- Ayanna’s class is putting on a play – ‘The Ugly Duckling’. The teacher is in the process of assigning roles and she starts with Ayanna. “You have the lead role Ayanna, you play the UGLY duckling” the teacher says. Ayanna’s joy knows no bounds. The protagonist is the star of the show, right? But the smile on her face soon vanishes as the teacher continues, “And Rikki you will be the beautiful Swan !” Ayanna is crushed. Her mind is befuddled with questions :
Isn’t she the one who’s supposed to transform into the swan ? Why was she chosen to play the ugly duckling while her friends got to be the other cute ducks ? Was it because she wasn’t attractive ? Was it because of her skin tone, a few shades darker than everyone else?
- Latrisha is your average high-schooler, and like everybody else has a tag attached to her by the “popular” clique. The tag is UGLY. She might be visually challenging you think ; but Latrisha is not unappealing (No, I don’t mean it in the “she’s-beautiful-from-the-inside” kind of way). Sure, she doesn’t have model-like looks, but she is pleasant in her own way. But why the tag then? Because she isn’t popular ? Because she is considered weird, as she is just very different from everyone else ?
Initially, She laughs it off, not letting the tag bother her. “They laugh at me for being different whilst I laugh at them for being just the same.” she thinks. But eventually, this very tag makes her lose her inner confidence – Why do they treat me like a lower lifeform just because I’m not part of the herd? She ponders.
- It’s senior prom and everyone’s busy getting dolled up for the night in the girls dormitory. “I look so fat in this dress!”. The girl in question is Violette, looking artificially flawless; perfectly styled hair & makeup and stick thin to boot. Then comes a swarm of girls consoling her, “No, you don’t, you look fabulous!”. Unheeded, she goes on, “I look like a wreck today ! Gosh, so UGLY !”. Witnessing all this, Cristy ponders, “This couldn’t be a self-esteem thing, she’s obviously very aware of her attractive appearance. She is using a word that can be so harsh when hurled at someone else, in a way that is so attention-seeking. It’s funny how she and many like her do that in order to fish extra compliments. Also why do I happen to hear the words ‘fat’ and ‘ugly’ being used almost synonymously ?”
- Two colleagues are walking along, talking about people at work. Silva – “Carmella is so UGLY that it’s hard to look at her”.
Susanna doesn’t answer. Deep in thought, she wonders – Silva has a terrible personality, doesn’t the word ‘ugly’ suit her better than anyone else ? Does it follow that someone who uses the word ‘ugly’ is ugly them-self ? Or is it that they can’t see the beauty of things? Also, why is ugly more often than not used for someone in the physical sense than the mental sense ?
- Darrik has casted many a sheep’s eye at Justina, clearly his lust for her cannot be contained. He proceeds to play every trick in the book, and finally gets her to go out with him. But his desperate sexual advances prove to be too fast for her comfort. She refuses him.He promptly dumps her saying, “I’ve already moved on. You’re UGLY anyway.”
That is the day she realizes how fragile a man’s ego is. Putting her down claiming she’s ugly wass an absurdity indeed. Did he say it consciously or unconsciously ? How can he use the word ugly to humiliate a girl he earlier wished to be with ? Why did he say that even though he definitly didn’t have this view before? Is it ugly when something doesn’t go your way?
All said and done, does the word UGLY only qualify as a mere opinion, negative as it may be ? Can it be deemed an observation ? Because sometimes it is used for no good reason at all. They say “Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.” This implies that everyone is beautiful in their own way. This puts me in a state of utter confusion.
Does this mean ugliness is a societal construct ?
Does ugliness even exist ?