HAVANA TIMES, Jan 20 — In the slow but unstoppable process of the pluralization of Cuban society, various groups (religious believers, gays, people of African descent) have been shaping their identity, gaining ground and making their legitimate discourses coherent.
This is something extremely positive that we should celebrate.
Nevertheless, many other communities have failed to take shape because the trait that identifies them still lacks social prestige, therefore their potential members prefer to remain “in the closet.”
I’m thinking of the poor but also people who are ugly.** It’s to the latter that I want to dedicate this post.
It’s difficult to address the issue without it seeming like a cruel joke (a symptom of the lack of respect they receive). Nevertheless, what’s suffered by those who are ugly isn’t funny, especially those who are unable to compensate for or disguise their ugliness by appealing to other faculties.
To make matters worse, the ugly don’t yet have the protection of an ideology, a religion or a body of doctrine. Even the poor have their philosophers and their heroes, but who speaks of the day when everyone will look the same?
Has anyone dared to deny beautiful people passage through the gate of heaven? Why doesn’t anyone yet want to “cast their lot” with the ugly of the earth***?
The media desperately avoids racist and sexist references, but even classic children’s stories (“The Ugly Duckling” or “Cinderella”) are full of homely-phobia, which isn’t prohibited.
To my knowledge, only Shrek has raised up his big green head for us in recent times.
Though I don’t count myself among the most horrible, I too have also suffered exclusion and loneliness; my suffering has been immense for having such a huge ego.
Nonetheless, a wave of courage occasionally swells up within me and I try to make my contribution to the pro-ugly movement.
It’s not very difficult. Being ugly, one needs only relax and be themselves, letting their body shape to fit, without any self-repression. To achieve this, for example, I’m freely letting myself grow a goatee.
In its slow advance towards the center of the earth, my goatee is breaking up the harmony of my face and generating immediate non-acceptance by people around me. Normally there comes a point when I can’t stand it anymore, so I’ll trim it. But this time I’ve gone further than ever.
* At all schools in Cuba there is a homeroom pledge where the students chant in unison, “We will be like Che” (Ernesto Guevara).
** When I say “ugly” and “pretty,” I mean what society understands by these notions.
*** Jose Marti, Cuba’s national hero, wrote: “With the poor of the world, I cast my lot.