Thursday, 27 March 2008
07:19:47 PM (GMT)
When, as I have done, you talk to a lot of people who are very insecure about their
bodies and the way they look, you (or at least I) get to know those problems pretty
When, as I do, you have an anarchist (or world-rejecting in general) value system,
there is a dilemma that arises. Take this situation:
Sarah is insecure about the way she looks. She thinks she is not attractive, and her
self-esteem is thus very low. She sees no worth in herself, associated with her
Bob and Sarah are talking about this, and about how Sarah feels.
Sarah says that she feels horrible about herself because she is ugly.
Bob then is presented with a problem. Does he say that he thinks she is beautiful, or
does he say that he thinks it doesn't matter what she looks like, she's a beautiful
person, even though he does think she is beautiful.
If he takes the first route, there might not think she's ugly for a little while, and
thus her self-esteem might get better, but ultimately she'll probably sink back down
to thinking she's ugly and thus feeling worthless.
If he takes the second route, she might not agree with him, or she might not have
thought of it. It will probably not result in her feeling instantly better (it might
be taken as an "Yeah, you're ugly, but..." kind of statement). It's also very
difficult to break the ingrained notion that a woman's sense of self-worth should be
attached permanently to her appearance.
What's more, the first route actually enforces the very system that makes Sarah feel
worthless in the first place. So what's Bob to do? This is my dilemma.
It takes an extreme amount of effort for someone to break out of the notion that
beauty==worth. If Bob and Sarah are casual acquaintances, he's not really in a
position to help her with that, and yet it is the 'general public' of which he is a
part that cause her to feel this way. It's also obvious that if no one chose the
temporary solution, the problem would be over.
I think, in nearly every case, we should help people to break out of the value system
that causes Sarah to feel worthless. The beauty system works in such a way that the
average person will never achieve the 'beauty standards', because beauty is defined
as better than average, elevated above the masses.
This is why I am annoyed by people who charm everyone by complimenting them on their
appearance. They're just perpetuating the the beauty system. I will go more onto
alternatives to this system in another essay, I expect...