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'I never heard of "Uglification,"' Alice ventured to say. 'What is it?'

"Let the ceremony Take place of the uglification of the Queen." --Oedipus Tyrannus; or, Swellfoot the Tyrant, published anonymously; a burlesque on the trial of Queen Caroline by Percy Bysshe Shelley

"But an important caution must here be entered. Natives speak with such horror about the various forms of ugliness, and repulsion is so clearly discernible in their behaviour that there is no temptation to doubt their word. In fact, in games and amusements, an albino, an idiot, or a man afflicted with skin disease is so completely left out of the fun that his loneliness and isolation wake pity even in the frigid heart of an ethnographer. Thus observation fully confirmed the verbal proposition in which all the natives are agreed, that all such people are absolutely debarred from sexual intercourse and that they have to resort to solitary means of satisfaction." --The Sexual Life of Savages

Welwitschia has been called the ugliest plant in the world
Welwitschia has been called the ugliest plant in the world

Related e



Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Ugliness is a property of a person or thing that is unpleasant to look upon. It often indicates that something provokes revulsion or horror. The term is commonly used in reference to human appearance. The opposite of ugliness is beauty.

Some argue that ugliness is a matter of subjective aesthetics, claiming that one person may perceive to be beautiful something that another may find ugly (as referenced in the popular phrase Beauty is in the eye of the beholder). However the predominant view in the scientific fields is that human ugliness is part of sexual selection and an indicator of poor genetic or physical health.

Although usually thought of in terms of a lack of physical beauty, the property of ugliness, like beauty, may also be ascribed to other phenomena, such as music, literature, human behavior, and so on.

In the 19th century the 'cult of ugliness' developed into a new aesthetic category.


In people

People who appear ugly to others suffer well-documented discrimination, earning 10 to 15 percent less per year than similar workers, and are less likely to be hired for almost any job, but lack legal recourse to fight discrimination.

Socrates (see "The Phenomenology of Ugly", 2010) is said to have used his ugliness as a philosophical touchstone, concluding that philosophy can save us from our outward ugliness. Famous in his own time for his perceived ugliness, Abraham Lincoln was described by a contemporary: "to say that he is ugly is nothing; to add that his figure is grotesque, is to convey no adequate impression." However, his looks proved to be an asset in his personal and political relationships, as his law partner William Herndon wrote, "He was not a pretty man by any means, nor was he an ugly one; he was a homely man, careless of his looks, plain-looking and plain-acting. He had no pomp, display, or dignity, so-called. He appeared simple in his carriage and bearing. He was a sad-looking man; his melancholy dripped from him as he walked. His apparent gloom impressed his friends, and created sympathy for him—one means of his great success."

Films related to "ugliness"


Ugliness in Northern Renaissance

Contemporary photographers fascinated with ugliness

Diane Arbus - Nan Goldin

The sublime

Burke and the sublime

The sublime may inspire horror, but one receives pleasure in knowing that the perception is a fiction. Burke's concept of the sublime was a stark contrast to the classical notion of aesthetic quality in Plato's Philebus, Ion, and Symposium, and suggested ugliness as an aesthetic quality.

Cult of ugliness

Cult of ugliness

Cult of ugliness refers to a relatively new phenomenon, coinciding with modern art, in the history of art theory: the rejection of classical beauty ideals and the embracing of ugliness.



See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Ugliness" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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