Bonjour, I am considered an attractive 26 year old woman. I have at times been

Read another response by Thomas Pogge, Jerrold Levinson
Read another response about Beauty, Feminism
Bonjour, I am considered an attractive 26 year old woman. I have at times been asked to model but never have. I find our culture's obsession with beauty unappealing and it has led me to sort of play down my beauty in dress. Should I be worried or at least concious of society and its issues around beauty? Or should I just strive to be the most beautiful I can be, disregarding other things, purely for the sake of aesthetics?

I don't disagree with the first respondent, but I'll give you a somewhat different response, and taking my cue from the 'Bonjour' with which you open, will give it en français. (If the cue was misleading, I'll be happy to translate subsequently!) Premièrement, la beauté est une chose rare et précieuse, et ceux ou celles qui s'en réjouissent ne devrait jamais se sentir coupable à son égard. Deuxièmement, même si la beauté n'était qu'une affaire d'esthétique, qui dit que l'esthétique est moins importante que l'éthique, ou que l'esthétique ne comprend pas, d'une certaine optique, un aspect éthique? (Certainement pas Kant!) Troisièmement, personne n'arrive vraiment à négliger ou à nier complètement les valeurs de la societé entourante; de plus, ces valeurs ne sont jamais avec du moins une certaine justification. Quatrièmement, c'est vrai que la beauté ouvre beaucoup de portes qui autrement resteraient fermées, mais ce n'est pas la sagesse de refuser d'y entrer pour cette raison seule; on n'a que d'y entrer avec circonspection, et sans aveuglement. Cinquièmement, pour en finir, je dirais que la vie de mannequin n'est pas, tout bien consideré, une vie souhaitable, mais qu'on peut quand même tirer de la satisfaction du fait qu'on vous l'avait proposée...

Put otherwise: First, beauty is a rare and precious thing, and those who possess it should never be made to feel guilty about it. Secondly, even if beauty is only an aesthetic matter, who says that aesthetics is less important than ethics, or at any rate, that aesthetics does not include, viewed from a certain angle, an ethical aspect? (Certainly not Kant!) Thirdly, no one can entirely succeed in ignoring or denying the values of the society around them, and those values are also never without at least some justification. Fourthly, it's true that beauty opens many a door that would otherwise remain closed, but it's not wise to refuse to enter them just for that reason, provided one enters circumspectly and without self-deception. Fifthly, to conclude, I would say that the life of a model is not, all things considered, something to wish for, but even so, one can derive some satisfaction from the fact of having been asked...

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