Sunday, October 07, 2007

Don't Unassume Anything

He tells me I am "attractive in that unassuming way." What exactly does that mean? The first thought that comes to mind is that I would rather have people assume that I am attractive, rather than unassume I am. Phrasing this jargon of beauty in it's opposite still leaves me unsure of what exactly it means. I am left feeling like what was intended to be a compliment has subtly exposed a complicated judgement of my physical appearance. Added to what has inadvertently become a complicated instance of superficial judgement is the fact that the one man who has expressed this opinion is my lover. Five words have opened up Pandoras box of the discourse of beauty.

I suppose that being "attractive in that unassuming way" can be read as "You aren't ever going to be a model, but that doesn't mean you're ugly." Or even, if I was feeling more positive than I am, it can be read as "You aren't ever going to be a model, but I still find you hot." If that is the case then, why can't I be a model? Why can't I be 'model hot'? If my lover still finds me 'hot", then why wouldn't he concede that I could be a model. Are we so influenced by the media that we on one hand buy into their model of beauty (represented in their beautiful models), and on the other hand, have an opinion of beauty that is constructed by our autonomous ideals of tastes and desires?

I believe that we are socialized to divide our objects of desire into those who would have social currency in beauty, and those who we believe we are one of few people who find beautiful. If this is indeed the case, then how am I supposed to feel about being a member of the latter group? Furthermore, how am I suppose to feel about the fact that, though my lover does find me attractive, he apparently believes (or assumes) that I am not am object of desire for many others. Maybe that is where this phrasology originates: somone people are attractive enough that it is assumed that the general population would also find them attractive. But according to my lover, I am not one of those people.

Through all this rhetoric that does not seem to point to any conclusion but instead merely opening up a discourse about the socio-cultural construction of beauty, I will end with three concessions:

I wish I felt attractive (I don't at present because I am sick. I think I usually do though)

I want to be beautiful/physically attractive/hot/model hot/sexy/cute/handsome/etc...

I do not want to be "attractive in that unassuming way": Rather, I would like to be "attractive in that assuming way".