfriend wears way too much makeup."

                "You were way prettier before you dyed your hair."
     
                "You have small hips so your body looks boyish."

                "She is still unmarried at 23. Poor thing is just ugly" (this one infuriated me the most).

                "Ew! Why are your arms are so hairy?!"

                "You have Jewish ancestry? I guessed by your nose."

                "No offense, but why don't you make your husband cut his hair and shave his beard."

                "No offense, but when are you going to fix your hair?"
   
                "If she wants to succeed in pageantry, she will need to get her nose fixed."

                "She is so pale she looks like a ghost."

                "You are so pale you look sick."

                "His wife is really f***ing weird looking."

   If you ever look at someone and think, "wow, they are ugly." Take a second look and ask yourself:

 1. Is there something positive, unique, or beautiful I can find about this individual?
 2. How would they feel if they knew what I thought or said?
 3. Does calling them ugly make me more beautiful? (Mean Girls anyone?)
 4. Am I saying mean things about how someone looks just because I don't like them as a person (People do this all the time to justify harsh critiques)?
 5. Am I lashing out because I am covering my own insecurities?
 6. Am I criticizing something someone has absolutely no control over?
                   
         
           All of the quotes above are things I have heard people say in the past few years. Some directly to and about me and some to and about others. Despite maybe hundreds of genuine compliments per minor insult, it is really hard to shake those off. Why is it ever okay to criticize someone's physical appearance? I don't care if it's a character on a show, an athlete, a family member, a model, a politician, a friend, a stranger, or what. If you think someone has a huge forehead, keep it to yourself. That person probably already knows and obviously can't do much about it. I noticed when watching a pageant or a fashion show, people love to openly and loudly criticize every little detail about the women's bodies and faces. They do this because they think that since those women are in an industry based largely on beauty, that it is okay to throw in their own two cents. In my opinion,  it is okay to say you don't like their gown, their stage presence, or they way they answered a question. Those are the things they are being judged on anyway. Not the things they can not easily control like their noses, hip to waist ratio, teeth, and foreheads.

              If someone does say something rude about the way you look, either in person or to someone else, ask yourself these three questions:

                    1.  Is it possible this person is severely insecure?

I noticed the harshest people are usually those that deep down think very little of themselves. It will actually make you sad thinking about how insecure these people may be. People who are happy, confident, and content don't enjoy tearing others apart.

                   2. Is this person trying to hurt my feelings?

I have noticed that sometimes people genuinely aren't trying to offend you. Sometimes they just don't consider the fact that you might already be insecure about the little thing they felt the need to comment on. They shouldn't comment on how you look in the first place, but if they do, try to cut them some slack. When some close friends of mine started laughing about my nose, I knew they weren't intending to make me feel bad, so while it did hurt, I just tried to laugh along with them.

                     3. Is it something you disagree with?

If someone criticizes you about something, it is okay to (peacefully) disagree and (tactfully) defend yourself. "Oh, he doesn't like my overgrown roots? Thats okay because I don't mind them and I think they look fine." I can't tell you how many times someone has felt the need to say something like, "when are you going to make your husband cut his hair and shave his beard? It is unprofessional." I would usually kindly respond, "Aw, I love his long hair and beard! If he gets a job one day that requires him to cut it then thats okay, but for now since he is still in school I just want him to have fun and enjoy it" (meanwhile, I am still wondering what society has against long hair).

              When someone says something bad about the way you look, try to remember all the wonderful, kind things people have said to you, or think of the things you love about yourself. Sometimes it takes a while to learn to love certain aspects of your physical structure. It can be really hard. That is okay and normal. Don't compare yourself to someone else, because despite how it may seem, they may be struggling with something just like you are. Plus, you are generally your own worst critic. Something you are dwelling on probably goes unnoticed by those around you. When you go out, make sure to offer genuine compliments and make sure to appreciate the kind things people say to you. I promise that the good far outweighs the bad. We just don't see it that way sometimes.

           Now at this point I wasn't going to bother bringing up how upset it makes me when people start criticizing the (supposed) intellect of others, but I will. Once again, examples I have heard IRL:
 
                      "All these UVA girls were there. They were all total idiots."

                      "She graduated Yale Law? She must know someone."

                      "Maybe they should focus more on their brains instead of their bodies."

                      "That guy cut me off. He is such an idiot."

                      "The front desk lady was such a idiot" (meanwhile, it was the customer's mistake).

                      "She just slept her way to the top."

              I will start with another pageantry example because I have so many years of experience in that world. Around the time of a major pageant, there are usually a bunch or articles floating around online, specifically Facebook. As much as Facebook comments generally destroy my faith in humanity, I still always feel the need to check. For some reason every time I read the comments beneath articles about pageants, they are always the same basic thing. "Why don't these women focus more on their brains than their looks." Over and over, the comments are bashing the supposed intellectual capacity of these women. "Oh, one girl had a bad answer? They must all be idiots." Once upon a time, a pageant girl gave a bad answer. I am sure you can recite it word for word. She is not every pageant girl ever. I remember that during my senior year of high school, Miss Utah USA bombed her answer. While everyone in my art class was bashing her, I asked my Georgetown-bound friend the same exact question. Guess what? He bombed it too because it was a really hard question. Sure after a few hours or minutes of thought you could, "come up with something better." But on stage, on live TV, in front of millions of people, within 30 seconds, do you still really think you could pull off a seamless answer? Pageant girls do it all the time. "But how? They are pretty and therefore stupid?"

              I will not get into the differences between Miss America and Miss USA, but in short summary, Miss USA is a bit more about looks, and Miss America is a bit more intellectual. Thats okay. Neither is better or worse, they are just very different. Because of this difference, people are very quick to assume every girl in the USA system is stupid. Now, I am very familiar with the Miss Virginia USA system and have seen the different winners crowned year after year. Let me tell you about some of these stupid winners who only care about their looks. We have a dentist, a nuclear engineer, a contractor, a lawyer, a model and tv host, a physical therapist, a professor, an author and so on. "She only got into law school because she probably knows someone." Okay, maybe. But the same applies for literally every other male and female student in every Law school ever, you just don't hear people say it. I worked with this tan, bleach blonde, happy, soft spoken, kind hearted party girl in West Virginia. My other coworkers would rip her apart all the time for being "stupid." One day I decided it was time to chime in. "I can see why you might assume that, but did you know she is about to graduate at the top of her chemical engineering program?" So why do people still look at pretty women (or men) an assume they are stupid? I suppose it is just really hard for some people to believe that a woman (or man) can be both physically beautiful and intelligent.

             My last point in this rant is about the word, "idiot" (and any word synonymous). Just because someone has a different opinion than you does not mean they are an idiot. Step back and try to understand why they think the way they do. "I don't agree with Ben Carson. He must be an idiot" (brain surgeons are usually idiots, right?). "I don't agree with Hillary Clinton, she must be an idiot" (yes, Yale graduates are often pretty dumb).

1. If someone makes a mistake, they are not an idiot. I see this most often with drivers. Everyone does stupid little things while driving. Now, I am not talking about recklessness or anything intentional of the sort. I am talking about little errors we all make. "Someone didn't see your turn signal and give you space to merge. What an idiot. You should honk and flip them off." In addition to this, if someone says something incorrect, they are not an idiot. We all say silly things sometimes. Just let it go.

2. If someone's brain works a little differently that yours does, they are not an idiot. Some people have taken time to learn about History while others may be more interested in understanding Biology. One is obviously not going to be in expert in every field, so cut people some slack. I had a close friend with special needs in elementary school. He couldn't tie his own shoes but he could do any math problem you could think of with nothing but his mind. Haven't you heard: "If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life thinking its dumb?"


               Of course, I'm sure there really are some times where you could justify calling someone an idiot. I just have a really hard time finding them, especially compared to the frequency at which I hear the word used. If you want to have a little fun, the next time someone unjustifiably calls someone an idiot just ask, "Why/How?" It is really fun to see what they come up with.

             In the end, be mindful of your judgements. Whether it is about someone's looks, intellect, or whatever else. If you do decide someone is "stupid" or "ugly" please keep it to yourself and try to reevaluate your own thoughts. Look for the good and provide genuine compliments. I promise you will be so much happier.
 


When in doubt, "Have courage and be kind."




3 comments:

  1. This is so well written and so true! If only everyone could take time to evaluate their own thought process rather than the thoughts and appearances of others. We'd live in a better place. It's so cliche but everyone is beautiful in their own way. I love your articles and although you don't need me to tell you, you are a natural beauty and your writing demonstrates a strong brain to match. 👍🏼

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so so much!! 1, for reading it, and 2, for the kind compliment! You made my day!! I wrote this on a whim after someone said something super nasty about a friend. I'm glad you appreciate it

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  2. Most certainly! I look forward to your posts.
    Say hello to Peter (Peabody) Brown from Stewie Martineau. I'm his mom. 🐶🐶

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