Doris Lessing on Beauty, Entitlement …

…and, perhaps, Hedonism.

From the essay A Beauty, by Robert Boyers:

Useful, perhaps, to recall something from Doris Lessing which may have some bearing on the question of beauty. Lessing noted what she called “a basic female ruthlessness” in herself, and went on to disdain the notion that gender is, in its essence, “socially constructed.” How, she asked, did she acquire her husband? She stole him from another woman. And how did she feel about that? She felt, she said, that it was “my right”: “When I’ve seen this creature emerge in myself, or in other women, I have felt awe.” No need to pursue the question of what was, or was not, a “basic female ruthlessness” in Lessing. No need, in fact, to ask whether anything in Lessing’s description has more to do with women than with men. Critical, however, to consider that the awe Lessing cites — a quality others might describe as pride, pride in being what one is — may well have much to do with the experience of oneself as a being sufficient, whole, indisputable, and yes, beautiful in one’s felt disdain for standards not of one’s own choosing, as for example moral standards that have something to say about a woman’s setting out to steal another woman’s husband. Lessing’s awe rests upon an indifference to ways of feeling and judging that would interfere with the pure enjoyment or appreciation of a sublime self-approval aloof from the trivial misgivings of assorted scolds and moralists.

So if entitlement is not only a reflection of material inequity then perhaps those who revolt against inequity in general are not only expressing a desire for fairness, but also jealousy, in mixed and varying proportion?

Beauty is, after all, clearly inequitable and unfairly distributed.

So what if it is — else, should beauty be redistributed?

Via (some nsfw)

Leave a Reply