beppo_astrid (beppo_astrid) wrote,

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Pondering the Self-Image Game

So, I was inadvertently reading a blog post the other day (located at, which I am not going to link to, because frankly I want nothing to do with her) and I was amazed that anyone could be so...hateful.

She seems to be personally insulted that people can consider themselves hot without being her personal definition of a "traffic-stopping uber-babe", a phrase which makes me throw up in my mouth a little.  (Also: uber isn't a word.  If you're dabbling in German, the word is über.  Those little dots about the "u" are important, and can easily be reproduced by using Alt+0252.  Any of the German vowels with umlauts [ä, ö, ü], can be properly Anglicized by adding an "e" [ae, oe, ue] if you don't want to go to the trouble of adding umlauts.  As an added bonus, this makes you look like a person who knows something about the source language, instead of like a complete moron.  But I digress.)

At any rate, my thought upon reading it was puzzlement as to why she and others seem to take it so very personally when people they don't think are hot are considered hot.  I mean, really, getting worked up because other people see a third party as attractive?  Pardon me, but you don't have a dog in that fight.  Why does it matter?

After pondering it all day (there wasn't much in the way of mental stimulation at work today), I think I have reached a conclusion: people like that are desperately trying to hide the fact that they have no idea what makes another person attractive.  They have no idea how to judge beauty.  As a result, they have set up a scorecard (thin, white, long-legged, large-breasted, symmetrically-featured, long blonde hair, moderately-tanned skin).  It's easy!  You just check off the characteristics of another person, and if they have a majority, then you know they're hot!  Nothing to it!

Now, let's use a musical analogy, because I love me some symphonic band.  Let's say you're judging band competitions.  Unfortunately, you have no idea what actually makes for good music, so you make up some rules: must have three sections, must have common-time, cut-time or waltz-time signature, must not be too fast or too slow, must be in an identifiable key, must not have abnormal instrumentation.  And for the most part, that kind of works.  You can go by those guidelines and pretty much get by.

And then you come across something like, say, Abram's Pursuit [David Holsinger] or 12 Seconds to the Moon [Robert W. Smith]. "Abram's Pursuit"  is played at 176 beats/minute, changes time signature 59 times (often into lovelies like 5/4 or 7/8), and has no key signature.  "12 Seconds to the Moon" is like 12 minutes long and involves, at one point, the instrumentation of a hammer and anvil, which have been pressed into service.

Oh, right, and they're both freaking gorgeous pieces.  Which completely fail by those guidelines set up before.

Strangely, though, their inability to fit within those guidelines does not make them less beautiful.  Rather, if someone disqualified their beauty based on those guidelines, one would invariably come to the conclusion that the judge possibly didn't really know much about music.

Have I lost you in the analogy yet?  Do you see how I'm comparing it to the beauty standard?  The people who are judging have no idea how to qualify beauty. So what do they do?  Make up some guidelines.  Hey, if you always use the same set of rules, maybe nobody will realize that you have no idea what you're doing!

But see...there are a lot of things that make up beauty.  Some of it's physical.  Some of it's personality, sense of humor, attitude, and intelligence.  Most of it is subjective.  And generally, if one area is lacking for you, then one of the other areas will pick up the slack.  (I suppose if you have none of those qualities, and are strange-looking, egotistical jerk with the intelligence of a ball-peen hammer, we could argue that you are not attractive. On the other hand, behold the internet: put up a myspace; someone will think you're hot, sooner or later.)

Unfortunately, the people who are willing to defend the beauty standard are defending it because that's the standard they've been judging themselves by.  They've been playing Texas hold 'em, and it turns out we're trying to play seven-card stud.  "But I've been dieting and tanning and bleaching my hair for years!  Therefore I deserve to be beautiful!"   Nooo, you only like those rules because that's the game you've been playing this whole time, not beause it's somehow more worthy than the game we're playing.

And instead of sticking to the same rules...I dunno, wouldn't it be nice sometimes to switch to a game that's less stressful and has a higher payout?

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