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The ugly industry

Didier Cohen.

Didier Cohen.

I've got a theory that the less attractive you are, the more outraged you tend to get on the internet and vice versa.

Prove me wrong.

From my observations of social media, models and beautiful people tend to spend a cumulative total of 10 minutes a day Instagramming cool pictures of themselves in hats, then tweet inspirational quotes from people smarter than them.

Ugly and/or fat people spend multiple hours ranting about their or society's "issues", gadgets, games, reality TV and how lame models and beautiful people are.

I might be wrong but I don't reckon a bloke like Didier Cohen (pictured) spends too much time venting on Twitter about his iPhone battery life or, for that matter, men's rights in the modelling industry and the gender pay discrepancy for blokes on the catwalk.

Someone recently sent me a link to a story about Cohen, 27, who's apparently just landed a gig judging on Australia's Next Top Model, so I Googled pictures of him and came away with the overwhelming impression he probably doesn't struggle for female company.

Cohen's not my type but, even as a heterosexual male with ample bogan tendencies, I can see he has a look that would be attractive to many people (women, men and fluffy animals alike).

I'll also admit to some uncomfortable moments of envy, seasoned lightly with despair, that this fella gets to go out on a Friday night looking like this, while I have to make do with the head pictured at the top of the page.

I'd wager Cohen's got very much the same relationship with his beauty as do many young, gorgeous women - mostly grateful, sometimes insecure, but much happier to be attractive than not.

I'm sure he wishes more people took him seriously (don't we all?), didn't prejudge him just because he's ridiculously handsome but, in the end, the folks who know him, know him and the rest who think he's a himbo don't matter.

It's the deal life strikes with beautiful people: they get to be beautiful, we get to resent and dismiss them as stupid. Cohen gets attention, we get Twitter where we wail for attention.

It would be great if life wasn't this way, but it's been so at least since we started writing stuff down in cuneiform - and I guarantee the scribes and priests who knew that sort of thinky stuff in Sumeria weren't the greatest sorts.

The power of beauty - the primal attraction we have to it, which drives our desire to be beautiful too - is why there's a cosmetics industry, a fitness industry, a plastic surgery and porn industry.

It's also the reason behind the emerging "ugly industry" - where people who wish they were more beautiful bemoan the unfairness of beauty through the media and internets.

You can't click on a mainstream news site nowadays without being met by 'commentary' about the pressures society places on certain groups to look a certain way, the writers often presenting their preoccupation with their own attractiveness as some kind of anti-"lookism" activism.

More often than not, they are people so obsessed with the way they look (or do not look), they've rationalised their self-absorption as resulting from a larger social problem.

Of all the challenges facing this world - the ancient awe of beauty and people striving to be beautiful is the least of our worries.

There is nothing new about it, but because secular humanism has slaughtered every other god and belief system, there seems to be an increasingly sincere effort by some people to position beauty and youth as the latest dark overlord oppressing our lives.

The truth is, without vanity, beauty is a footnote in most people's existence. They lick their thumb and move on to the next page of life.

In many ways, the railing against the injustices of beauty is, to the ugly person, what quoting Nelson Mandela is to your average model; an attempt to project a depth that's not possible thinking so much about yourself.

You can follow Sam on Twitter here. His email address is here.

107 comments

  • Oh bloody hell. If people lamenting the obsession society has with beauty are just projecting their own insecurities about their own attractiveness, what does that say when your recent articles have been about things like it being remarkable that someone did a nice thing for something or how young people these days are soft?

    What traits are you lacking? Jeez.

    Commenter
    hired goon
    Date and time
    May 08, 2013, 8:53PM
    • There is a difference between an outraged rant and a comment Goon.

      In short I agree with Sam’s theory. As a general rule unattractive people are usually more insecure than attractive people. It’s the insecurity that drives the over-reactions. This can be observed, not only on the internet through social media, but at work, whilst shopping and through innumerable other everyday situations.

      That is not to say that attractive people do not have the odd rant – everyone is guilty of that – but on balance they are less likely to get upset just because someone’s views do not agree with their own view.

      Commenter
      Nyd
      Date and time
      May 09, 2013, 10:23AM
    • ha! I think in this economic climate selling stuff to people based on their insecurities takes a back seat to real issues...

      real beauty - look at the cover of phil collins 'face value'. Such beauty coming out of the bricklayer esque head. Take that approach to the well of humanity. unexpected beauty in all shapes and packages. I remember dating in early 20's. tricky visually attractive women. fades away quite quickly when not in the spotlight.

      Commenter
      confused
      Date and time
      May 09, 2013, 11:31AM
    • there rage is because nobody listens to them in normal life. The world is ruled by" the goodlookingists" and the PR machine that runs it. I'm a ranga from the seventies and reality is the hippies lost and the capitalist won. The capitalists use pretty people to do their talking because people like looking at pretty things. Even rangas.

      The best example of this theary is the fact the stop go people on road and buildings are now mostly young and female with the logic angry people are less likely to abuse them.

      Sam is using this article to test his theory. Look out world Julie is hjust the first as we rangas will take over the world. Rangas with glasses

      Commenter
      kellybellyfonte
      Date and time
      May 09, 2013, 12:19PM
    • @ kellybellyfonte:

      Good point about capitalists using good-looking people as their mouthpieces because people like to look at pretty things.

      Commenter
      +1
      Date and time
      May 09, 2013, 1:49PM
  • your right Sam. I best say nothing else.

    Commenter
    Fluellen
    Location
    Pilbara
    Date and time
    May 08, 2013, 9:31PM
    • I've had to read this a couple of times and I still don't get whether you are being straightforward or sardonic.
      I don't watch the program mentioned, I have no intention of ever watching it, except for perhaps skipping over it while watching someonelse's cable TV. If it follows the well worn and somewhat tiresome reality TV formula, it will consist of putting a bunch of people, insert here the type.. fat people...biggest loser, models ....next top, publicity hound....celebrity apprentice/splash....During said series, humiliate said contestants, film every part of their day, encourage them to criticise other contestants and get the audience to spend their money ringing to vote etc. End it with a finale more akin to a yawn.
      Your comment on beauty being a footnote in most people's existence is not true. There is a large, invasive, evasive and sometimes deadly industry which makes its profits from people's insecurities. Plastic surgery which was used for victims of injury or birth deformations has become some rite of passage. Botox, a toxin, surgery for the slightest example of aging is fostered on both women and now men as a means of prolonging youth, your other subject. The practitioners of plastic surgery are either seriously delusional, lacking talent or proportion , alternatively have a highly developed sadism to produce some of the examples. Perhaps they are constantly workiing with a poor bunch of clients. The results have a manufactured look more akin to a stuffed dummy than a human being.
      Fashion is changed to make money. The flattering look of the model, the shopfront dummy and the coathanger is sometimes not a realistic result on the wearer.
      The claims of the cosmetic industry also press the boundaries of reality, but they are believed, as everyone believes, they are beautiful.

      Commenter
      The Old Guy
      Location
      Marrickville
      Date and time
      May 08, 2013, 10:29PM
      • So it's safe to assume, Sam, that all readers who comment on your blog fit into your stereotype of "The Fat & the Ugly"... especially the ones who just have to have an opinion on EVERY topic you write about. Can they not just be indifferent like the rest of us, Sam? Maybe it's more likely to be a case of "The Boring & the Annoying".

        Commenter
        super fugly
        Date and time
        May 09, 2013, 12:31AM
        • Ha ha ha! I wonder what you would consider a "lot" of venting...I don't think I vent that much, which blows your theory out of the water. Anyway, I don't think it's about being beautiful or ugly, I think it's about success.

          These days one has to do everything to be considered "successful" -- you've got a good job? That's great, but what about your family life? A loving wife and wonderful kids...but do you express your artistic side? You can paint, but can you hit ball with a bat? Well done mate, but it's *you're*, learn how to spell. Well, you are very accomplished, and it's _good_ that you haven't done anything about your face, it shows confidence and a rejection of current beauty myths...

          We all get it a lot when we're kids, and quite a few people fail to learn how much bulldust it is. The secret to being successful, of course, is to work out what you want to do with your life so that you will think it's successful, and chase that while ignoring all other people's opinions. That's why models don't get upset - they honestly don't care if people think they're stupid. But it works with all successful people - the people who win Nobel prizes don't tend to care if you think they've got a face like a slapped monkey's butt. Those playing for Man U don't care if you think their paintings are juvenile.

          Commenter
          JEQP
          Date and time
          May 09, 2013, 12:45AM
          • in terms of physical beauty most people are average, there are exceptions but they are few and far between.
            mostly it's about proportions and symmetry, toothpick limbs or a flatter than a pancake rear end is not going to look good on anyone BUT if under the skin there's some true beauty then all is good.
            superficial beauty(or lack thereof) is acceptable, inner beauty highly desirable, inner ugliness best kicked to the kerb for the next council cleanup.

            Commenter
            Victorious Painter
            Date and time
            May 09, 2013, 6:44AM

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