"It's OK to Be Ugly"

by Al Siebert, PhD

THRIVEnet Story of the Month - June, 1996

Oftentimes thriving involves changing yourself and your world view, but Lynn Romer, a Utah woman with a long nose and a plain face, decided to do something about the views of others in her world. After 36 years of experience and attempts to "fit in," Lynn says, "I'm ugly. What's wrong with that? I'm ugly and please don't try to tell me I'm not, because if you do, then I'm going to think there is something wrong being ugly. It's OK to be ugly. I think I have a beautiful soul and that's all that matters."

Lynn has formed a group called The Pinocchio Plot. She named it after the character from children's stories whose lies made his nose grow. The group's purpose is to battle against the "lookism"--or the judging of people's character by their physical appearance--that she sees everywhere in society. Her main target is the entertainment industry, which is fond of stereotypes equating beauty with virtue and ugliness with evil.

"People think that if a person is happy being fat, there's something wrong with that person. But who has the problem? It is people who don't like to look at fat people." Lynn says. And her point is well taken. If you are happy with who you are or what you look like, more power to you because so many people are not.

She is trying to instill role models into the world that aren't perfect. Imagine Danny DeVito as Prince Charming, short, chubby, and balding; Snow White with wrinkles, and even the Wicked Stepmother without warts. These types of role models, Lynn says, would show youngsters that they can be worthy and capable even if they don't fit society's idea of beauty. "The lessons we learn as children are the ones that stick with us the rest of our lives. Those lessons are hard to undo."

With her organization and planned newsletter, she hopes to become a clearinghouse for ugly information. The Pinocchio Plotters are even sponsoring a contest inviting authors to submit children's books with positive portrayals of "appearance-impaired" characters. She is also busy writing hundreds of letters a year to newspapers, magazines, and other media outlets disseminating her point of view.

Lynn gives us all a useful lesson in life. Accept and like who you are and you will have a greater chance of being happy, be able to use your attributes to your advantage, and you will much more likely thrive.

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