In Appreciation of the Jolie Laide & More

Humans exist constantly in search for beauty. We have a natural fascination with beauty, and the strange combination of both power and vulnerability that comes in hand with beauty. People will always gravitate towards whatever the society's standard of perfect beauty is, but at the same time there will always be a place for perfect imperfections. Little details that may be seen as "ugly" when compared to the standard, but make the person or object in question wholly beautiful. Regarding people, the type of beauty we naturally seek most eagerly, the unpolished details set truly beautiful people apart from the cookie-cutter copies of society's standard. Imperfections make room for emotion and character when it comes to beauty. The French have always been a culture to appreciate their little differences, coining the term jolie laide (literally, "pretty ugly") and embracing it.

As a young female in the thick of her teenage years, I can understand the appeal of perfection. But I also see the beauty in the jolie laide and wish to be nothing more. At this point in my life, I'm observing the world around me and figuring out where I want to fit into it and I don't want to be the cookie cutter definition of perfection. I want to have faults and imperfections, and to love myself, not in spite of the fact, but because of it. This post is a little bit random for the middle of fashion month, but I think it shows a lot about where I am right now. Last year I was ignoring my "personal" self and lived through my laptop and this blog, but these days I've been finding myself in the moment more often. And it's been beautiful. Teenage-hood is frustrating and intense and superficial and I can't say I'm enjoying every second of it but I am most certainly living every second of it to the fullest of my ability.

I'm living my own coming-of-age novel before I get old and boring and need to romanticize and capitalize my experiences :)

Frida, one of my very favorite jolie laides

this photo from tumblr


I took this photo at Nan Goldin's Ballad of Sexual Dependency at MoMA. Beautifully moving and intense photos, truly memorable; I cried in the dark of the photo show. (My teenage hormones and emotional perspective is all over the place, mind you, but the show is still moving nonetheless.)




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  2. What a wonderful understanding of beauty! I hadn't heard the term "Jolie Laides" before , but it ("pretty ugly") is a self evident part of true beauty. It's heartening that you are living life and loving yourself for your own beautiful imperfections. I haven't found any way to turn time backwards and time seems to keep going faster as one gets older - enjoy your youth :)

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