This, this, THIS.

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal webcomic. In the first panel, entitled 'What Usually Happens', a girl says to her mother "Mommy! My friends at school called me ugly", and her mother replies "Oh sweetie. No, you're beautiful". The second panel is called 'What Would Be Better'. In this one, the girl says "Mommy! My friends at school called me ugly", and her mother replies "Your friends are assholes".

Oh, SMBC, how awesome are you?
Seriously. So delightfully, wonderfully awesome. You see, one of the things that bugs me to a huge extent (and that I absolutely intend to write a proper post about, because I have Some Ideas relating to it) is the way that we seem to think it’s okay to place value judgements on how people look. It’s not just that we look a particular way. We look a particular way and that’s good, or it’s bad.

SMBC are right. The response to being called ugly shouldn’t be to say that you’re beautiful. It really, really should be that the very idea that your appearance is worthy of judgement is an asshole move. Your appearance is your thing, it’s your business. My aesthetic preferences in others are my thing, my kink, my business. Not generalisable, and definitely not worthy of giving people crap over.

…and now I get off my soapbox.



Edited: Gah, sorry that pic is so big. Not sure why resizing it isn’t working. Bah, humbug!

This, this, THIS.
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7 thoughts on “This, this, THIS.

  1. 1

    Okay, um. Yes absolutely TOTALLY AGREE.

    But. The converse also holds. Favourable judgements on my appearance annoy me every bit as much as unfavourable ones (maybe even more) and for much the same reasons.

    But when one says that out loud people seem to get rather cross and then there’s a bit of giving out and “Are you being exasperating ON PURPOSE?” and “You are clearly from the MOON” and well something blurble barble *total articulacy fail* guess people are complicated.

    *ahem*. More analysing please!

  2. 3

    Yes yes a million times yes. This comic made me squee so hard. I had a rough time as a child (I was “cute” and “pudgy” which is code for “OMG YOU ARE FAT AND HORRIBLE BUT ARE REALLY NICE OMG LOSE WEIGHT OMG YOU ARE NOT WORTHY OF ANYTHING GOOD) and I wish someone had said that to me. I’ve slimmed down significantly in my adult years and ANY comments on my physical appearance even if they are positive, leave me feeling kinda crappy. If you don’t mind, I’d like to include this on my blog’s link post that’s going up either today or tomorrow.

    1. 3.1

      Not a bother, link away!
      And yeah, I think people tend to have such a blind spot around the ways we tell each other that we’re awesome. I know that i do it myself- there’s a reflex to say ‘of course you’re not whateveritis’ instead of challenging the very idea that that’s valuable in the first place. And when you know that you damn well are that thing.. Ow.

  3. 4

    So much yes. I get ‘you’d be so pretty if only you’d get your teeth fixed.’
    And you know what? I do not give a damn about my teeth. They’re crooked and tannin-stained but I do well enough with them the way they are. I’m sick of ‘You’d be so pretty if…’

  4. 5

    Being called ugly is not an insult, being called asshole is.
    It just happens some person find some other ugly, so what? There are all kind of people judging people are something without knowing them, like assholes, at least if someone is ugly to you, you know it right away. And what are you gonna do if this person ask you? You lie?
    Plus, when a person is thought as ugly, sometimes, it isn’t the “hey, we don’t like her, let’s say she/he’s ugly”, she/he *is* ugly. It just happens. It just happens this person has something illogical on her/his whole face that makes it ugly. You can even be ugly when you are blond and thin (my aesthetics preferences in persons), so it doesn’t have anything to do with standards, damn. And it just happens some times others also find this person ugly, so she/he is ugly, right? It’s like with size, if you’re tall to a lot of people where you live, then you’re tall.
    When you call other people assholes for saying another one is ugly, aren’t you pushing some of your own preferences into them?
    It’s not their fault if it happens they find some person ugly and maybe are in a situation where they are forced to say it. A not-thought-enough lie would probably hurt the person as much.
    Nobody is making value judgement about how people looks. But your post is very judgemental.

    1. 5.1

      I entirely understand your point that we all have different aesthetic preferences, and that these shouldn’t be the basis for value judgements. Absolutely! What I find beautiful and/or attractive is likely to be different from what other people do, and that’s fantastic.
      And that’s the point, though, that I was making. When people say “you’re ugly”, they’re not saying “Subjectively speaking, I don’t find you aesthetically appealing, but YMMV”. They’re saying that a person is objectively ugly, and that that makes them less valuable. Just as we shouldn’t be judged for our aesthetic preferences, we shouldn’t be judged negatively for our innate characteristics. While you might be into blondness and thinness, that doesn’t mean that thin, blond people are better. If I had a preference for dark-haired curvy people, that’s equally valid. And more importantly, people are equally valid regardless of how they look.

      Also, I’m not sure how you feel that nobody’s making a value judgement on people’s looks? Calling people ugly is making a value judgement on their looks. It’s imposing an objective judgement on a subjective experience. Given how much our society values (a certain kind of) beautifulness, being called ugly is absolutely a value judgement.

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