June 26, 2014
The viral popularity of Jeremy Meeks' "handsome" mug shot serves as a reminder that beauty is in the eye of the Beholder.
This kind of thing is a systemic problem in our culture, and probably has been for a very long time. For some reason, pretty people are automatically given authority and respect. We give them character credit, authority, and respect even when it's very clear that they don't deserve any of these things.
The first time I read this piece, my thought was, "Really? It's that serious?" Then I put it away and decided to do something else. I read it again tonight and my thought was, "Really? It's that serious?" As someone who looked at this photo and thought that this is an attractive man, I can say that that really is all it is. Attractiveness can be measured; it is abou symmetry, after all--and the fact that this man has striking features.
It is a basic instinct to be physically attracted to someone. The difference here, it seems to me, is that women aren't supposed to express their attraction--especially for an ex-con who has been locked up again. When men do it, it seems to be all good--Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan, anyone? But when women do it, it isn't OK. Shame about that.
Thanks for sharing. Itâ€™s good to have a womanâ€™s perspective on this subject, and I think I can appreciate what youâ€™re saying here.
For what itâ€™s worth, I take no exception to the idea that someone (male or female, Christian or otherwise) might objectively recognize attractiveness and leave it at that. Whatâ€™s more, I donâ€™t think thereâ€™s anything inherently objectionable about expressing that attraction in appropriate contextsâ€”and that applies to men and women alike. Reading many of the comments in response to this particular mugshot, however (especially AFTER it went viral), I came away with the impression that there were relatively few objective assessments. The majority, employing various degrees of obscenity, seemed to be expressing not only attraction, but also desire.
Hence the occasion for this piece. Iâ€™m less interested in whether itâ€™s a handsome guy or celebrity princess whoâ€™s portrayed, or whether itâ€™s a bunch of women or a bunch of guys doing the ogling. Whether the story has merited the attention it has received, here or otherwise, is a subject for debate. But my hope is that it prompts all of usâ€”male and female alikeâ€”to reflect self-critically on how easily we can desire that which only LOOKS attractive while rejecting that which looks unattractive but which may have many redeeming qualities that are not discernible on the surface.
Thanks for your thoughts on this, Johnathan. This comment is a bit more in response to Kimberly's point, which I agree with on one level. Women have every right to express their attractions, just as men do.
Where I have a "serious" problem with this situation and the women who commented favorably is that neither men nor women have a right to objectify another person, ever. Second, it is one thing to find a person attractive, but to then, after discovering this man has victimized others, intentionally and publicly comment in a way that invites his attentions or elevates him just feeds the misperception that this is what all women want.
Amanda, I completely agree about the objectification; it is systemic and highly problematic, especially given his status as a married man. Although that rarely stops anyone.
Johnathan, I really don't earnestly believe that what is being expressed here is actual or authentic desire or fantasy.
I think it is more about humor and aclnowdging attractiveness.
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