Observation towers

Observed bubbling up through a crater on the ever-chafing interweb carapace — two articles declaiming against the malice that seeps from the body beautiful:

  • The Skinny — A protest by Scarlett Johansson against accusations that she’s losing weight ridiculously. You’ll be surprised.
  • French Cover Girls Bare All — Sure, this is exactly what you think it is. The French Elle magazine decides to not-airbrush its women for the month, eh? The implications thereof. Or not.

Might as well throw in my ha’penny’s worth now, following these lines from Gold:

But a woman has to have the bright, empty beauty of a toy — or get off the screen. We don’t want to look at you. Except on the news, where you can weep because some awful personal tragedy has befallen you.

And also following from how, on HK TV at least, it’s quite all right for male entertainers to come in all shapes and sizes, but the femmes must simply ‘all look same’. Why indeed are ‘ugly’ women not given half the opportunities that ‘ugly’ men are? Who has been shaping the lines that define feminine beauty? Why are we agreeing to them? What is the cost of breaking free? What is the opportunity cost of not breaking free?

I like to think I can appreciate a fine figure or face as much as any aesthete. Thinking upon the beautiful has its delectable pleasures. But I honestly don’t find myself repelled by what falls short (or grows wide) of that; I don’t share a shred of common feeling with the ideology of paleness, pole-ness or princess-likeness — fair skin, a thin frame or girly-girl behaviour does not mean you’re beautiful to me (nor does it mean you’re not). Ads declaring the tenets of this doctrine amuse and disgust me. Fashion magazines serve as a chance to work on my eye-rolls and lip-curls.

But look — you should not care what I or anyone else thinks about your beauty quotient. The cost of breaking free of the mildewed gilded cage is derision, but why give a rat’s arse about that if you’ve got your eye on higher-order things? (But this could mean I’m actually discriminating against stupidity.) The opportunity cost of staying locked in the cage — deciding the faux prison is better than the fulsome prize — is peace and contentment.

My own acceptance of (or deliverance from) myself stems from old age (aka ‘the unshackling’) and the laziness of forgiving my own imperfections, so I can avoid sinking into despair about how they’re enroaching, and don’t have to expend bouts of futility in ‘improving’ myself. I’m trying not to have double standards. Making it easy on myself means making it easy on the passing stranger, the myriad manifestations of whom make for the most beautiful mathematics.

My everted self-charity only extends so far, though– I am earnest about being healthy, happy and wise, so I get to practise patience when someone isn’t so. I suspect that good taste is just good manners, so feel free to dress however you please, but please have mercy on those who don’t appreciate spotting hairs springing through mesh singlets or being teased by fake-hair scrunchies. I want to get over the twin obstacles of dampness and smelliness, but that’s going to take time, maybe a long time.

If I end up sounding bitter, know that I don’t mean to. I don’t think I am. I really buy into that egalitarian crap. As for the meritocracy hogwash — only when it’s coloured with blood-red compassion and pure-white justice.

And let there be love.


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