Why Is ‘Ugly’ Such A Dirty Word?


I often find myself wondering why when one of my friends tells me they are unattractive or “not pretty,” I rush in defence to tell them they are wrong and in fact they are very pretty, gorgeous, and beautiful. When did “ugly” become such a dirty word? I can’t help but think we contribute to giving importance to our physical appearance when we do this. We can’t deny that when we talk about aesthetic outwards beauty, there are people who are more attractive or less attractive than others. But being less attractive, or as some would say “ugly,” does not mean you are unhappy or miserable. It doesn’t make you more or less.

I believe that you become happy with yourself when you learn to love and accept yourself and your body as it is. You do not have to believe you are beautiful or stunning or attractive to love yourself. You just have to accept yourself. Being happy and feeling that you are attractive/beautiful is not mutually exclusive and like I said before, when we spread this myth, we teach ourselves that people who believe they are less attractive cannot be happy, confident or be loved.

So when did ugly become a bad thing? What is wrong with being ugly or less attractive than others? So what? As long as you are happy and have learnt to accept yourself, so what? Ugly is not a deformity. Why is being ugly so bad that it must be denied or shunned at all times, as if ugliness is an evil or harmful thing and being physically appealing is so important?

I know I am not the prettiest girl. Often at times when I wake up, I don’t see an attractive person. I go out, I go to work, I go to my classes, I walk the streets – I still feel like I’m the least attractive person in the room. But so what? I don’t care and I am still honestly happy with myself. And I feel like the moment I stopped forcing this entire “you are pretty, be confident, you are beautiful” thing, I learnt to understand that looks do not matter and I can be happy with how I look, even if it’s average. Women shouldn’t be pressured to believe they look beautiful, we’re only emphasising the idea that (outwards) beauty is important.

So, unless someone is unhappy, miserable, or depressed with how they look, instead of trying to convince them that they are the opposite (even though they mostly likely are attractive and beautiful beings), why not convince them that looks do not matter? They should be proud and learn to love themselves as they are, because when we say “everyone is beautiful”, we place importance on physical beauty and contribute to a culture that considers beauty as the most important characteristic.