dirty flaws

Posted by anya on December 4th, 2009 filed in Uncategorized

Sometimes it’s good to be out of your comfort zone. Recently, I found myself listening to a twenty-five year old woman talking about how she would one day like to be a nurse at a plastic surgeon’s office because then you are eligible for 80% discounts on the procedures. She said that she would get a breast lift because after she has kids her breasts will no longer look good. “And of course, I’d get lipo done” she threw in. Beyond thinking of what it is that made her buy into what looks ‘good’ and what doesn’t, I got to thinking about why it is that there are so many people who are uncomfortable with the idea of imperfection? It’s as if not measuring up to certain standards (no matter what these are) somehow makes you less than. But what happened to the beauty of the imperfect? What happened to liking messiness and flaws and scars and grit? This is not an attempt to sound noble or self-righteous, although I think that what I’m saying can be perceived as such. I am not immune to the desire to look good and my moments of vanity are probably no different than this girl’s. But I wonder whether there’s a certain amount of analysis that gets lost when we simply frame this issue in terms of ‘looking good’. Just the other day, I asked a friend why it is that many people feel the need to wear make-up; the reply was “well, because they look better with it.” This answer is both logical and valid; I also could have just as easily replaced ‘make-up’ with ‘plastic surgery’. I suppose, though, that the issue can’t just be about ‘looking good’. It’s about the room for imperfection within that. Why is it that it’s so crippling, for many people, to be ‘less than’? I think that perhaps this is more important that analyzing why certain standards are there in the first place (media, fashion models, marketing, etc.).

Funny that just as I was musing about all this, I came across this. And then I dug further and found out about the proposed “Bo-Tax” being framed as a feminist issue. Kate Harding’s excellent commentary is found here. And I was reminded that, a little bit ago, someone amazing started the Self-Love Project.

Reading all this has made me really grateful for the people in my life who thrive on imperfection, who see its uneven nature and smile.  For whom flaws are art. For those whose comfort zones stretch far beyond the set boundaries. I have so much love in my heart for these people that it feels like it’s impossible that all this love is real and circulating within me and somehow being felt miles and miles away from where I am.

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