Ugly Babies And Self-Worth

Ugly Children

Ah, Maxine, you irascible old dame…from your humble beginnings as a Hallmark greeting card character, you’ve grown to become the Queen of Griping About Life’s Minor Irritants. I’d adopt you as the StupidBadMemes mascot, but there are probably some fair use issues to consider.

Now let’s ignore Ray Stevens’ insistence that “everybody’s beautiful in their own way”; instead, let’s dive right into the shallow end of the pool and assume that attractiveness can be scientifically quantified. I’m not going to speculate on what physical characteristics would add to or take away from somebody’s beauty score – this is just a thought experiment, after all – but let’s say everybody agrees on them. Since many human characteristics are normally distributed, we can probably assume the same about physical attractiveness. Therefore, on a scale of 0 to 10, where 10 is a staggeringly beautiful person and 0 is Abercrombie and Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries, you would expect the largest number of people to be about average, in the neighborhood of 5. As you moved in either direction from 5 (toward greater beauty or greater Mike-Jeffries-ness), you’d find smaller and smaller percentages of people. Only a tiny fraction of the population would occupy the extremes.

Therefore, based on a thought experiment that I just pulled out of my bum, and with no evidential support whatsoever, I can say that it’s statistically likely that your children won’t be ugly, regardless of whatever else life throws at you.

Parents, who are more objective about their children’s physical appearance than I would have thought, support that conclusion. According to unscientific polls, about one parent in five ranks his or her child below average in the beauty department. Ouch.

But so what? Why does it matter if twenty percent of parents think their children are hideous? And why is that such a terrible thing anyway?

Ah, I get it. It’s because if your children don’t live up to your standards of physical beauty, then you’ve somehow failed as a parent. Is that it? Or do you not relish the idea of living vicariously through an unattractive child?

If you think your children are beautiful, good for you, but please remember that they are separate people. It would be nice if you could educate them to not be as obsessed with appearance as you are.


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