I could be the ugliest, most grotesque women on the earth and I would still be the flyest muthafucker breathing. Because I am brilliant, I am bold, I am relentless, ungovernable, unsociable, and an intentionally molded human archetype of Maame Wata herself. Chale, I just dey be kɛkɛ. Feminists are Ugly? So fuckin’ what? The looks of feminists are completely irrelevant to the global movement for equitable social conditions. It is about time the focus on women shifted from whether our bodies aesthetically appeal to men, to what we contribute to this world as people. Not everyday self-worth because you fit into arbitrary social standards of beauty. Not everyday self-worth because of the opinions of random bald men on the internet about your looks. Sometimes intrinsic self esteem because
fuck it nigga you’re here.
Consistently, misguided men on twitter spend tremendous time and effort telling outspoken women feminists such as myself that that we should be sad because they do not want to stick their penises in us. Apparently, we (women feminists) are supposed to feel bad about ourselves because random men on the internet do not find our images desirable. The arrogance of patriarchy is the evaluation of women’s looks from behind anonymous twitter accounts where their own looks are hidden in cowardice. The arrogance of patriarchy is the bloated sense of importance that makes one believe that their beauty evaluation of me is relevant. The arrogance of patriarchy is the reduction of women’s worth to two dimensional images on the internet.
Ugly is the subversive. It is where women are not allowed to be, and thus it is a space I am constantly shoved into, as a mechanism to demean me. But I am comfortable in this space. Because my self-worth is not based on whether people gain pleasure from looking at me. It is based simply on existing. I am therefore, I am.
Beauty is the price that women are supposed to pay for occupying space here on earth. Sexist gendered notions do not understand women to be people, and thus women are continually reduced to human fuck toys whose bodies exist for cis heterosexual men’s pleasure and consumption. Big ass, big breasts, small waists, clear face, toned arms, shapely thighs are a few of the rules that guide women’s bodies to make men happy.
And big businesses are profiting from this phenomenon. The key is to get women to think that our value is tied to desirability, so they can sell us products in our desperate attempt to cling on to worth. Is your hair too kinky? There’s a product for that. Is your nose to wide? There’s some make up to contour your face. Is your body too fat? There are some pills for that. Is your skin too dark? There’s a cream for that.
Do you smell that in the air?
NO. That is not the smell of a spilled chemical plant. It is the stench of affordable bleaching cream mixed with deep seated rancid socially induced self-hatred, smoldering in the Accra air. That waft you smell is the cost of toxic beauty standards on the health of Ghanaians.
For privileged feminists with social capital, this is a major reason to not to shy away from the term “ugly”. Ugly serves as a psychological bind. It serves to make women feel unworthy and to spend time, effort, resources, and stress seeking to prove that our bodies possess beauty as a means of worth.
(For poor women I cannot preach an abandoning of beauty as an ideal. Beauty may mitigate harsher treatment and abuse. Beauty may be a means of survival as men with capital may deem these women worthy of spending resources upon. Frankly, because I do not occupy such a social position, I am not in the business of telling poor women what to do. Privileged feminists must continue to focus on dismantling inequitable classist institutions that make the rich richer, and the poor poorer, rather than preaching to poor women.)
But to focus on the topic at hand ! Beauty is often a politicized trap for women. It is the basis of women’s worth, and as such women strive to attain it to ensure that we matter. It is a means to get women to re-focus our energy, our resources, our talents into being desirable for men. It is work ! Women that are not considered desirable become continual targets of mockery and malicious comments.
Which is why ugly is such a comfortable space for me. To be clear, I do not think that I am actually ugly. I feel desired, comfortable in my body most days, and in awe of what my body can do. But the category of ugliness is not something that I shy away from. Ugly is the subversive. It is where women are not allowed to be, and thus it is a space I am constantly shoved into, as a mechanism to demean me. But I am comfortable in this space. Because my self-worth is not based on whether people gain pleasure from looking at me. It is based simply on existing. I am therefore, I am.
I am here, so I matter.
I am here, so I have value.
I am here, and so you cannot take my worth away unless you kill me.
Whether I make your dick hard or not is irrelevant. I am here on this earth. So I will make the best of it. I cannot however, make the best of my time on this earth if I become sad every time a man calls me ugly.
Ugly…..and? Should I cry?
I encourage women to rethink the basis of our worth. To shift from an aesthetic based value to an intrinsic basis of worth that is resilient and unwavering in the face of
fuck boy behavior condemnation.
As Biggie said “Black and ugly as ever”,
We could change the world forever.