Not Particularly Attractive
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Not Particularly Attractive • Posted: Jul 19, 2009 20:25:23Comments WelcomeVote CoolPhotoblogsPurchase a PrintShare

It strikes me that far too many women are scarred. That is, they bear the imprint of either physical or emotional trauma, or of both.

Guys fall out of trees, get into fights, accidentally hit their fingers with a hammer, cut themselves while shaving, or just plain fail to look and walk into something. In other words, guys get plenty of scars. But they don't seem to actually get damaged, not in the way women seem to get damaged. For a guy, scars add character. They are badges of experience. Some women get those kinds of scars too. I once met a woman whose face looked like she'd been in a knife fight with a pirate. She said no, as a kid she'd scraped her face with barbed wire trying to out scramble a couple of boys through a fence. She grinned and her eyes displayed pride, not shame. The scar added to her character. But that isn't always the case. For many women, experiences they endure leave gaping holes in their character, cripple, even stunt their development.

I looked into the eyes of a young woman this evening. She was with a guy, his arm around her shoulders. They walked across the street into darkness. She stared back at my headlights. Her shoulders were slightly hunched, her head pivoted on a retracted neck. Her makeup was over done. Her eyes looked both wary and weary. There was no scrape on her cheek. Her scarring was much deeper, affecting her whole posture and the furtive fear of pain in her eyes. Like so very many others, she likely does not feel particularly attractive. And so, she is willing to make a deal to gain social acceptance. That deal leaves her vulnerable to abuse. It is the inevitable abuse that leaves her scarred. Each new scar weighs deeply on her ever growing doubt of self worth. Without worth, she seems headed toward oblivion.

If the need for connection were not so compelling and the desire to feel of worth not so strong, no deals would be made, no abuse would be inflicted. Contrast the women above with the woman in the previous post At the Precipice. Both are surrounded by Nature's grandeur. One is totally absorbed, the others more concerned with making or maintaining social connection. Their postures are completely different. The one absorbed has shoulders relaxed, head and neck extended into her task. The other three all have necks retracted, shoulders tensed in protective mode. The one absorbed has little to fear. Knowing many of Nature's rules, she approaches with confidence and wonder. The other three apparently have much to fear, and are in continuous negotiations to mitigate that fear. The one shows no evidence of scarring. The other three display great potential for acquiring deep lasting scars in manner similar to the young woman I saw tonight.

The message, I think, is not to avoid social connection. The question seems to be: what, if any, kind of deal to make? Less scarring would be far less painful to observe.

Monday, August 28th, 2006
Bonneville Flats
18.9 mm 90 mm
1/60 sec
f 3.6