“Please stop debating whether or not I’ve aged well. Unfortunately, it hurts all 3 of my feelings. Youth and beauty are not accomplishments. They’re temporary, happy by-products of time and/or DNA. Don’t hold your breath for either. A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, someone else might’ve given a f—.” – Carrie Fisher
I feel the same about *most* celebrities as I do about politicians. At best, I’m lukewarm-to-apathetic. But nevertheless, I’m going to quote a celebrity. A few weeks ago, Carrie Fisher passed away, and sadly it was only after she died that I had the opportunity to read some of her finer, saltier quote-worthy statements. This one really stuck with me. And while I am starting to deplore the mindless modern practice of using the term “badass” as a catch-all for any time a woman does something beyond standing still and looking pretty, I think Fisher’s message here was in the upper echelon of certified badassery. Not “female badassery,” like it’s somehow different…just…badassery. And I wish more people understood what she was truly getting at.
Before I dive in here, I want to acknowledge the sadly symbiotic relationship here, that in order for me to write a post about why looks don’t portray inner qualities or a lack thereof most of the time, I kind of have to validate people making really stupid comments about peoples’ looks. Cause I feel like if I don’t acknowledge it, nitwit assholes will point that out, and I make it a sport of beating them to the punch.
As we approach the exit of President Obama and the inauguration of President-Elect Trump, I have noticed it becoming curiously popular for people to bring up Michelle Obama’s looks as some sort of back-door indictment of her husband and/or their shared politics. Because those two things are obviously so connected? This confuses me and also troubles me. The most common cut-down I’ve heard? Well, I’ve heard varying phrasings, some more creative than others, but it typically amounts to a comparison of our First Lady to a dude.
In other words, some folks are saying Mrs. Obama “looks like a dude.” Somehow, this is the pinnacle of what many people can come up with to express their dislike of her politics. That she allegedly “looks like a man.” Says who? Who decides that? And which man does she look like? Folks can’t seem to produce her supposed male doppelganger. But that’s what they keep saying. And THIS is the thing that they zero in on. They could go with “I disagree with her stance on ____.” But no…they go with “looks like a dude.”
Now, if I sat here and told you I was a card-carrying liberal, I’d be lying. I am not. Nor am I a full-on conservative. And I don’t apologize for either of those stances. Plus…well, it wouldn’t be any of your damn business anyway, now would it? But this business of hurling insults about how this beautiful woman LOOKS? Come on, people. If you have a complaint about someone’s politics, have the chutzpah to present a cogent explanation of what you disagree with and leave it at that. Let your stance speak for itself. That’s how adults behave.
And it’s not just your everyday people doing this! It’s “the media.” Though the term “the media” doesn’t actually mean anything. “Media” is merely a qualifier for what may be a magazine, newspaper, radio station, etc. – media literally means the communication outlet. Not Anderson Cooper. He’s a journalist. That’s not a question. Anyways, just take a look at this headline and tell me it isn’t total crap:
“How clothes defined Michelle Obama?” I’m sorry, did the copywriters at The New York Times think that was going to charm intelligent women, when they wrote THAT headline about a woman who graduated from Princeton? “The media” is just as much to blame for this. It’s far too popular to tear down someone – especially women – for their appearance if you dislike their stance, their songs, their book, their words, their beliefs, their ____. It’s so, so easy. And if it’s not easy, then the next best thing is to say that they themselves are easy.
And I want to be inclusive here. In just as much as I’ve read hatefully vapid comments on Mrs. Obama’s looks from the one side of the aisle, I’ve heard just as many “slut-shaming” (hatehatehate that term) comments about Melania Trump. Yeah, I’m lookin’ at you, “women’s rights” people. Y’all came out in DROVES with those naked pics of Melania, and I’m taking you to task for it. Cause it’s really easy to defend the past salacious modeling shoots of someone whom you agree with. It’s very do-able to defend someone whose politics you agree with from the masses of “haters” who are “hatin.” But it’s a whole other thing to have to try to practice what you preach when you really, really don’t want that person’s husband to be the President of the United States of America.
Funny how that works, ain’t it?
Anyways…Ya know, in my lifetime, I’ve been called a lot of things based upon my looks. You name it, I’ve probably been called that.
Boyish. (Sounds fun)
Weird. (My personal favorite)
Chubby. (Certainly at times)
Wide Load. (My high school nickname, kid you not, and I definitely, definitely had the last laugh, I’m happy to report)
Too skinny. (Heh)
Too muscular. (Thank you)
Big jaw. (Team Underbite! You should see my kids!)
Man face. (…I feel like I should quote Austin Powers here?)
Angel face. (Eww)
Bitch face. (That one might be fairly true)
Slut. (At points, sure.”
Hot mess. (Abso-friggin-lutely)
Did that stuff hurt? At the time, sure. Not so much now, but anyone who tells you they enjoy being called those things is either lying or lying. Though personally, if Donald Trump ever called me ugly, my first response would probably be “Oh, thank God.”
My dad wasn’t perfect, but he and my mom were and still are substance people. I don’t agree with them on everything (some politics included), and that’s okay. Because they had this crazy idea that maybe I’d go on to do pretty cool things that had nothing to do with my looks. They had this wild, hair-brained idea that they might ought to help me learn to form arguments and inform opinions, rather than teach me that my main source of worth was my looks.
Strength, an attractive body, and good looks all fade. We are dust. If you don’t like someone’s opinions, their character, their politics, whatever…dig a little deeper than “She looks like a man.” Find something concrete to take issue with. Make it count with a real indictment of whatever it is you disagree with. Don’t waste our time with a sad attempt at an insult. Because there will come a day that those who are currently busy kicking ass and taking names will be living a life they are pleased with, living out the purpose God instilled in them, removing the mirrors from their walls because they no longer bear as much value as an extra family photograph would.
You’ll wonder where is the relevance of your opinions? Suddenly all our bodies will be old and our (man) faces wrinkly, and it’ll be 6 of one, half dozen of another. Will it matter anymore? Nope. And it’ll be too late to make it matter. Cause a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, someone else might’ve given a f—.
But by then, they won’t.