Facing the Ugly Face

Erika Goble

Abstract


Ugliness is largely considered an aesthetic, cultural construct and, though infrequently defined, is often seen as the opposite of existing conceptions of beauty. This definition of ugliness, however, provides little understanding of the lived experience of encountering it, particularly when that ugliness is found upon the face of another. This article explores the questions: what is ugliness? And what does it mean to experience another person as ugly? Through describing the experience of encountering an ugly face, ugliness is explored as a highly embodied, interpersonal experience that implicates the person who sees and recognizes another’s ugliness as much as it involves the ugly person, him- or herself.

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ISSN: 1913-4711