I got two super mean emails about my last post that went something along the lines of ‘ZOMG you think you’re so beautiful, how can you say x, y, z isn’t talented or beautiful enough?’ This led me to ponder the concept of beauty.
|Now THIS is not an average face|
For the most part, I think the majority of human beings fall under ‘average’ in terms of looks. Sure there may be a few ups and downs, but most people don’t really look different from one another. Let me be very clear that I consider myself as ‘average’ as well. This is exactly why models [whose primary purpose is to advertise a product] are beautiful—because their value is based solely on their looks. Beauty is actual facial symmetry—the more symmetrical a person’s face is, the more ‘beautiful’ he or she appears to fellow humans. Even babies discriminate between ‘beautiful’ and ‘average’ faces. Actors however, are judged on two levels: one being physical beauty and the other being talent. Think Barbara Streisand—she’s not conventionally beautiful but she’s super talented. Damn right I’m ticked off if a magazine that’s widely regarded to be an essential part of contemporary art decides to feature an untalented and average looking actress [again, this is average looking after what is presumably tons of photo-shop touch-ups so I’m more inclined to believe this girl comes under ‘below average’ for looks].
Makes me wonder why older Indian actors don’t push their untalented and not-beautiful children into something else. All you have to do is reply ‘honey, I think you should go to school’ when your precious pumpkin comes up to you and says ‘daddy, I want to be featured on Vogue.’ Unless, of course, if your kid does not have the mental ability to pass an exam. But no worries! You can always send them to interior-decorator school! Heck, I read another article in the same magazine about a completely run of the mill interior-decorator who happened to be the wife of a famous actor [she also came from a rich family].
Back to the biological aspects of beauty—even animals discriminate between ‘beautiful’ animals and ‘less than beautiful’ animals’. While animals, like humans, judge beauty by symmetrical features, they also equate beauty with health. Humans differ in that we tend to judge beauty based on cultural factors as well. In India, for example, a ‘lighter’ skinned person with unremarkable facial features is going to be considered ‘better looking’ than a dark skinned individual with perfectly symmetrical facial features. In North America [especially the US] beauty has turned into something of a paradox and people are categorized into ‘types.’ For example, keep in mind that this is strictly my opinion, Claire Danes and Uma Thurman (as talented as they may be as actors) are not beautiful, but they are considered beautiful because they fall into the ‘tall, blond, WASP’ category—which in turn propels them into being beautiful . When I think of beauty, I think of Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Johnny Depp, Iman, or Audrey Hepburn—they will look beautiful even if they shave their heads and put on a potato sack. I don’t believe the same can be said for Danes or Thurman.
So anyway, I don’t think people should be offended if I call anyone ‘not beautiful’ because, for me, 95% of the entire human population is not physically beautiful. The way I see it: 90% of people come under ‘average,’ 5% above average [beautiful], and 5% below average. Fortunately, human beings also distinguish others in terms of many other factors and not just physical beauty. I think qualities like compassion, intellect, sense of humour, and compatibility are far more important than physical beauty. What makes a person attractive is a combination of all these factors [including physical beauty]. It’s just that when I open a fashion magazine, I am not looking to find a combination of these qualities. I just want to look at beautiful images and possibly an overpriced product to buy in the future.