Words Hurt- Part 2
The ugliest word in the dictionary is exactly what I said, “ugly”.
Have you ever been called ugly? Have you ever called someone ugly? Isn’t it interesting how such a small word can be incredibly destructive. As we continue to explore how words really do hurt, journalist, Ari Sunflower, narrows in on the four letter word, and eploits the damage this dangerous word can cause.
STICKS & STONES- UGLY
WRITTEN BY ARI SUNFLOWER
There is nothing uglier than the word "ugly."
In a world that puts so much value into physical appearance, calling someone ugly can tear them apart in a moment. A young Minneapolis resident named Jenna struggled to be accepted for her appearance when she started attending an art high school and rejecting conventional beauty standards. “I found the person I wanted to become,” she said. “I started to wear less makeup, stopped shaving, and started to dress more masculine.”
Although her parents called her changing aesthetic “the worst mistake of her life”, Jenna continued to develop her own sense of what made her feel happy and empowered. “After I moved away to college, I really just settled into myself and started to delve into the artsy person I wanted to be”. According to Jenna, this was often met with comments such as “That’s gross.” or “Why don’t you take better care of yourself?” Jenna’s attempts to embrace her own beauty standards were met with so much cruelty that she could no longer sustain her confidence.
The bullying and criticism from her parents eventually landed her in the hospital, when the comments sent her into a spiral of self-hatred and body dysmorphia. She starved herself in an attempt to be accepted as beautiful, but this only made matters worse when her parents accused her of making up her illness and blamed her “art school lifestyle” for causing her low self-esteem and body dysmorphia.
Jenna still struggles to accept herself and overcoming the insults that have caused her low self-esteem has been an intense battle. Through the help of The Emily Program and her own will to accept herself, Jenna is slowly learning to view herself more positively. However, the process may take years.
If you call someone ugly it is not funny. It is not harmless. But most importantly, you are wrong. No one is ugly. Frida Khalo never waxed her eyebrows and she changed the world with her brushstrokes. Oprah has been constantly criticized for her appearance and her weight and she has met everyone from the Dalai Lama to Beyonce. Our bodies are only vehicles that move us around on this earth so that we can touch it with our own beautifully unique presence. There is no such thing as an ugly person. We have no idea how beautiful a person truly is until you see them shine out in their own special way. No one should be able to dull that shine with one ugly word.
Keep up-to-date with the fabulous writer Ari by following her on instagram @a.sunflower