Wow! Ugly people have value, too!

You've probably heard of (and heard) the newest singing sensation, Susan Boyle from Britain's Got Talent. She's in her late forties, has never been kissed, and is decidedly un-pretty by contemporary standards. But she sings - forgive the cliche - like an angel.

I'm always amused, in a kind of ticked-off way, when people's mouths turn into O's and they point in wordless shock at someone who has more than a fair share of talent but is not 'beautiful.' Clearly, women bear the brunt of this surprise, since men are usually more vaunted for what they can do, and what kind of person they are, than what they look like.

Why is it that we still equate beauty with virtue, talent, morality, and ugliness with corruption and worthlessness? We will never be the 'enlightened' world we assume we should be in the 21st century, as long as we can't wrap our tiny brains around the fact that people are not objects. It is impossible for our facades, our appearances, our decaying bodies to accurately represent the maturity of our souls, the many trials we are set to, the endless moments in which we change for the better or the worse and then back again.

(Why do we retain this malfunction? Is it survivalist prejudice, sexual attraction, lower-order thinking? Or - for more adventurous minds - do we keep the memory of another time and place in the deepst parts of ourselves, a time and place in which what one saw was what one got, and we can't shake this memory, to our own misfortune?)

Nobody lays awake at night because an ugly couch is neglected. And far too often, no one cares when someone is judged, withheld, robbed of opportunity because they don't supernaturally embody holiness and light.

Susan Boyle is decidedly un-pretty by standards put in place when humanity on this earth first sprang. That her voice is such a shock to the masses says to me that those standards may very well be our legacy until the last of us takes their final breath.


Inga's Notepad said...

I "heard" Susan before I "saw" her. The media just seems to have a filed day with the concept that a person who looks non-descipt or less than average could possess such a melodic voice.

Goes to prove my Little Prince's fox theory that

“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Don said...

Here, I'll give you more food for thought: She's 47. This is not just about looks, it's about age.

(Have fun with that.)


PS: I take pictures of pretty flowers, not mature plants. (Partly we may have some bias called aesthetics. Or maybe we're just bigots. Or maybe both?)

Rebel Mel said...

It's funny. When I saw this on the news (YES THEY DID A STORY ABOUT HOW SHE WASN'T PRETTY BUT SHE WAS TALENTED!) I said that this whole thing reminded me too much of a movie.