Ugly Women Have More Fun


“‘I’d give a lot to achieve fun,’ Elphaba said. ‘The best I usually hope for is ‘stirring,’ and when people say that they’re usually referring to digestion.'” ~from Wicked

I am an ugly woman. It doesn’t bother me in the least.

Despite the whispered assurances of my parents that I was, in fact, pretty (what parent, after all, would tell his or her offspring the unvarnished truth), I’ve known I was ugly for a long time. From the time I turned thirteen I knew beauty was not among my gifts. Wit, yes. Athletic ability, all right. Academic ability, fair enough. I was never going to be pretty. If I’d have been Sleeping Beauty with the gifts from my fairy aunties, they skipped out on that part.

For a long time I went through the Phases of Grief when it came to Being Pretty. Denial: I’d grow out of it somehow, like the Ugly Duckling. Bargaining: I’d gladly swap a few dozen IQ points if it meant being gorgeous. Depression: I wasn’t beautiful, therefore, everything sucked. Now that I’m older, I’ve slid comfortably into Acceptance, and it feels great.

In my acceptance of my ugliness, I’ve taken notice of many things. Namely, that I spend a lot less time and effort trying to look attractive for…who? A potential suitor? Would-be employers? Some nebulous concept of “guys?” I make sure my hair is brushed and my clothes are clean and I smell like something fresh and clean. No makeup, no expensive hair products, and certainly none of the crazy things that pass for fashion these days. I spend the leftover cash on books and nights at the theatre.

It’s not as if I walk out of the house looking like a slob. I invest money in a decent hairdresser (one of the few luxuries I permit myself) and clothes from a funky, hipster-ish thrift store. I’m never going to get caught on People of Wal-Mart or some similar site. I’m ugly, not colorblind or fashionably challenged.

The real reason I have come to enjoy being an Ugly Woman, though, has nothing to do with clothes or makeup. It’s freedom. Because there are so few expectations of me now, I am free to do just about anything. I can make sarcastic remarks at the expense of people who annoy me. I can treat pathetic come-ons from men as a cat treats a mouse with a broken leg. If I travel, I don’t have to worry about unwanted attention. Because an ugly woman, like so many of the marginalized segments of our society, is invisible. If she is noticed at all, it is to garner the kind of pity people seem to reserve for the lame, the terminally ill, and the very strange.

Freedom is something I don’t see that most of the Pretty Women have. They are slaves to fashion, slaves to men’s expectations, slaves to whatever Hollywood and Madison Avenue tells them. Between being ugly and living a life like that, I’ll take ugliness.

To paraphrase the dwarf Tyrion from the terrific Game of Thrones series, I can’t forget what I am, but I can use it as a strength. And so I have. Ugliness doesn’t have to mean unhappiness or grief. It can be the beginning of many possibilities. I’m just starting to discover what those are.

This one is a little controversial…how do you feel about it? Would you agree or disagree on the concept of Ugly Women?

If you haven’t voted already, there’s still time to cast your vote for the winner of the first annual P&Q Hunger Games. It’s a tight race (Doctor Who vs. River Tam) and every vote counts!

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on October 2, 2012.

29 Responses to “Ugly Women Have More Fun”

  1. I don’t know what you look like so can’t comment upon your self-description. But I love this post. What the hell does “pretty” or ugly” mean, anyway? It sounds cliche, but really, all that matters is how you feel on the inside.

    When I was growing up, in my teens and early 20s, I was a bit overweight and had bad skin. I definitely thought I was “ugly”, and therefore I projected that image to the world. Then I got older, and my skin cleared up and my metabolism changed. But mainly I just became more confident, and that confidence changed the image that I projected.

    I’m 38 years old now, and I consider myself to be “pretty”. I guess maybe I am, by conventional standards. But that younger girl, who I always thought was “ugly”, is still in there, deep inside. I’ve just recently become aware of her again, and how she is still hurting me. Even though I am a confident, relatively successful person, I still base much of my life on approval from others. Only now am I really figuring things out so I can learn how to live life on my own terms, doing what makes ME happy.

    Anyway, I’m rambling but your post made me think. And I like that. Congratulations to you for being honest and secure in who you are.

  2. Reblogged this on Words From The Heretic.

  3. Love it. We are all beautiful.

  4. I never saw myself as pretty or ugly, I’m mostly not bothered. I’ve never worn makeup, even on my wedding day I only had some foundation at my sister’s insistence. I would end up rubbing my face and smudging myself! πŸ™‚ At best I can describe myself as attractive, but that is more to do with animation and interaction if I’m in the mood. I enjoy an eccentric dress sense. I don’t really understand the craving to be beautiful. I guess I could have made more of my physical attributes if I’d ever cared enough to bother, but I see myself as my mind more than my body. And I guess that’s how I want others to see me. If they can’t see past physical appearance they are unlikely to be people I can relate to anyway.

    • Eccentric dress is awesome. I agree with you fully about intellect and mind…those who don’t have it aren’t generally interesting to me, whether they’re physically attractive or not.

  5. Beauty and ugliness are not limited to the flesh. You truly are a beautiful spirit.

  6. […] you show glimmers of wisdom. You remember that you don’t have to look like Christina Aguilera, Chris Evans, Idris Elba or […]

  7. I think of myself as pretty much just average, not hideously ugly but not beautiful. Would I like to be beautiful? I think I would. But not so much that I’ll go to much effort to try to achieve it. And at this point, I doubt that much would achieve it. Wouldn’t want to undergo plastic surgery, unless perhaps I was scarred in some kind of accident. I do wear makeup (not gobs, no eyeshadow, no lipstick, but some), and I do feel a bit prettier with it on than without. But it really is more important to be beautiful on the inside. Sometimes if you feel you look good, though, I think it does help you to feel better about yourself. To quote or perhaps paraphrase Dr. Pepper (from PROS AND CONS): “When people look nice, they act nice.” But one’s definition of “looking nice” may be very different from another person’s definition. I don’t think it means we have to be beauty queens. But I think it is nice if, for example, elderly women can still get their hair done in the nursing home, especially if that has been a part of their life. Or maybe even if prisoners can have a hairdresser cut their hair. πŸ™‚

  8. Totally love the last quote – girls / women. REALLY love it.

    Came here via The Heretic πŸ™‚ This is a great post. I’d love to see this freshly pressed – it’s just great.

    I don’t know what you look like, but people often think they’re ugly when they’re not. As a teen, I felt SO UGLY (& fat – I was bulimic) that I would cross the road if I saw boys coming my way. I look back on my pics & think, thin hair, sure, but shiny & sweet girly, nice skin, brown, lovely eyes. I’m not sure if you’re as ugly as you think BUT if you are, then I’d sure say you’ve owned it! And good on you for that.

    I did love your post, & how you own your “ugliness”, but I really don’t think you need to name yourself an Ugly Woman, because you know, it’s a negative reinforcement to you whenever you say it, & I don’t think you need that – especially if you don’t have commonly “good looks”. I dunno, wouldn’t tell you how to live, but LOVED the post, yet came off wishing you wouldn’t call yourself an Ugly Woman.

    See you again – great reading! N.

    http://www.VodkaWasMyMuse.wordpress.com
    http://www.WordsFallFromMyEyes.wordpress.com

    • So glad you stopped by! You have a great point that our society has such warped images about what “pretty” or “ugly” really means. I’ll be sure to check out your blogs, too. πŸ˜€

  9. You are a beautiful person Heather! I’ve seen photos of you! Ha!
    We have probably all felt unattractive at one time or another. I have battled skin problems. But what I learned is that beauty emanates from a person’s soul.
    Don’t call yourself ugly. That’s just harsh!
    Loved the memes – hilarious!

  10. I definitely don’t think you’re ugly at all, but you are unusual. Because of that it wouldn’t surprise me if you actually garner more attention than you think you do. The real cloak of invisibility for women is age. Old women are truly free! It is one of the best things about aging. I feel more invisible every year and I’m only 42!

  11. I always thought I was pretty until today I was thinking how only 4 men have come on to me in the last 15 years. (I’m 30).

    When the thought crossed my mind that I’m probably not pretty, it was initially depressing but now I’m like, ah whatever, I really like the way I look. πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks, Ave. I think a lot of it is how we perceive ourselves and yeah, I haven’t been that interested in dating either. Which is cool. You just keep being your awesome self. πŸ™‚

  12. I have to agree with Yves St. Laurent on this one. “There are no ugly women. There are only women who do not know how to make themselves beautiful.”

    Sorry, Heather, but I have to disagree with you. I’ve seen pictures of you and never once had an opinion on your appearance. I used to ask my grandmother if I was pretty. She said to me what her mother said to her. “I never had a child so ugly or so pretty that anyone looked twice, and that’s the best blessing of all.”

    My daughter is exceptionally pretty. It makes her wary of the world. She never knows if people like her or just like to look at her. My grandmother was right.

    • That’s a great bit of advice on behalf of your grandmother. Looks are kind of a no-win situation, aren’t they? If you’re too good-looking you’re a sex object, if you’re not good-looking you have an uphill battle in life. Thankfully I tend not to judge by looks…I guess that’s one great thing about AS.

  13. Except for one thing. You have a lovely smile and very intelligent eyes. I did remark on that when I saw the picture of you with the flowers.

  14. I like your straightforward approach to the topic of being ugly. It sidesteps all tha tpointless stuff about ‘everyone is beautiful in their own way’ etc – if so, then what is the meaning of ‘beauty’? I think a degree of good looks is confining – I was never pretty but I was attractive and it hurts to let go of that and the attention that comes with it. if I”d never had it, it wouldn’t have hurt. I like your honesty. There’s more to being a person than looks.

  15. Another fantastic post. As a young woman, I’m 22, I have to say that the concept of beauty is thrust upon most women/girls my age and younger with a frantic need that drives most young girls/women to pounds of make-up and hours of getting “ready” in the morning for Junior High School.

    I was another “never bothered” girl. My parents also told me I was beautiful every day and if I think about it I was “noticed” by the boys and not for my A size cups. But it wasn’t ever important to me. I wasn’t raised to find outward beauty important.

    That all being said, pretty is as pretty does. If someone acts pretty, then they are pretty and that’s all there is to it.

    Here’s to the pretty women who wrote and commented on this post – We’re all beautiful. No qualifier. We all are! πŸ™‚

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