I was in a book discussion group and we were discussing a character and a woman described her as having it all--beauty, personalty and brains.To me it sounded like if a woman didn't have all three she missed out somewhere. Where does average looking fit in here?
Exactly. And that leaves out so many other things... what if you don't have beauty, personality OR brains, or you just have one or two of those, but you have perseverance, inner strength, creativity, humour, people skills, a specific gift or talent or several, ability with money, self-awareness, charisma, or any number of other assets and advantages?
I also think beauty is so much more subjective and less easily measured than many of the other things. I think a woman with personality and brains will likely tend to be described as attractive and beautiful if she makes any kind of effort to look good unless she has some significant or obvious flaws. There is such a wide variety of beauty aids to choose from in terms of superficial beauty.
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali
I think it would depend on how and why they said it, and who they were to me, to determine my reaction.
I agree with the poster who said that for women in this society, good looks are associated with wealth, power, success and tied up with so many other things. So to say that a woman is average looking is to deny a fundamental aspect of her that is important to her life and goes far beyond how her features appear in a mirror. There are billion-dollar industries based upon helping women "make the most of what they have" to be attractive, so no one wants to hear that that has apparently failed, unless they are deliberately opting out. However, the acceptable range of what is attractive is so narrow and deliberately excludes so many people... forcing them to spend more time and money trying to fit in. It's all so subjective, and I think for most people, looks tie in with personality, character etc. so telling someone they are average-looking is like saying they also don't have any kind of personality to set them apart, and that would sting.
More and more in life, I am beginning to realize that there is so much more to a woman, and so much more to aspire to, and take pride in, and be noticed for, than looks. Everyone likes to feel good about themself and be complimented, but it's not the most important thing. For example, if you take Michelle Obama, just based on looks in photos, I would say she is "average looking." When people say she is beautiful, I see why - they're responding to her smile, her intelligence, her class, her strength, her symbolic role... but to me at least (and I know opinions vary) she is average looking, and I don't at all mean that in a bad way - I really admire her. Who cares if she is not Miss America or a pinup queen or a supermodel or a bombshell, and who says they are all that anyway? Why does she have to aspire to that? Why aren't her intelligence and her achievement and all her other strengths pointed to, and why is she primarily getting praise, or criticism, based on her looks and her clothes? If I had all of what she had, I don't think I would really even care what anyone thought I looked like. I think looks mean more when you don't have much else to you, and being in that position would bother me more than what someone else thought I looked like.
ITA with all of this.
As far as myself. I admit that just by looking at me, I look regular, average, something along those lines. I'm not a model, and I'm not a beast. But, I hope that my attractiveness improves upon further acquaintance.