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Choosing Your Words

Posted: Jul, 6 2020

On June 27, the review “Pretty Ugly: New book explores the science behind our personal tastes” was published in the Globe and Mail.

It is disturbing how people use the word “ugly” with regard to others, as so easily thrown around in Kate Taylor’s article on the book, “Pretty Ugly” by Daphne Maurer and Charles Maurer.

As a person with a face that is far outside the norm and certainly asymmetrical, it is always hurtful when people think it is okay to refer to me, and folks like me who look different, as “ugly”. Sadly, this is an acceptable term in our society, as once again reinforced by Taylor and the Maurers. I am not “ugly” and have thankfully experienced that people are more complex than portrayed by those who attempt to use “science” to shrink our tastes down to simple, seemingly benign formulas. As I’m sure is not the Maurer’s intention, unfortunately, as in the study of eugenics, portraying this as “science” can support a rationalization for seeing people like me as “lesser than” and okay to exclude.

Like for so many groups, if popular culture would include representations of folks like me on tv, in the movies, and in our magazines, in positive ways instead of always as a villain it would support the reality that we are all actually different and unique. In that, as humans, we have an overwhelmingly commonality that can bring us together, instead of seeing some, like me as “ugly”, wretched, and okay to classify as unacceptable.

Words hurt. Please think of all of us when choosing which ones you use.