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Everyone Is Not Beautiful

September 9, 2010
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I was reading through this post by Lindsay at Fooditude and this line struck me:

We are all beautiful.

No, not all of us are beautiful.

Why did Lindsay say this? You have to take her post into context. She was worrying about the nation’s eating disorders and the self-image of women that lead them to this:

Over 8 million people in the US are suffering from an eating disorder, and 90% of those are women.  We need to stop asking ourselves why we don’t look like the women on the screen or in the magazines.  They are starving themselves.

Let me point out that the figure easily eclipses  this if you include diet-induced obesity (it’s closer to 100 million). Obesity is the major eating disorder facing us today. Like Lindsay says, “Everything in moderation” and it does indeed go both ways. The facts are that the majority of us in the developed world are overeating, not undereating.

Either way, saying lines like ‘Everyone is beautiful’ when it’s simply not true will not cure the population of their eating disorders. I’m an advocate for healthy living. I don’t think feelgood deceptive statements help in the cause of making you feel that you should be healthy, should make an effort and that you can trust who’s feeding you that line despite their good intentions.

Outer Beauty

The facts are that we are probably distributed in a bell curve in our looks. It could be because we didn’t win the genetic lottery and it

funnycoloring.com

could be other environmental insults to our system from in the womb to diseases to accidents. As we’ve also said, eating disorders are a problem which means both undereating and overeating lead to looks that are simply unattractive. The media plays its role in that it doesn’t emphasise health, but the resultant looks and different spheres of the media value different shapes and sizes depending on what’s fashionable. It also doesn’t necessarily come to the media’s attention whether the individual they’re praising is healthy or not. As well as this, what’s a healthy look for you isn’t necessarily a healthy look for me.

Beautiful is a strong word. Some of us are plain, cute or pretty.

Some of us are just old and our best days are gone. The season for beauty has ended.

It’s not a tragedy to not be beautiful on the outside. It doesn’t mean we can’t feel we look amazing when we’ve made an effort. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look after ourselves.

It doesn’t mean we should become addicted to cosmetic procedures, with associated expenses and risks.

There’s always someone who’s on the same part of the beauty scale as you are. There’s always someone who’s into how you look. Let yourself be one of those people. It’s okay to work on your looks, but don’t harm yourself doing it.

Remember: You’re never the most objective person to judge how you look.

Inner Beauty

As far as beauty goes, inner beauty is by far the most important to me in terms of the everyday person I meet. If you’re hot and can get any man you want for casual relationships, but you are despised for your grating personality and lack of class, thus you have no friends and any relatives have ran away screaming long ago, what’s the point?

That said, whom I have a personality clash with does not necessarily translate universally. It’s surprising how certain personality traits are unexpectedly complimentary.

We’ve come to an age where it is very easy to become preoccupied with materialistic markers and work on materialistic improvement, but to neglect the development of our inner self: spiritually, practically, morally and our manners. Patience, grace, kindness, compassion and attention to how you come across are not innate things, but habits. You have to consciously ask yourself about the way you treat those around you and the way you act. Do you make sure what you do is beautiful, nevermind how you look?

Judging people is not a habit of mine, as far as I’m concerned. We are made of shades of gray. Some of us commit terrible crimes against those around us. In many cases we’re enabled by wider society. In some cases we aren’t. That still means that many of us are not beautiful on the inside.

No, not everyone is beautiful.

Yes, everyone secretly wishes they’re more beautiful than they are.

johnsu.deviantart.com

35 Comments leave one →
  1. September 9, 2010 6:54 pm

    The facts are that the majority of us in the developed world are overeating, not undereating.

    Bah. The problem is primarily WHAT the west is eating, not necessarily how much.

  2. September 9, 2010 7:30 pm

    The problem is primarily WHAT the west is eating, not necessarily how much.

    To the mathematical dimension of my mind, that’s the same thing. Calorie intake.

    But I hear you. In fact, just went to check out your blog on some things I’d seen on there before and read more about it. I kept on meaning to.

  3. September 9, 2010 7:42 pm

    Do you know of a good scientific treatise on the evil of ‘bad’ carbs? I’ve been looking for one for a while now.

  4. September 9, 2010 8:25 pm

    Bhetti- go to You Tube and type “Gary Taubes” – then lose yourself in a sea of information.

    I liked this post. I don’t think the self esteem movement has actually done anything to raise self esteem. Our self esteem is raised through accomplishments and reaching our goals, not from spewing retarded platitudes.

    I’ve often wondered how best to judge our looks. Friends and family will be too kind. Hot or not is retarded and gives every skank a 9.5, and strangers…well who’d ask a stranger. Plus everyone has their own agenda. I read on Marginal Revolution the best way to know if you are attractive is to see how attractive your significant others are/were.

  5. September 9, 2010 8:46 pm

    Taubes is great….but I know your a med student, so I’ll refer you to an M.D. who has studied the science and applied it in his own practice.

    Dr. Michael Eades – http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/

    Check out his article: >Four Patients Who Changed My Life

    Oh, and for Taubes, here’s a link to a video of a lecture he did called The Quality of Calories: What Makes Us Fat and Why Nobody Seems to Care

    That’s a good start.

  6. September 9, 2010 9:00 pm

    BTW, I do agree with Dream Puppy…great post.

    But than, I’ve already known that when it comes to anything else written by you, that’s just typical. Keep up the good writing!

  7. September 9, 2010 9:13 pm

    Dream Puppy….I think the “self-esteem” movement has been pretty much a disaster across the board. It started with a reasonable idea: it’s good to praise people *for accomplishment* rather than just beating them up for non-accomplishment. But it was soon dominated by the usual airheads, who took the view that people just needed to be praised, whether threy had actually achieved anything or not.

    Best comment on the whole thing was from one of my nephews, when he was around 8 or so. His class had to watch a self-esteem-building video on the general theme “You are wonderful.” He came home and asked my sister “Mom, how do they know I’m wonderful? They haven’t even met me!”

  8. September 9, 2010 9:53 pm

    Thats cute, David. When everyone is special, no one is special. Maybe that’s the point.

    “Egalitarianism is a revolt against human nature.”

    BTW I read the 911 link you posted. Very sad. And I had no idea about Uchitel!

  9. September 9, 2010 10:08 pm

    Thanks! Dr. Eades’ stuff is just compelling. Exactly the right kind of medspeak for me. Those lab results are just striking and I liked what I saw reading around his site.

    I don’t know about the US, but it doesn’t feel like we’re fed lies here. Obesity is a huge concern for the health service, which as you know in the UK is nationalised and would love to keep its costs down (on the other hand, I do realise research in itself is more sponsored by industries who would profit from results involved.) In any case, I’ve had a series of lectures actually presenting the evidence involved to us from obesity to diet including observational studies. Epidemiologists in particular have this tone that is more akin to political activism than science sometimes.

    When those in the medical profession sound like they’re not quite with it: It’s just a lot of information to retain especially in enough detail to critically mentally re-analyse and much easier to use mental short-hands. As well as that, there’s an attitude that best evidence trumps no evidence, although to my mind bad evidence can cause harm.

    Since it sounds like a classic and I’m much better at retaining written over aural information, I’ve gone and bought Taubes book. It’s the ‘Diet Delusion’ in the UK, but ‘Good Calories, Bad Calories’ in the US.

    David:

    “You are wonderful.” He came home and asked my sister “Mom, how do they know I’m wonderful? They haven’t even met me!”

    Ha ha, classic. Great kid!

    Dream Puppy:

    I’ve often wondered how best to judge our looks. Friends and family will be too kind. Hot or not is retarded and gives every skank a 9.5, and strangers…well who’d ask a stranger. Plus everyone has their own agenda. I read on Marginal Revolution the best way to know if you are attractive is to see how attractive your significant others are/were.

    Yes, but who can judge how attractive your SOs are (showing pictures to your girlfriends?). And what if you don’t have many SOs? And what if you had psychological issues which meant you chose ones deliberately way below you in attractiveness?

    I suppose consulting as many sources as possible and averaging it all out might be the only way to do it!

    I don’t think it’s something to particularly obsess about, especially since tastes do vary across the board. We just need to do our best with what we’ve got.

  10. September 9, 2010 10:50 pm

    A while ago I was stupid enough to post my OWN picture without make up or flash on Roissy for a real rating but thankfully he was kind enough to take it down when I panicked 5 minutes later. Plus, what would it prove anyway? I’m already with the one I love.

  11. September 9, 2010 11:01 pm

    Gah. I hate the whole “everyone’s beautiful,” “everyone’s a winner,” spirit of entitlement that we’ve got going nowadays.

    I was just reading about a study where they found that kids who were showered with praise, interestingly enough, grow up to be socially maladjusted. If they’re raised to believe that they’re perfect and can do no wrong… well, gee, guess what happens when they get out in the real world and realize that they’re not so perfect?

    Turns out, a healthy dose of reality can actually be good for you.

    Sorry for the rant. :-)

  12. September 9, 2010 11:26 pm

    I think part of the problem on the “self-esteem” thing is that in the U.S., at least, today’s public-school teachers and especially administrators are probably people who have an unusually high need for security, along with unusually-fragile egos. (I have no data to support this, but the characteristics of the institutions and the job would logically tend to select for those characteristics.) If this is correct, it is likely that they project their own limitations & defects onto others and hence they *really think* that, for example, marking papers with a red pen might damage one’s feelings of self-worth.

  13. September 9, 2010 11:41 pm

    @David:

    I’m one such public-school teacher. So, before I rail into ya, can I ask you to clarify? Cuz I’m not really sure what you’re trying to say here…. :-)

  14. September 10, 2010 7:30 am

    Dennis–I’ll try. Public schools in many parts of America have long been bureaucratically micro-managed, and it has gotten worse with various “zero-tolerance” policies. Teachers are usually required to attend “education” schools, which are not known for their intellectual excellence but ARE known for theory-of-the-day fashion following. In quite a few places, students are allowed by administrators to openly insult teachers and in some cases to physically threaten them, all those zero-tolerance policies notwithstanding.

    At the same time, women–who once made up a large part of the teacher population–have vastly improved career options, and there are many would would have gone into teaching in, say, 1965, who are now doing something else.

    All this suggests that people drawn to teaching will often be those who value the security and benefits (pensions, healthcare, etc) that it offers and who are less bothered than many would be by the bureaucracy and the ed-school blather. That goes triple for administrators.

    I have no doubt that there are still some public-school teachers who are dedicated, spirited, and creative, but the characteristics of the environment tend to mitigate against having large numbers of them. Private schools and religious schools, different kettles of fish.

    Please comment, if you would, on the characteristics you see in your fellow teachers, and also on the presence or absence of “self-esteem” efforts in your school system.

  15. Nathan permalink
    September 10, 2010 7:31 am

    Glad to see you back blogging Bhetti.

    Theodore Dalyrymple has some great essays about the ‘self movement’, that you may be interested in reading.

  16. September 10, 2010 7:38 am

    Also, I meant to note that the disconnection of *compensation* from *performance* in American public schools surely has a lot to do with the characteristics of people who would consider vs who would not consider careers in these institutions.

  17. September 10, 2010 9:59 am

    Hi David, you may be right. Here is some info from the McKinsey study. I am not sure if this means they are projecting their fragility onto the kids. Could also have to do with the zeitgeist….more PC, more female dominated.

    “Whereas the best public-school systems in the world—Finland, Singapore, South Korea—recruit all of their teachers from the top third or better of their college graduates, in America the majority come from the bottom two-thirds, with just 14 percent of those entering teaching each year in high-needs schools coming from the upper third. And the numbers may be getting worse. According to a recent survey conducted by McKinsey, a meager 9 percent of top-third graduates have any interest in teaching whatsoever.

  18. September 10, 2010 11:02 am

    @David:

    Your argument is full of holes, and your explanation is so full of blanket statements that I can’t decide if you’re trying to be inflammatory or just plain ignorant.

    Of course, before you cry hypocrisy, *I’m* willing to concede that, sure, there probably are teachers just like the ones you describe. And there probably are schools and credential programs just like you describe. I’m in California, so obviously, I’m willing to admit that my experience is limited to this region of the country. With that….

    From where I stand, no, teachers don’t go into teaching for the security. And no, teachers don’t go into teaching because we have no other options. That’s one of the oldest stereotypes out there. And no, we don’t attend your so-called “education schools.” Some of the credential programs in California are at some of the best institutions in the *country*. The University of California, San Diego, is one such institution.

    As far as students openly insulting the teachers… again, I can’t say that that doesn’t happen. But, I’m thinking it’s fairly school-specific and has to do with individual teachers and administrators. It’s pretty presumptuous of you to claim that that’s how the public school system is, generally speaking.

    The bureaucracy issue… yes, I will concede that to you. Here in California, that is a big problem right now.

    For the sake of discussion, though, let’s assume that you are correct in all these assessments. You use this as evidence that teachers go into teaching for the security and the benefits. So basically, you’re saying… teachers can’t do anything else, they get mistreated in the field, which is a complete and utter bureaucracy, so therefore, they must be doing it for the security of the job.

    Has it ever occurred to you that teachers teach because they want to make a difference with the kids? That they teach *in spite* of the difficulties in the system, not *because* of them?

    That’s gaping hole #1.

    Moving on…. Let’s assume that, again, you are correct, that teachers go into teaching for the security aspect. What does this particular characteristic have to do with the lovey-dovey sense of entitlement that is being fostered in kids these days? Even assuming that this premise is correct, you’re taking a big leap here. Teachers like the security of the field, so they lavish praise on the kids? How does that even make any sense?

    In any case, isn’t it more likely that this sense of entitlement is coming from the parents, not the teachers?

    That’s gaping hole #2. Dude, I can see China through your ears.

    So, here’s my issue with everything you’ve said:

    1) You make sweeping generalizations that can’t possibly be correct.

    2) Even assuming that your sweeping generalizations are correct, your argument still falls flat.

    So, as they say, you might want to check yourself before you wreck yourself. I will NOT stand by and let you openly insult teachers in the way you claim kids are allowed to do these days.

  19. Panda permalink
    September 10, 2010 3:19 pm

    Thanks Bhetti, I thought this blog was dead or dying but these posts by you have been nothing short of spectacular to read and spot on with some ideas I had but could never say. Keep ‘em coming.

  20. September 10, 2010 5:54 pm

    Dennis…just to pick one of your points: “And no, we don’t attend your so-called “education schools.” Some of the credential programs in California are at some of the best institutions in the *country*. The University of California, San Diego, is one such institution.”

    The term “education schools” does not refer to an university, rather to a *department* within a college or university. The fact that say, UCSD, is an excellent institution overall does not imply that every department within it is equally excellent. Many teachers have objected to the jargon and fad-following that seems to be a major feature of these departments, and have expressed the view that they got very little worthwhile out of their required Education degree. It is reasonable to assume that there are many other individuals who took one look at the curriculum and said, “not for me.”

  21. September 10, 2010 6:05 pm

    And just to nitpick your nitpick… actually, UCSD has an excellent credential program. I would not have used it as an example if it weren’t. So now, what are we, arguing semantics?

    In any case….

    Many teachers have objected to the jargon and fad-following that seems to be a major feature of these departments, and have expressed the view that they got very little worthwhile out of their required Education degree. It is reasonable to assume that there are many other individuals who took one look at the curriculum and said, “not for me.

    Fair enough (almost). But that’s a far cry from:

    Teachers are usually required to attend “education” schools, which are not known for their intellectual excellence but ARE known for theory-of-the-day fashion following.

    Again, what I have a problem is the number of blanket statements that you made in your first two posts. If you want to qualify your preposterous claims with “some,” or even “many” (which, as Wikipedia so clearly explains, are referred to as “weasel words” because they effectively get you out of having to provide any references for your claims), I can almost tolerate that.

    What I find particularly despicable is that you preface your post with:

    I have no data to support this….

    But then, you go on to make your ridiculous claims, anyway, and insult teachers with every stereotype that we’ve ever had to deal with.

    Again, please lay off the blanket statements and the unjust stereotypes, thank you very much.

  22. September 10, 2010 6:18 pm

    Okay, wow, I just reread your post, and I think I’m finally getting what you’re trying to say:

    It is reasonable to assume that there are many other individuals who took one look at the curriculum and said, “not for me.

    So, this is what I’m inferring that you’re saying. Correct me if I’m wrong:

    “‘Many’ (ah, weasel words) individuals consider teaching. But then, they look at the curriculum offerings at ‘many’ (ah, weasel words) education institutions. They realize that the curriculum is not all that rigorous. So, they say, screw that, I’m doing something else for a career.

    “By this logic, those who do decide to go into teaching, anyway, must be doing so for the benefits/security or because they aren’t qualified to do anything with their lives. Ergo, they must suffer from self-esteem issues, which they transfer onto their students by lavishing them with praise.”

    Please tell me you this isn’t the actual line of reasoning you used. Do you realize how ridiculous this sounds?

    For what it’s worth, I used to be a microbiologist. I used to have your same snobbery. When I found out that, if I wanted to teach, I’d have to go back and get a credential, I was pissed. My thought was, “dude, I have a freaking Ph.D.! Why do I have to go back to school to get a lousy teaching credential?!?”

    Well, I ended up having to go, anyway. And, boy, were my eyes opened. I learned stuff about teaching that no one BUT teachers understand, because they’re the ones who’ve actually been through these credential programs.

    So, I suggest that, unless you yourself have gone through a teaching credential program, you refrain from judging teachers.

  23. September 10, 2010 7:37 pm

    Nathan: Thanks, I’ve just spent some time reading quite a bit of Darlymple and not just his articles on self-esteem. It won’t surprise anyone his views on how self-esteem influenced suicide bombers interested me.
    http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=6719

    Panda: Checked out your blog. Interesting. I’m warning you that I’ll be reading.

  24. September 10, 2010 7:38 pm

    Dennis:

    I was just reading about a study where they found that kids who were showered with praise, interestingly enough, grow up to be socially maladjusted.

    Any chance of a link so I could peruse further?

  25. September 10, 2010 8:18 pm

    This isn’t the exact article I read (a quick Google search didn’t turn it up), but it’s the most “sciency” one I can find at the moment:

    http://scienceblogs.com/cognitivedaily/2007/09/in_1999_melissa_kamins_and.php

    Here’s another one from the NY Times:

    http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/29/are-kids-getting-too-much-praise/

  26. September 10, 2010 8:21 pm

    Okay, here’s another one:

    http://www.alfiekohn.org/parenting/gj.htm

    Alfie Kohn is something of a hotshot celebrity in the field. His book, “Punished By Rewards,” is an eye-opener….

  27. Nathan permalink
    September 10, 2010 11:29 pm

    Frontpagemag is such a wasteland. Islam/Muslims is one of Dalrymple’s weak points I think – though of course he is scathing of many groups, and the ‘west’ is not spared either. That article you linked to was one of his better pieces on the topic- he goes out of his way to highlight the irreligious nature of the miscreants. An obvious point, missed by so many other critics of Islam, who bend over backwards to fit completely secularised hoodlums into the frame of a religious war, just because they came from Muslim families a generation or three, ago.

    Dalrymple falls into these unthinking patterns too, on occasion. A shame.

  28. September 11, 2010 10:24 am

    Dennis…see article about ed schools here. Note also comments by Darren, a California math teacher: “Very little of what we learned in ed school was applicable to the real world of teaching, especially for secondary teachers.” (see also comments to his post) One hears & reads comments from teachers about the uselessness of their ed-school training all the time: maybe your experience was different, but there seems to be plenty of evidence of a problem.

    In any event, your assertion that I have no right to an opinion on these programs without having actually gone through one would also suggest that a person has no right to an opinion on military policy unless they have been a military officer, or on bank regulation unless they have been an executive of a bank. Democracy does not and cannot work that way.

  29. September 11, 2010 10:28 am

    Self-esteem: my post here summarizes some research results: superheated ‘steem can burn you

  30. September 11, 2010 2:33 pm

    @David:

    I’ll retract that last sentence. You don’t have to have gone through a credential program. However, you have to actually know something about the field. I wouldn’t presume to judge military policy unless I do some research on the topic beforehand. Of course, you do have the right to make bigoted judgments… just as you have the right to judge someone based on their skin color or religion.

    Either way, what sweeping judgments you make against teachers are based on anecdotal evidence from a handful of individuals and organizations. For every blog you reference where someone lambastes the teaching profession, I can find another that praises it. So there you go.

    But the issue isn’t the problems with the education system. I know there are problems with it and never denied that. The issue is your ridiculous condemnation not of the education system, but of teachers themselves, using an absolutely nonsensical line of reasoning:

    I think part of the problem on the “self-esteem” thing is that in the U.S., at least, today’s public-school teachers and especially administrators are probably people who have an unusually high need for security, along with unusually-fragile egos. (I have no data to support this, but the characteristics of the institutions and the job would logically tend to select for those characteristics.) If this is correct, it is likely that they project their own limitations & defects onto others and hence they *really think* that, for example, marking papers with a red pen might damage one’s feelings of self-worth.

    Instead of admitting the gross errors you committed, though, you continue to nitpick irrelevant points of my argument. Smooth, dude. Smooth.

    So, I think you have two options right now:

    Apologize to the six million teachers in American you just insulted and admit that you were talking out of your ass….

    Or, let’s keep going on and on about this, you nitpicking every trivial point I make, and I refuting you. And you continuing to demonstrate what an ignorant bigot you are.

    Your call.

  31. September 12, 2010 10:28 am

    As a simple variation on the calories in/calories out formula I use:
    Calories needed = calories burned + calories stored as fat – calories burned from fat.

    That is if you are burning energy from fat stores than you will need to consume fewer calories from food to avoid hunger and malnutrition. If you are storing energy in fat cells than you will need to consume more calories to avoid hunger and malnutrition.

    High carbohydrate diets may cause people to prefer storing energy as fat instead of burning it for current use. Such diets also make the body reluctant to give up its stores of fat, even under low caloric intake.This leads to the paradox of gaining weight while starving because the energy stored as fat is unavailable to the body for current use. It would be like being forced to save 70 percent of your income into an account you could not withdraw from: you would be getting “richer” while at the same time unable to meet you bills.

    A clip from the movie Fat Head explains this, in a nice short video. The Fat Head has many other clips.

  32. Bhetti permalink*
    September 12, 2010 8:02 pm

    Dennis: Thanks, great links!

    David: Well, you’ll remember that I’ve gone through those before on your blog.

    Default: Yes, I saw that touched on on Dave from Hawaii’s blog. Calories in =/= calories out, because we have to think about endogenous production via pathways such as gluconeogenesis. On a long-term basis though, calories in > calories out means weight gain. However, need to read up on all this (and links you gave me) to refresh my mind on what I already know, see what I don’t and refine my understanding.

    Nathan: Thanks for the clarification on Frontpage. I do find where he came from interesting in general, and how his experiences informed it. He’s quite a clever man, but it’s surprising what things he doesn’t see and connections he doesn’t quite make between what he himself says.

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