talking about flters and real beauty vs fake beauty and cultural standards etc always makes me think about all the victorian and edwardian novels i read, where the things that people thought about beauty were recorded at length. recently ive been reading a lot of Thomas Hardy (best known for Tess of the D’Urbervilles and Jude the Obscure) and there’s so much discussion of the beauty of people, particularly love interests, both men and women. and these writers, and their eras, and the culture of the eras, was of course obsessed with beauty and youth and also artificial beauty (being the eras of the really transformative corsets, not to mention some of the earliest industrialized or modernized beauty products or processes), as all human societies are to a greater or lesser extent in their own ways, but the thing that sticks out to me in reading these books is how beauty is not the singular or even the most important aspect of a person’s overall attraction. if someone has a beautiful face or figure, it is mentioned, but never to the obsessive, fixated extent that physical beauty is isolated from and elevated over all other features in modern american/western culture. there are plenty of protagonists or love interests in these books who are described as not young, or not remarkable, or not pretty, or even ugly or frightening, but nevertheless compellingly sexy and attractive, or simply interesting, or worthy in some way.
its weird that the cultural consciousness has become seemingly ignorant of non-physical attraction. like that anon that was in my inbox talking about how they were “normal looking’ and therefore “needed” filters in order to “compete” with attractive people. it’s a weirdly mercenary and capitalist view of the social economy, first of all, which absolutely is not zero-sum no matter how badly the social networks want to convince us that it is. but there was never a single mention from that person about their ability to charm or entertain or attract using anything except a fake photo of themselves. wild. im fuckin worried about them! im worried about every young person how has brain worms
when i was about 4 and starting to become aware of how much adults were obsessed with my appearance because i was dainty and blonde and could do a passable shirley temple imitation, my parents gave me a very serious lecture about what physical beauty actually meant: i didn’t work for it, it was given to me genetically. and someday, maybe sooner or more suddenly than anyone could predict, it would be gone. if accident, illness, or hardship didnt get me, old age eventually would. so with that being a certaintly, i had better build a life and a personality on something other than my looks. and i said, ok. every day i get older im more grateful for that advice and the fact i decided to take it to heart instead of trying to gamble on Being Hot for long enough to get job security. which is also a valid career choice but it’s a risky one. always better to have a fallback just in case.
#you know that one xkcd with the hunting-abandoned-pets-for-sport discourse? #that’s how I feel about beauty discourse #I am *completely* not plugged into this scene #and every once in a while I come across a missive from this‚ fucking‚ dystopic universe #do *all* allos have to deal with this kind of shit?? #I hope y’all get through okay in there #(this also gives me a very different perspective on aging discourse) #(it really rubs me the wrong way how many people assume that if one wants to avoid aging it’s because one wants youthful *beauty*) #(when to *me* it seems obvious to want youthful *functionality* and youthful *stability*) #(I’ve got one of those bodies that doesn’t really visibly change between ~13 and ~30) #(I’m 27 now and I’ve had this face for so long that even my faceblind ass can recognise it!) #(*not* looking forward to the day that I look in the mirror and see somebody else!) #(and more importantly I’ve been acquiring new chronic conditions almost every year since I was 23) #(and I shudder to think how many maluses I’m going to be operating under by the time I’m 40 or 50 or 60) #((…although in fairness it seems like some of them might not be permanent after all?)) #((some of my keloids seem to be fading and almost never give off growing pains or itching)) #((I still often itch *immediately* after sweating but it doesn’t consistently last until I rinse the sweat off anymore)) #((maybe someday I’ll be able to breathe outdoors again‚ or lie on a mattress without feeling every goddamn spring)) #((that would be nice)) #tag rambles #discourse cw? #is the blue I see the same as the blue you see #aging cw