Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Only Skin Deep

Although I have another blog post about education that I want to write, since my previous one was also on that topic I thought I'd take a detour for body image before returning to a topic that I prefer.

One of the things that I consider myself fairly good at is avoiding overvaluing appearance. Those of you who know me in person probably won't disagree. When I started college my standard attire became t-shirts and glorified gym shorts, probably rumpled. For the longer, if not better, part of the last four years how best to describe my hair would be a tie between Viking and Hagrid-ian. I find the assumption, made most clear in the movie 300 I think, that good is beautiful/handsome (and totally built) while evil is ugly and mutilated to be insulting. When I went to interview to be a Resident Assistant I heard that one of the interviewers characterized me as, "under dressed," but it was a two day interview process, and I only had one pair of pants at the time, and I got the job anyway!

However, consider my reaction to 300. I don't characterize the movie as being an oversimplification, an equivocation, or some other form of reductionist argument, I call it insulting. I consider myself among the unsightly, and I would prefer to believe, although you are free to correct me, that I am not particularly evil. I am forced to admit that one of the reasons that I do not value appearance is because it is an asset which I do not believe I possess. This is, of course, akin to assertions by the poor that money is not an indication of hard work (or divine favor), or the counter-assertions by the rich that it is.

As I noted in my previous post on body image, I do find most other people aesthetically pleasing in their own way, so intellectually I am forced to admit that it is possible that someone with an objective eye might classify my appearance as, "intriguingly novel," or "pleasantly eccentric," rather than "disturbingly ogre-ish" as often pops into my head in conjunction with my facial features. However, as is the case with so many things, just because I am intellectually forced to acknowledge that something is logically quite plausible, does not force me to believe it. While beauty may only be skin deep, crazy goes all the way through ones head.

1 comment:

Kelsey said...

I certainly agree with you on the 300 reaction. I believe humans are created in the image of God and that it is our bodies which are the glory of creation, which make it 'very good'. Of course, we aren't exactly what we're created to be, but I think we're all beautiful, both skin deep and in the the marvels of anatomy and physiology.

I haven't seen you in a few years, but I'd certainly say you're asthetically pleasing :) I agree that most people I know area, and I spend a lot of time working with all kinds of people in my profession. I'd never say ogre-ish. I think 'teddy bear-ish' is much more apt :)

Also, I remember being informed once that curly hair is just a side effect of the crazy leaking out of your head. That's certainly true for me! ;)