All posts tagged pretty

In one week, I will be presenting my conference paper for the class, which will encompass the many ideas I have for my research paper. In “Uglies Confronts Issues about Insecurities in Our Society,” I will explain how Scott Westerfeld uses his dystopian novel to criticize an aspect of society. In Uglies, he uses the “pretties” to represent the many people in our society who think they have to be perfect all of the time and the girls who are constantly dissatisfied with their bodies. Technology and social media have provided young girls with skewed images of what being pretty looks like. Westerfeld realizes this is a problem, and one way in which he can spread the message about problems in the world is by using his novels.

The increasing problem that Westerfeld addresses in his novel Uglies is something we have to address immediately. Patients seeking cosmetic surgery have shifted in age from a somewhat older population to a young one. Many girls think they need to be normal, but they already are. Technology and mass media has created a false image of what reality looks like, and it is costing us young girls’ innocence. In Judith Burns’ article about pressuring girls into looking pretty has very astonishing and repulsive statistics. Among seven- to ten-year olds, “38% felt they were not pretty enough (Burns). This is absolutely insane. These girls either have not reached double digits in the ages or just have. I can’t even remember thinking about how I looked. This number increased to 66% in 11- to 21-year olds, which is crazy (Burns). All of the girls think they are not pretty enough, not good enough, but what they don’t see is that each one of them is beautiful in her own way.

Westerfeld realized that using plastic surgery to make someone look “normal” is wrong, and the shift towards this as a norm should not be happening. Critics even look to judge a woman based on how she looks instead of what she is actually saying. Women are being judged based on looks, and it is affecting how girls and women look at themselves. Young girls are still maturing, so most of them don’t realize what they’re about to go through. Body image disorders are increasing in number, more young girls are seeking plastic surgery because they think they look abnormal, and women are pressured to look pretty all of the time. All of these extreme measures are costing us innocence, money, personal relationships, physical risks, and psychological effects. Westerfeld is warning us what will happen if we continue this trend, so we need to address plastic surgery and body image issues immediately.


Burns, Judith. “Pressure to Look Perfect Hits Girls’ Confidence, Say Guides.” BBC News, 4 Oct.            2016, Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.

While dystopias can contain various characteristics that make them what they are, there are a couple aspects that fascinate me. One aspect in particular that catches my attention is the fact that many authors of dystopian novels criticize a certain type of political system, a norm of a society, or a current trend that their society is leaning towards (“Dystopias”). Today, many judge people based on looks and what they see fit as being pretty. In Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies, he criticizes this aspect of society by making the citizens of the dystopia go through a transformation (plastic surgery) to make themselves all pretty. They do not even get to have a choice about what they look like; the government decides everything for them. In this novel, society holds one, single definition of what pretty is and pressures everyone into becoming the picture of the definition. Westerfeld takes the novel to an extreme. He relays the idea that if some of us keep encouraging plastic surgery and being “perfect,” they will never achieve perfection. We cannot keep moving towards surgery and every available option to “fix” us; we are perfect in our own way. In another part of the novel, Westerfeld criticizes the world with his use of the Rusties. These people are more concerned with making a profit off of anything they can rather than caring for the environment or negative consequences. Westerfeld stressed the problems in our world today that need to be fixed, and we should try to not head toward these outcomes.

In this photo, a beautiful girl is about to go through plastic surgery most likely because she wants to fulfill society’s definition of pretty.

Another aspect of a dystopia that particularly interests me is that a dystopia is an illusion of a perfect world. The surgeries that are supposed to make the citizens “perfect” actually cause a problem. Many in Uglies don’t see the problem with having the surgery because they don’t know anything outside of their society. The citizens are told what is “right,” but that is not necessarily what is right. It can connect with the world today because many people are attempting to transform themselves for various reasons, and I need to find out why. Uglies consists of an illusion of a perfect society and criticizes many aspects of society, making it one of my favorite dystopian novels.


Works Cited

“Dystopias: Definition and Characteristics.” ReadWriteThink. NCTE/IRA, 2006,      nCharacteristics.pdf. Accessed 21 May 2017.