Perceptions of Beauty

I went to Target on Saturday to pick up a few necessities. As usual, something I definitely didn’t need caught my attention, so I stopped to check it out. I stood at the edge of the main aisle across from an endcap on a beauty aisle featuring the above picture of two models.

After a moment, a man who was walking quickly down the aisle jerked to a stop with his young son (maybe 9 or 10 years old). “See, now that is just too much,” the father said while pointing at the picture. He went on to explain how ugly freckles were, especially on women of color (he was a man of color himself). While dad ranted, the child wore a confused expression. He looked from the picture to his dad several times. His face went from confused to clear disagreement. Then he turned and saw me.

The boy stared at my face and then my arms, both of which are covered with tons of freckles. He smiled. A real smile. He turned back to his father, who was still ranting, and shook his head before both went on their way. The jerk never saw me.

I may or may not have blurted out a not very nice word. If I did do such a thing, it wasn’t particularly loud, and I hope the kid didn’t hear me. Hypothetically, of course!

First, let me say I think the model he was bashing is gorgeous. As I have more freckles than her, I’m biased but no one puts ‘ugly’ models on their endcap pictures for crying out loud!

That man is probably judged every day for the color of his skin and one would think he would understand what it’s like. Yet he tried to teach his child that different was bad. He spent thirty seconds pointing out perceived flaws for no good reason. He used the word ugly, repeatedly. This guy made a big deal out of passing on his own bias to his child.

I’m pretty sure the kid thought he was an idiot, but who knows. The little boy may forever after this think freckles are gross. Or maybe dad accidentally cemented in the child’s mind that it’s okay to disagree.

Everyone has different opinions on beauty. My husband adores my freckles but I’ve had people hate them. When I was a teenager, a boy in my psychology class told me I’d be hot if it wasn’t for all my ‘spots.’

I’ve seen women look at me like I’m going to steal their man while their husbands look at me in disgust.

The model in the photo? She’s probably been through as much as me, if not more. Of course, I hope she thinks about all the disapproving people and laughs when she cashes each check she gets because of her awesome, unique looks.

No one has to find me attractive. Anyone who hates freckles is welcome to their opinion. However, it’s pretty awful to announce those thoughts in public and to push them on others.

The man in Target never saw me. All his focus was on insulting the model. What if I was still an insecure teenager or a little girl with freckles standing there hearing his bile? Hell, all those years ago, I would have been devastated. I outgrew any self-consciousness about my skin long ago, so he didn’t hurt me. He did, however, piss me off.

He made me angry for all those people who he could have hurt. He outraged me on behalf of everyone he’s ever insulted or ever will over how they look. He disgusted ME with his lack of parenting skills on this issue and his need to teach his son to dislike a specific type of people.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

That statement seems a little trite and overused these days, but it’s so true. I think freckles are cute. You might think they look like a disease. I cried the day I realized my hair is growing in more blonde than red, but perhaps you bleach your hair because you adore it so light. Someone might love long hair while my husband and I like my hair shorter. All of these things are okay.

I’m not going to walk up to a woman with long blonde hair and tell her I don’t like how she looks. This is a terrible example because I don’t think long blonde hair looks bad, but you get the point.

I want to add that I’m proud of the girl in the picture for not hiding her freckles. I’m impressed that the little boy didn’t automatically agree with his father. Beauty is what you think it is, and don’t let anyone tell you differently. And if you look different than everyone else around you, learn to use words like distinct, unique, and special about yourself. Don’t listen to narrowminded people, ever.

As for the guy in Target, when I hypothetically called you a dickface, I meant it.


I took the picture of the giant endcap photo/ad in Target. That photo/ad does not belong to me.

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