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The Supposed Connection Between Ugliness And Evil

1772 words - 8 pages

Beauty is a phenotypic, gene-driven state, but is also socially constructed within society. Beautiful people are often given preferential treatment and are viewed as superior and charming. On the other hand, ugly people are viewed differently, they are often treated as outcasts, and viewed as socially inept and morally malicious. The reproduction of dominant ideologies, such as these, reinforce cultural norms, which are expectations and cues within society, and the power of ruling classes. This ideological power is used as a means of social control, through cultural hegemony – the overbearing dominance of an ideology causing conformity and an almighty consensus. These hegemonic powers normalize and strengthen social inequality among the various socially constructed normative traits within our society, specifically beauty in terms of Frankenstein. A combination of the social construction of beauty and the self-fulfilling prophecy, society often associates expected social roles with learned behaviors, and often correlate the two to each other. This idea is clearly depicted throughout Frankenstein, when society automatically interrelates an ugly appearance with an immoral character. In Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, the socially constructed category of beauty is reinforced and directly affects morality. Specifically, this can be seen through the self-fulfilling prophecy and in Victor Frankenstein's creature, and how his external aesthetic of being ugly and grotesque forces society to correlate his appearance with being evil and monstrous, ultimately changing his morality from benevolent to corrupted.
Physical appearance is often the first characteristic seen in others that induces judgment, since it is prevalently, outwardly displayed. In Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein attempts to create a perfect human being, but instead produces a truly hideous creature. As soon as the monster is brought to life, it is immediately affected by society's social construction of physical appearance, forcing the creature into a category of being hideous. This can be seen through the creature's description always being described by a member of society, an outside view, initially evident through Victor Frankenstein's first description. Furthermore, through evidence found in Denise Gigante's “Facing Ugly: The Case of Frankenstein”, and Frankenstein, it can be proven that the creature is genuinely an unnatural and repulsive-looking being, in terms of society's expectations of what constitutes beautiful and ugly. First, Gigante claims that a clear eye, smooth and unblemished skin, physical proportion, and fitness, are qualities that constitute beauty, all characteristics that the creature's appearance opposes. Because society praises all of these features, and the creature displays the opposite of each, society automatically considers the creature ugly.
Furthermore, the main argument that Gigante makes is that, “Victor's description takes the form of what might be...

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