Wednesday, 4 April 2012

"And god help you if you are an ugly girl/'course too pretty is also your doom/'cause everyone harbors a secret hatred for the prettiest girl in the room"

I can understand why any real discussion on the politics of beauty raised in Samantha Brick's Daily Mail article is being undermined under a tide of ridicule; women openly admitting confidence of this magnitude is considered an ugly thing, an exercise in vanity rather than an observation on women's internalized misogyny, and the Mail is renowned for baiting readers with terrible writers and right-wing rhetoric. But whether we like it or not, Brick is right: women can be the worst haterz.

Girls are trained to be deeply judgmental, of themselves and each other. Society teaches us to internalize rules about body and beauty and behaviour, and to enforce these ideas in competitive, violent and self-destructive ways. Women are rarely encouraged to truly support each other, and being bold enough to claim yr a victim of prettiness is massively taboo because it destabilizes the idea that women are  rewarded (in any true, meaningful or lasting way) for being pretty. We are socialized to strive for beauty, to pluck, starve, bleach and surgically modify our way to beauty, but never own it. Confronting the ways women punish each other - for being too pretty or not pretty enough - is uncomfortable, because it means acknowledging our part in propping up patriarchy, but the issue of the Mean Girls/Dawn Wiener syndrome is a conversational we need to have, preferably in more radical and progressive spheres than the pages of the Daily Mail.

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