I made a decision to never call a woman “ugly.”
Beauty is a subjective concept, open to expansive interpretation. The idea of “beauty” came into my consciousness when I was in elementary school. I was called “ugly” because my hair was nappy and my skin was dark. I saw the lighter skinned girls with long hair shine as the example of beauty in the minds of 8-year-old boys. They were the most popular girls on the playground, and I wanted desperately to be one of them.
As I got older, the idea of beauty was even more stringent. Throw in puberty, where my large features developed at different stages, and I was a mess. Smeared in acne scars and mismatched weaves, I became even more aware of my looks.
Throughout my journey into womanhood, the media showed me the correct beauty standards. Perfect complexion, expensive clothes, effortless makeup, flawless hair…. it was all enough to send me into psych ward. I couldn’t compete with the parades of women that were universally beautiful.
But, I did feel better when there was a woman I knew was “ugly. I berated her, and compared myself to her. I undermined her existence solely on what she looked like. And, when I started wearing makeup and found the perfect hairstyles, I couldn’t be stopped. I finally achieved a fictional sense of self esteem.
But, as more as I explored the notions of feminism and female empowerment, I realized that beauty was simply a patriarchal method meant to compartmentalize the diversity of womanhood. Fixation with beauty was merely a tool to drive a wedge into the female population; as a way to distract us from what really matters. Why take time attaining political clout, when how we look is all that really matters? No.
And now, I don’t ever call a woman “ugly” based solely on her appearance. And if I do call a woman beautiful, it’s because I recognize a refined spirit within. Subjective looks do not matter to me. It doesn’t matter if a woman is beautiful or ugly, all that matters is her wit, ambition, passions, and diligence. Any woman who is able to fight for her rights and trample the intangibility of patriarchy, is beautiful in my books.
I suggest you all do the same. There are a billion things that are objectively “ugly.” Here’s only 25 of them…
1. The 800,000 people who died in the Rwandan genocide.
3. Jerome Murdouch, a mentally ill man who roasted to death in Rikers last month… but we’re just finding out about it.
4. The 35.3 million people living with HIV/AIDS.
5. Mothers who are forced to sell their daughters in sex slavery.
6. The rising cost of college.
7. NYC public schools being the most segregated in the country.
8. The potential $6 trillion spent on the unnecessary Iraq War.
9. The dwindling American middle class.
10. Super PACs.
11. How the high rate of European unemployment is fueling Neo-Nazism.
12. Half of Congress are millionaires, the highest in history.
13. Oprah, an accomplished businesswoman and global icon, is still a victim of racial discrimination.
14. American income inequality is growing and growing and growing.
15. Heroin use is on the rise due to prescription drug abuse, accessibility, and cheap costs.
16. 12 million Americans hold $1 trillion in student loan debt.
17. Over 100,000 people have been killed in the ongoing Syrian crisis.
18. Child soldiers who are forced to kill, maim, and rape.
19. The 22,000 homeless children in NYC.
20. High rates of domestic violence in gay couples, and the stigma that surrounds them.
21. Child brides and the socioeconomic hardships they’re exposed to.
22. Hell, gender based violence in general is ugly.
23. People who believe that diversity = white genocide.
24. Police misconduct.
25. The opinions of Rush Limbaugh.