ugly | In the land of ugliness

You may be wondering how this woman speaks for the ugly. Because honestly, physically, you’ve seen worse, right? But in Kareen Martel’s life, many people believe that this label perfectly matches her. They even attached it to him. In Roberval, Quebec. In the school yard, on the bus, on the street: “You are latte”, they stoned him, with a click of the tongue “to better indicate rejection and extinction in shame”, did he refer to uglya personal account of ambient laidophobia.

Posted at 6:00 pm

Valerie Simard

Valerie Simard
The Press

It’s true that since she underwent an operation to advance her jaw, along with orthodontic treatment, at the age of 15, Kareen Martel hasn’t heard these harsh words. “It’s hard to know if it’s because maybe I’m a little more ordinary or because with age, we no longer directly shout names, except for public figures,” he wonders. Except for Safia Nolin, who signed the preface to the book. “The sun is finally rising and the bullies will live somewhere else, far away from the rest of us. Except me. For me, it’s different, ”said the singer-songwriter, who, often criticized for her looks, receives her share of hateful comments.

Kareen Martel also asked herself this question about the legitimacy of her speech: am I ugly enough to speak on behalf of ugly people? “Funny question,” he admits. But, after all, he told himself, Virginie Despentes, who he thought was attractive, had given himself the right to speak for ugly people. “I generally have doubts about whether I have the right to speak,” said the author, who also works at a bookstore in Gatineau.

I have a lot of anxiety about publishing the book. But since I was told and shouted at for 15 years, my identity was really faked.

Kareen Martel, author of ugly

Because when you make La Laideronnie your territory, it’s hard to go and land elsewhere. “Children, we are pushed to Ugly first, then we are locked up there twice. Then it becomes home, it becomes self, ”he wrote.

We become this person who hides in dark corners, avoids spotlights and gatherings, who walks slowly to avoid the gaze of others.

I still identify as ugly, I still act sunly, so I will avoid certain contexts.

Kareen Martel, author of ugly

After her study of literature, she dramatically turned down a job as a college teacher so that dozens of pairs of eyes could not see her. “I’m not looking to be the center of attention. I don’t want to have a floor. »

Hence the anguish that dwells with him at the end of the first story that he signs out of the collectives, on a very well-known subject. “I am ashamed to tell those around me what I write. Then, by forcing me to talk about it quietly, it helped me personally overcome the embarrassment of being identified as ugly. It’s also a way for me to try to deconstruct my own internal laidophobia. »

A struggle

If we talk about the dictates of beauty, we hardly talk about ugliness, she is homesick. And she wanted to do it for her child, a young adult, for everyone, and also for herself because she couldn’t escape the desire to lose her own ugliness. “If we celebrate ugliness by taking it with pride, we will find time, money. It is almost a struggle that is both social and anti-capitalist. »

I have the impression that we dehumanize the ugly, we blame them for their ugliness as if people have the right to see beautiful faces. This is not a right. The ugly have a right to their identity.

Kareen Martel, author of ugly

However, he wants to believe that in Ugly, “there is support, openness, empathy”. May the invisible relationships be woven between those who live there. “We’re alone, but I’d like to think there’s some ugly community. I don’t know if there really is. It might also be a way to make the story not too miserable. But maybe this community exists and we can learn. be proud. »

“Peace and love in the ugliness of this world”, Safia Nolin concludes in her preface. “Safia said no, I don’t give in to harassment, and I find that wonderful”, the author underlines.

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