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Is ugly the new beautiful?

I was watching Sunrise this morning and there was a segment on the relatively new TV show ‘Ugly Betty’ which had sparked the question ‘is ugly the new beautiful?’
This ‘Betty’ character – who is supposedly ugly, with her glasses, mouth full of braces and who is a bit of a klutz – is apparently sending out the message that you don’t need to be beautiful to land a great job, that beauty is about more than how you look.
The first thing I noticed, was that the actress portraying this character really wasn’t ugly at all – it was just that they had attempted to uglify her (sterotypically) with glasses, braces and a different sense of dress style…
Just wondering what kind of message does this send out to impressionable young people who wear glasses and braces – people who probably already feel self-conscious enough as it is…???

3 thoughts on “Is ugly the new beautiful?

  1. I think it reiterates the whole notion of being ‘ugly’. I think it will do nothing for the self-esteem of young women. As it is, I am currently in the process of organising to have my teeth straightened. Why do I want to do this? Because of course having straight, white teeth is ‘beautiful’, even though I get compliments on how cute my teeth are at the moment, I feel they are not stereotypically ‘beautiful’ and therefore they need to be fixed. Instead of getting braces and putting up with the endless taunts, I have opted for the clear alingers with new ones worn every two weeks even though they are more expensive. Im doing this because I dont want to be considered ‘ugly’ by having crooked teeth and by having braces. What does this really say about our perception of ‘beauty’? As I said before, I DO get compliments on my teeth but as a female feel because they are not ‘perfect’ then they are not ‘beautiful’.

    What also does this show say when only ugly people seem to be smart and ‘beautiful’ people always have to be stupid. Possibly just an unfortunate relection of society I guess.

  2. I think the word beautiful used in this context meant two different things and not in the typical ‘attractive/unattractive’ way.

    Firstly you have the sterotypical beauty in America, which is tall, thin, big boobs, small hips a size zero. Now for a lot of the hispanic population this is very unrealistic, although I’m sure many of them would think of that as beautiful.

    Secondly its the industry which she has chosen, I have a tinsy bit of insight into the fashion world and its all about appearances, but more importantly the presentation of your appearance. I don’t think anyone could look at Betty and say that she was fashionably dressed. Its like becoming a fitness trainer while being obese, doesn’t work so well. When you dress fashionably you are demonstrating your knowledge of fashion and of the fashion world.

    Being fashionable, and maded up is hard work too. The models don’t wake up and look like they do in the photos, hours of work goes into making someone look pretty. People who maintain their fashionable ‘beautiful’ looks consider it work and in a way it is.

    The main reason I think its her presentation rather then her appearance that they’re critical of is on her first day the receptionist asks ‘are you the before? the before and after shoot?’

  3. I’ve had braces in the past, it was certainly my choice but it was also because my dentist had harangued me for years to get the braces. By the time I got the things, I actually didn’t need them. For whatever ridiculous reason, I had felt as though someone had been telling me I was fat for several years (ever since I was an impressionable child)- criticizing me and pointing out a flaw or imperfection. Only by going through with the decision was I able to realize why I had felt compelled to do so in the first place. So am I perturbed about the “Ugly Betty” thing? No, I am not upset. I believe she is a wonderful boon to telivision. As a disabled woman, I constantly have my shortcomings pointed out to me by doctors and friends. I’m constantly told I need to excercise more, that I’m obese, and that I shouldn’t be disabled. I also think we are our own worst critics and when someone else criticizes us, we are a steaming teapot just ready to tip over. Maybe Ugly Betty shows us it’s okay to laugh at ourselves because no one is perfect at the starting line. Besides, she’s not the only character with flaws.

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