“How To: Feel Less Ugly”


Drawing by Leeanne Fang

Physical beauty has become one of the most important aspects of our society, impairing what should be valued in our world.

Lola Akinlade, Staff Writer

About two months ago, I came across this YouTube video from an indie filmmaker, Krist Yu. The video was titled “How To: Feel Less Ugly.” The title intrigued me because her videos were art and always had a deeper message; she was never one to place much emphasis on attractiveness.

In the video, she mentioned that she came across a Tumblr post that read, “Feeling ugly? Spend 2 hours at Walmart.”  So, she went to Target and observed people for two hours, just like the Tumblr post said. Her conclusion was that when you spend time in such an everyday store, you realize that a majority of people are ugly.

One thing she mentioned really struck me. She divulged that, “Not everyone is beautiful physically, and I can’t tell you, ‘You are all beautiful physically.’”  My initial reaction was one of anger because it was ingrained in my mind that everyone was physically beautiful in some way. However, after thinking about it, that logic didn’t really make sense. The reality is that not everyone fits society’s standards of physical beauty. If everyone was physically attractive, everyone would be models.

On the surface this should be an acceptable concept because beauty is a physical attribute and hypothetically shouldn’t hold that much value in our world. However, the concept of physical attractiveness infringes on the way many live their lives. The desire to achieve society’s view of physical beauty often causes insecurity within one’s self.

To put it bluntly, most people won’t reach society’s view of physical beauty, but that fact shouldn’t affect the way one views themself. There is so much more depth to mankind than the way we look. Obsessing over beauty is one of the most shallow aspects of our society. When we obsess over the physical, we lose a sense of ourselves. Our time is limited and uncertain on this earth, but we still waste time placing value in the symmetry of faces, instead of focusing on the more significant aspects of life.

In the video by Yu, she revealed that, “When someone is so passionate about something, that is so incredibly beautiful.” I could not agree more. Passion is beautiful. Curiosity is beautiful. Creativity is beautiful. Beauty doesn’t just lie on a symmetrical face.

People are consumed with society’s idea of physical attractiveness. Therefore, many are only drawn to people based on the way they look. In an informal survey conducted, 15 out of 17 students, who ranged from freshmen to seniors at LHS, said they were more familiar/interested with the life of 18-year-old Kylie Jenner, who is most famous for her face, specifically her lips, rather than 18-year-old Malala Yousafzai, who is a Pakistani activist shot by the Taliban while fighting for female education; she is also the youngest-ever Nobel Prize winner.

Although this sampling is a bit disheartening because it further exemplifies the value of physical attractiveness in our society, it is not shocking. Our media places a larger focus on Jenner than Yousafzai. This is not a criticism of Jenner, rather one of our society.

Media focuses on what they think people will be interested in. For a majority of my life, the focus in media has been on physically attractive people. Some may argue and say, “it’s not their fault they are attractive.” My answer to that is, of course, there is no harm in being attractive. The problem is the significance we place on being attractive. How much merit should physical attractiveness hold?