“Beautiful” is a bad word.
Similar to “swag,” its meaning has changed so much over time that it now means something not only completely ridiculous, but harmful.
“Beautiful” is a bad word — or at least its current definition makes it so.
Today, it is used the same way those price checker things at Target are used: to determine worth. And there are two huge problems with this system.
1) Beauty is not a measurement of worth. Plain and simple.
2) We as a society always feel guilty that some humans are shown to be more “expensive” or “valuable” than others, so we bring out the coupons, go for the deals, and sometimes even employ the five-finger-discount. These are all fancy metaphors for LYING, btw. We lie to other people and tell them they are beautiful even when they are not because we know that everyone wants to be a sweet Michael Kors handbag — as well as own a sweet Michael Kors handbag.
So, let’s dissect problem #1.
Beauty is not a measurement of worth. You cannot buy gum balls with it, therefore you cannot you buy happiness with it. That should be a standard rule or something.
Anyway…. This a very negative theme in our society because a physical appearance does not give a person or their life meaning. Obviously. And I’m going to now firmly shut down the defensive response that people are beautiful in general and that we all have beauty on the inside. False.
Believing that people are beautiful in general is both subjective and just pretty much objectively wrong — it’s rather idealistic. There are very ugly components of people that should not be overlooked when discussing the nature of people “in general.” I mean, honestly, who said it better than Thomas Hobbes? Primitive human life is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”
Next, “beauty on the inside.” This only adds to my observation that the word “beauty” is being used incorrectly. The inside is full of bones, organs, and a whole lot of blood. Not exactly aesthetically pleasing, at least not “in general.”
I get that we want to be optimistic and look through that rosy glass, but when you start defending the illegal obtaining of a murder weapon by calling it a civil right then you’ve put yourself and everyone around you at risk. Apples are apples and oranges are oranges. I suggest we stop calling them the same thing — or comparing, just as that saying tells us to do. Or whatever.
So this leads us to the realization that yes, it’s okay to say that someone isn’t beautiful. You won’t die or be cursed or start melting if you do because you are being honest. The truth hurts, right? Right. Okay.
The second problem is the bigger problem. It encapsulates more flawed human tendencies than any Degrassi episode I’ve seen (a.k.a all of them) and addressing it forces us to take responsibility for our own insecurities, as well as our own conceit and condescension. Yikes.
Because beauty has evolved to become a value of worth, it has been a somewhat natural reaction to try to make people feel more valuable by calling them “beautiful.” We do this because we want them to feel good about themselves because we’re good people. Or we do it because we want to feel like a good person for wanting to make someone feel good. Or, we simply want them to return the favor.
There are basic needs, as shown by the lower levels of Maslow’s hierarchy: shelter, food, water, etc. But above that are the needs for attention, acceptance, and love. This is a common goal and whether we want to help someone achieve it or we want to achieve it for ourselves, that drive still exists. However, the B-word is not the right vehicle for getting there.
It has become sort of common courtesy to try to lift someone’s spirits or make them feel loved by telling them they are beautiful, but calling someone “beautiful” does not increase their value as a person nor does it increase the value of their life. It does not give them meaning, purpose, or happiness. It does not pull someone out from the gutter and make them shiny and new again.
A person’s value is completely separate and uninfluenced by your words, your opinion, and their exterior. It is both ignorant and arrogant to think otherwise because you or I or we, collectively, cannot assign a value to a person. We don’t have the power nor the authority to do that — and we shouldn’t want it. So leave it alone!
I am not accusing any single individual of starting the movement of the dangerous B-word, but I am challenging anyone reading this to reevaluate their use of the word because its misuse and abuse has intoxicated our minds so we believe that physical appearances are more important than, let’s say, a brain, or a sense of humor, and that a single word is sufficient enough to satisfy a person’s emotional needs — all false.
We know this and we know that we know this. It’s just a matter of saying that you know you know this, because the first step to change is recognizing the need for change.
So, on that note, I want to thank you for making it through this rant-like, aggressive pep-talk. You’re super cool for that.
Until next time,