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Impractical Beauty Standards in Scott Westerfield’s Uglies

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“Is it not good to make a society full of beautiful people” (Westerfield pg 1). In the public eye most imperfections are often seen as ugly by societal standards. Many people feel the need to alter their bodies because they think it will automatically make them happier and fix all their problems. What people don’t understand is that, they don’t have to be physically flawless to be beautiful. A person’s mind and heart can make them a beautiful person. Society focuses so much on the physical standard of beauty and not the mental standard of beauty. Uglies by Scott Westerfield shines light on the controversy in the world because society wants everyone to be physically beautiful and anyone who has imperfections needs to change.

One of the primary subjects in Scott Westerfield’s Uglies is the contention that young people have to undergo plastic surgery to transform into beautiful people. The world that Westerfield superbly depicts how we, as the general public, see magnificence. We consider excellence to be flawlessness, not a line strange, and this judgment happened because of our craving for flawlessness. People should be focused on “What you do, the way you think, makes you beautiful.” (Westerfield pg 86). Instead, people have pressure and judgement from society in their faces all day everyday, everywhere. A prime example is magazines, when getting any magazine the first page will undoubtedly be modified to show us how we should look. Photoshopped models are seen as enticing because individuals in society see models and motion picture stars and then they starve themselves until they feel accepted by the world.

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Westerfield depicts the antagonizing beauty standards through the use of internal and external conflict real life people face, represented through fictional characters. In the dystopian novel, all teenagers must have plastic surgery when they are 16 to transform their external aesthetics. That is where the main character comes into play, Tally Youngblood cannot wait to become pretty, but her life changes when she meets Shay, a girl who wants to remain ugly. Toward the start of the novel the characters are told that pretty people have delightful and hopeful lives. Which leads to “the logical conclusion of everyone looking the same is everyone thinking the same” (Westerfield pg 113), teens including Tally believe this but in reality flaws give people individuality but society puts pressure on people to cover, change, or feel ashamed about them. As time goes on Tally comes to realize that everything, even the simplest, beings are perfect the way they were created. For example, “Nature didn’t need an operation to be beautiful. It just was” (Westerfield pg 153). When Tally realized true beauty in the world around she was able to recognize the strong beauty she possesses. Tally influenced other teenagers as they began to question their fate and whether changing their bodies was truly going to make them happier. A big question that came up was, “What happens when perfection isn’t good enough?” (Westerfield pg 207). The teens had to consider if they would be going through drastic changes for nothing.

Scott Westerfield’s Uglies is nothing short of a teaching novel because it talks about how people with flaws need to change their body to become flawless and fit in with society. Many people view themselves as ugly or not enough due to the world’s unrealistic beauty standards. This causes poor mental and physical health all because society does not see the true beauty within, it only judges what’s on the outside. When people realize their own beauty then they will be able to discover all the beautiful things the world has to offer. Impractical beauty standards are ruining the youth of the world and it needs to be put to an end. What good will the world be if it’s filled with depressed “beautiful” people?

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