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No, Not Everyone Is Beautiful, And We’d All Be Better Off If We Stopped Saying…

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No, Not Everyone Is Beautiful, And We’d All Be Better Off If We Stopped Saying...

After I recently made a comment on Twitter calling a well-known game show host in your privilege, I received a lot of support from people who also found his post problematic. Those who agreed with me gave specific reasons why they felt the same way. Those who did not agree with me followed a different path. Instead of countering my argument with one of them, they attacked my appearance. Some commented on my weight, others on my overall appearance, and one commentator even posted a GIF of Macaulay Culkin's character in "Home Alone," giving a disgusted look to a frame they used to display my profile picture. the first time I received negative attention directed at my appearance. I was teased throughout my childhood and plagued by my inability to adapt to my peers in the physical beauty department during my teens and early 20s. My insecurities about being unconventionally attractive overshadowed all the areas in which I really excelled. No matter how skillful, talented, or talented I was, not being considered conventionally attractive made me think of myself as less than that. With a lot of time and a lot of insight, I have come to a place where I am no longer so – unaware of my physical beauty – I am realistic about it. Still, having my appearance drawn into a discussion completely unrelated to my appearance is annoying, to say the least. When I posted on my Facebook page how frustrating the Twitter experience had been, I got very well meaning but equally frustrating responses telling me that I'm beautiful. It was kind and I appreciated the support, but it wasn't what I needed to hear. I wasn't upset about being called ugly, nor was I trying to make sure I was physically attractive. I was frustrated that my clever discussion was hampered by a focus on my appearance. The instinctive response of coming in with "you're beautiful" when someone's attractiveness is questioned bothers me, because it reinforces the idea that if someone isn't & # 39; physically handsome, they are not valuable. Obviously, this was not the intention of those who supported it, but, unfortunately, it involuntarily perpetuates this belief. Understanding what – or who – is beautiful is complicated because physical beauty is subjective. It may vary over time, differ between different cultural groups and change with the influence of advertising and the media. And of course, personal preference plays an important role. What I can find attractive, someone can't. Also, there are many ways to define beauty. Does it mean sexually attractive? Aesthetically pleasing? Something physical that arouses an emotion in us? Clearly, there is no measure of it. So by this pattern (or, perhaps more precisely, the lack of a pattern), everything can be considered beautiful in its own way, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. Apparently, “Everybody's Beautiful” campaigns seem to be successful. this supposed potential for physical beauty found in everything – and everyone – but its fundamental message is not the same. These campaigns still place physical attractiveness as a preferred or privileged value over other characteristics. Even if the goal is to try to explain or justify the claim that everyone is beautiful, the emphasis is still on beauty. When I was flooded with comments of "you're handsome" after being called ugly, I got a response that stood out from the others. It simply said, "You are powerful." That comment meant the world to me. He acknowledged that my appearance had nothing to do with the argument I had made. Instead of trying to convince me that I wasn't ugly – as if it was the worst thing I could be – let me know that this person had seen my original intention. She saw that I was frustrated that my argument was taken seriously simply because of the distraction of my profile picture. I don't need to be seen as beautiful when I'm arguing with power – I need to be heard. "I feel comfortable saying I'm smart, funny and creative. I also feel comfortable saying I'm terrible at sports. I'm not a good dancer and I don't turn my head with my dazzling beauty when I walk into a room." The experience made me wonder what would happen if we stopped trying to argue that everyone is physically beautiful. When someone is called ugly and then assured by others that he is handsome, the message is not: "You bring your own form of beauty into this world"; It is a reflexive reaction to the discomfort of seeing someone being called unconventionally attractive. Although the standards to be conventionally attractive vary, they still exist and, like it or not, not everyone will measure up to the bare minimum of these cultural ideals. I am a strong supporter of the challenge of these standards, especially when it comes to creating unattainable aesthetics through photo editing tricks. I think the ads should include a diversity of body types, appearance, skills and representations of many types of people. Representation is incredibly important, but even so, it doesn't mean that everyone needs to be beautiful. Can you imagine if there were campaigns that stated that "everyone is good at football" or "everyone sings beautifully"? Of course none of these statements is true. Instead, we tell ourselves and others that everyone has their own strengths and talents and that we all stand out in our own way. So why isn't the same logic applied to what our society has come to understand – rightly or wrongly, fairly or unfairly – as physical beauty? Apart from the fact that a person's appearance is immediately observable, the reason why "ugly" is so often the insult that people use to attack other people – even when it is completely incongruous with the situation – is because we set the expectation of that everyone is beautiful in some way. Even though this physical beauty is not immediately apparent, the media and the so-called beauty industry have told us (and taught us) to believe that with the right makeover, products or procedures, our physical beauty can be revealed or persuaded. Calling someone ugly means you have failed in this venture, which is why it hurts so much – or at least it should. No one would respond to an argument they disagreed with by saying, "You're not inherently talented at painting." So what if we take away the power of "ugly"? If we accept that not everyone is conventionally attractive and that physical appearance is just one (and, I would say, certainly not the best) way to measure a human's worth, then being called ugly loses its bite. I feel comfortable saying that I am intelligent, funny and creative. I am also comfortable saying that I am terrible at sports, I am not a good dancer, and I do not turn my head with my dazzling beauty when I enter a room. It took me a long time to get there, but all these truths carry the same weight in my eyes. I have my strengths, just like the others. While I encourage everyone to focus on broadening the notion of how physically beautiful our culture is, I understand that it is a difficult battle. But there is one thing we could start doing right away. Instead of putting together "everyone's beautiful" campaigns, I'd like to see people running and promoting "everyone's valuable" campaigns. Not all of us need to be conventionally beautiful, just as we don't all need to be thin or healthy. But we all need to be respected. We will focus on praising and elevating people based on their strengths rather than wasting our energy by offering automatic and often false guarantees of physical attractiveness. If we accept conventional beauty as a unique area in which one can stand out, but not as something comprehensive that we should all have or want to achieve, then we take the power out of ugly. Because at the end of the day – or in the middle of a debate – I prefer to be told that I am respected and valued for who I am than they say I am beautiful. Emphasizing value takes away subjectivity. Who is attractive and who is not is subjective. Who is respected and treated as a whole, the human being should not be. "You are valued" leaves room for people to be imperfect and not excellent in some areas. Unlike beauty, it can be applied equally to everyone. It means: "I see you and respect your rights to personality and dignity, regardless of your strengths and weaknesses." I don't wanna be beautiful. I want to be valued. Heather M. Jones is a writer, mother, and Torontonian. She writes about parents, humor and social justice issues. She can be reached through her website at www.hmjoneswriter.com. Do you have a personal story you would like to see published on HuffPost? Find out what we are looking for on here and send us a proposal!Love HuffPost? Become a founding member of HuffPost Plus today.More from HuffPost PersonalI borrowed $ 20,000 to marry myselfI went viral for admitting that weed makes me a better mother. Here is what everyone is ignoring.I gave up on love and it was one of the best decisions I ever madeThis article originally appeared in HuffPost.

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