The Good. The Bad. The Asinine.

Let me fix that for you… again

The last poster was stupid. This one’s just sad.

In the accompanying article, the woman in the photo, Belinda, explains that she was “born with a broken face”, and “despite some clever doctors doing their best to fix” her, she remains disfigured.

I am happy that she seems to have found some kind of peace with the hand she’s been dealt. But I also feel profoundly sad. Sad that she celebrates the beauty that her god sees in her, while simultaneously wishing she’d been “fixed”. Sad that she finds strangeness in the human reaction to her appearance, but not in the deity that bestowed it. Sad that she doesn’t realise that although “god doesn’t dislike us because of our scars”, he dislikes us enough to give them to us. Sad that, for every person who has managed the double-think required to love the god that cursed them, there are 1,000 others who’d swap the imaginary cosmic compliment for some kind of normality. And sad that, although Belinda was able to ask her god for answers, there are countless others, like my autistic nephew, who will never be able to.

And so, the more appropriate caption is this:

Reality is in the hands of the creator.

Belinda is beautiful. But she’s not beautiful because of the way her god made her. She’s beautiful in spite of it.
___

Edit: I had originally recaptioned the poster with “God. Messing with people’s heads since 4000 B.C”. Many thanks to Chrys for highlighting my insensitivity, unintentional though it was.

Category: Bad, Christianity

Tagged:

2 Responses

  1. I do wish we could get over judging people’s ‘beauty’ by the arrangement of their faces and the size of their bodies.

    Something I will always remember is seeing on television a survivor of the Rwandan war. His face had been terribly mutilated but he carried with him a photo so he could cheekily show people how good looking he ‘used’ to be. Surely his real beauty was in having suffered so much and survived with his sense of humour in tact.

    I remember, years ago, a man (who had known me when I was slim, and met met again when I wasn’t), “What happened? You used to be beautiful!”

    “I still am,” I replied. But it cut me to the quick.

    I have seen my incredibly intelligent male friends go on to RSVP and look only for trophy blondes, paying no regard to the level of their intelligence or the quality of their character. Of all the ‘qualities’ they sought in a woman, ‘slim’, ‘petite’ or ‘size 8-10’ seemed to be paramount.

    Judging beauty based on physical appearance seems as discriminatory to me as judging ‘normality’ based on sexual orientation. Who is to say that someone with an assymetrical face, or double chin, or squinty eye isn’t ‘beautiful’.

    And how many brilliant opportunities for loving, nurturing, exciting and fulfilling partnerships may have been missed because of an obsession with physical beauty?

    Women are not handbags or trophies (and nor are men). A woman (or a man) does not exist for the soul purpose of giving their partner ‘street cred’.

    Can we please stop commodifying each other and look beyond the physical to the real person?

    And I agree that Belinda is beautiful. But, the world is a hard place for women with Belinda’s particular kind of beauty and if believing in God is what helps her to deal with it, then I wouldn’t take that away from her for anything.

    Religion is a pernicious influence in our society, I agree but our fight is not with the innocent believers like Belinda. I have to admit, I do feel deeply uncomfortable about her image being exploited to make a point against the religion she so obviously holds dear.

  2. Tim says:

    Chrys,

    I agree absolutely 100% percent with everything you said. Thank you for your thoughtful comments; the last one in particular.

    Regarding the apparent focus on physical appearance… It was the poster that triggered a lot of these thoughts, and, posters being what they are, I guess it was always going to seem like I was focusing on physical appearance (i.e. because that’s what the poster did). But, with my references to my nephew and Holly’s article in The Age, I hope I said enough to show that I wasn’t focused on that at all.

    My nephew is a gorgeous, gorgeous little boy. He also happens to be severely autistic, and will probably never speak. For Christianity to turn around and essentially say to his parents, “Yeah, there’s a reason your son is like this, but don’t worry, I’m sure it’s a good one”, well, I find that incredibly offensive.

    And I’m sure you saw the effect Holly Warland’s experience had on her. Struggling to understand why her god had given her muscular dystrophy, she prayed, asking for a reason why. Luckily for the atheist community, she never received a response, but if she had, it would have been something like “Well, Holly, I have some very sophisticated theologians trying to figure out why I did that to you, but in the meantime, don’t be sad, cos I think you’re swell”.

    The hypocrisy also gets to me. The same people saying “Be proud of who you are, Belinda” are also telling the LGTBI communities that they should be ashamed of themselves.

    It’s like this. Imagine that a father has three daughters (triplets), and they want him to make them dresses for their school formal. For two of his daughters, he makes two of the best dresses anyone’s ever seen. For the third daughter, however, he stitches in an electric shock machine and covers it in itching powder. He then tells her to stop complaining, because he still thinks she looks beautiful.

    If that makes her feel a little less itchy, then that’s all to the good. But the father knew he would cause her discomfort, and he knew people were going to laugh at her, and he did it anyway. And that makes him a fuckwit.

Leave a Reply