Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Poems and Creative Posts about the Politics of Beauty

Camille T. Dungy - Because It Looked Hotter that Way 
(with thanks to "We Real Cool" by Gwendolyn Brooks)


  1. In the poem "Because It Looked Hotter that Way," Dungy had a specific line that really caught my attention: "Beauty or hell. No difference." I found this interesting because in many ways "beauty" can be compared to hell. For example, when I was younger I was always taught that beauty is pain, especially when it came to doing hair. It was painful to get your hair combed, painful to get a perm, you have to sleep pretty so you will not mess up your hair, ect. Beauty is also "hell" because in many ways people are criticized for how they look, whether they are attractive by society's standards or not, everyone's beauty is judged; Basically in some you have to go through Hell when it comes to "Beauty."

  2. The poem emphasized that youth was fleeting and that youth was ideal."we let our hair down. It wasn't so much that we worried about what people thought or about keeping it real but that we knew this was our moment. We knew we'd blow our cool sooner or later. Probably sooner. Probably even before we got too far out of Westmont High and had kids of our own who left." These lines echo the themes of youth being fleeting and living in the moment. They aren't concerned with other's perception of them but rather the need to capture their moment. The narrative of Mr. Lurk reliving his glory days reaffirm this importance of youth and enjoying it while it lasts. Beauty played in the poem to emphasize how it didn't matter but trying to achieve beauty and playing into the pretty politics was just like hell.