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thoughts on ugly femme pride

Recently, Natalie Perkins wrote what she deemed her ugly femme pride manifesto. It’s an intriguing read. She states she’s still working through it, and it personally only applies to her. It’s already caused a deal of dissent with the fatshion and feminism world and the discussions provoked have been fascinating to see.

I’m not entirely sure where I stand on it myself. I am all for marginalised groups reclaiming words and the reclamation of some words in general – after all, the fat acceptance movement has reclaimed fat, but I don’t know how I feel about the reclamation of the word ugly. There seems to be so much more of an emotional attachment to the word for some reason. Ugly feels … personal. I guess that’s the point.

At the same time, who am I to say this? If a person wants to identify as ugly, then that is their prerogative. It’s annoying for me to hear, “Oh, no, you’re not fat, don’t call yourself that” when I’m just stating a fact and not looking for compliments or validation. So for those who reclaim ugly, it would be annoying for people to assume they’re compliment fishing or needing validation every time they identify with the word and speak up about it.

Just as we don’t owe pretty to anyone, we don’t owe ugly to anyone either. Beauty and attraction are so incredibly subjective. One person’s hot is another person’s lukewarm. Not everyone has to be pretty. Not everyone wants to be. I don’t believe everyone is beautiful in the objective sense at all – I once heard someone say, that if everyone is beautiful, then no one is. I am conflicted about this train of thought as well. Who cares if one is beautiful? If no one is beautiful? What is beautiful? What is ugly? Can one “feel” ugly? Or can one just “look” ugly?

Often, fat and ugly are words that are intertwined, words that are spewed out of car windows. Words designed to burrow deep into the skin and weave to the brain, laying roots and destroying self-esteem. But if someone acknowledges that yes, they can be both fat and ugly, there is nothing wrong with that and it’s okay for them to be that way, is that revolutionary? Have we come that far? I don’t think we have, but I hope we might eventually. At the very least, it’s a thought-provoking discussion to take part in.

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3 thoughts on “thoughts on ugly femme pride

  1. I’m fine with people self identifying as ugly, but I think they need to be careful of privilege and NEVER ascribe that word to features they do not have themselves.

    Personally, I don’t intend to “reclaim” ugly because it’s subjective, and because it’s not a legitimate descriptor, like fat, tall, hairy, etc.

  2. Thanks for your thoughts!

    I tend to agree — it is so subjective that using it as a universal descriptor, rather than as a personal one is fraught with iffiness (yes, I made up a word!). If a person chooses to self-identify, they should be careful and examine their position. Which I would hope they would.

  3. Pingback: The ugliest effing sweater and the Brisbane Fatty Clothing Swap

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