Comment Of The Day: Ethics Quiz: Celebrity Post Retirement Photos

Mermaidmary99 has a strange relationship with Ethics Alarms: about half of her comments get sent straight to spam by WordPress for no apparent reason. This is perplexing for her and me, since she so often has an original and perceptive opinion to share. This Comment of the Day is an example, and yes, I found it in the spam collection.

The Ethics Quiz asked readers, “Is it ethical to take unflattering photos of former performers and celebrities and publicize them expressly to invite cruel comments and ridicule?” It was sparked by two things: the emergence of the first photograph of former movie star Bridget Fonda, daughter of Peter, niece of Jane, grand-daughter of Henry, in twelve years. Last time the public saw her, Fonda looked more of less like she did in Quentin Tarentino’s “Jackie Brown,” above; the other was my wife’s complaint, after her recent stay in the hospital (a bad scare, but all is fine), that the nurses kept telling her she was beautiful (which she is) and she refuses to believe it, insisting that the years have not been kind. I thought the new photo of the considerably younger Mrs. Elfman would help her put things into perspective. (My wife’s answer: “I bet those nurses would tell her she’s beautiful too!”)

Here is mermaidmary99’s rescued Comment of the Day on the post, “Ethics Quiz: Celebrity Post Retirement Photos.”


Who judges if it’s unflattering?

My dad would look at [the recent photo] and see a miraculous, beautiful human being with trillions of cells working in perfect intelligence allowing us to see her standing. He’s also would be keenly aware that he too is a miracle, a person with 10 to the 30th power of different viruses inside him, trillions of bacteria and fungi, and cells with 200-8000 mitochondria in each one, working non-stop.

He’s know she is embodying the unseen, (cells) making millions of choices each millionth of a second, and that to see anything less than something miraculous and beautiful would reflect what is in him, not what she looked like.

Just for some perspective….

We have been taught differently what acceptable and beautiful is….

Because she’s overweight, hasn’t artificially kept her hair a certain color, is not posed for the camera, and doesn’t have other chemicals on her face to color things a way someone said was beautiful (probably an ad agency funding a cosmetic commercial about what real beauty is) we as a society are MISSING the miracle captured in that photo.

We are so far removed from nature and cultures who live more like nature intended, that we’d criticize each other’s appearance when it doesn’t live up to some multi-million dollar marketing campaign.

Be it a bald man feeling shamed because he lost his youthful full head of hair, or a woman whose lips have thinned, hair has greyed, and face has wrinkled, to so much more, there’s a much bigger thing beyond the question you ask.

And yes, it’s not healthy to keep in extra pounds, and if she were a skinny model in sweats with a “messy bun” and glasses, we’d all be thinking how natural and beautiful she is.

Only now, in this time in the culture of western places… if she was in Mauritania, they’d possibly argue she’s not beautiful because she’s not fat enough! That country  force feeds young girls so they are fat and beautiful.

So my point is, while I see your point, it’s only an issue because of the distorted beliefs we have that say what pretty or acceptable is.

I can’t even tell you how beautiful the “unbeautiful” are when you question these sick lies we’ve been sold telling us what beauty is.

And I’m thankful that my very good looking (by western standards) father who happened to be in the beauty business (cosmetology) taught me to see beauty in such a way that recognizes the miracle of every living creature.

And no, this doesn’t mean I think being an unhealthy weight is something to aspire to, or that wearing makeup is wrong, etc. or that enjoying fashion is shallow and all that…It’s just becoming aware of how we arrived at our definition of beauty is a very freeing thing, and opens up ones eyes to actually see the beauty around us.

And… we see so very little!!! To even get started considering what “she” is on a microscopic level!!!!! Wow!!! Talk about beauty!!!!!

We contain so much beauty visually on a cellular level as well as the functions of quadrillions of different species of organisms working in concert 24/7 so that our heart beats on its own, and other processes going on that allow us to even look at the screen where we’re reading this blog, to comprehend the words, and more.

Beauty is everywhere!

4 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: Ethics Quiz: Celebrity Post Retirement Photos

  1. There is some objectivity to beauty—it’s based on what is considered attractive for mating and reproductive purposes. I lean towards identifying the problem as beauty being overrated as a trait. I’m not attractive, and that’s ok because I have other redeeming qualities. I don’t need to be reassured that I’m “beautiful” to the extent that it starts to look like a denial of reality. Physical looks are one part of what comprises a person—probably the least important part. Women (and female celebrities even more) seem to need this affirmation more, at least it seems more that women almost desperately affirm one another’s beauty online and in other places, as if their friends’ entire well-being rested upon being beautiful. “You are beautiful, no matter what they say.” But that’s an accession to shallow, materialist culture which doesn’t have to be the case, does it? People who aren’t attractive tend to make up for it in other ways. By the time a person’s looks fade, they should be content and valued based on their wisdom, character, accomplishments, relationships, family, and acquired knowledge and skill. Instead looks are considered crucial at later and later ages, because we live in an anti-culture where everyone is afraid to not be seen, and even more afraid to grow old and die.

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