Tuesday 4 October 2011

Taboo: an ugly baby

When I was pregnant, I used to argue with a friend that there was no such thing as an ugly baby. Every single time, she would get the laptop and google "ugly baby" to show me pictures that I would not even consider looking at. The first time she laid eyes on Alice, she happily claimed that she was super relieved that Alice was a cute baby!

However, once in a while, she would bring up the subject of ugly babies and, very seriously, tell me that I was in denial. Even Dan, looking at the scene while making tea, admitted that some kids are not born with the best of attributes but who cares since they will be unconditionally loved by their parents because this is how life should be!

Yesterday, I purchased a special edition of a "hispster" Montreal magazine dedicated to babies. The publication has its share of hipsterism but I was delighted with the articles. One was about ugly babies and left me so confused that I decided to write a little post on the subject.

Lets be very honest, some babies are cuter than other. My friend was "right", I just didn't want to say it because deep down it felt wrong! The article didn't shock me because it claimed that some babies look like a mogwai fed after midnight (aka a gremlin). No, it freaked me out because of the statistics implied in the text. According to a recent study, 70% of babies victim of physical abuses were born with malformations. Another controversial study shows that "pretty" babies received more positive attention from strangers. Finally, another study claims that women are more likely to reject unattractive babies than men.

The other day, at the museum, I joked with a stranger complimenting Alice that babies have to be cute especially when they wake us up in the middle of the night. The woman stopped for a few seconds and admitted that my silly comment made a lot of sense. So, is it easier to love a cute baby? If so, is it a remnant of our caveman days... the weak (aka unattractive one) should not survive (natural selection theory)?

Personally, I hope that all of this is complete bullshit and that every single baby gets all the love and care they deserve...because all babies are awesome!

And don't forget my little giveaway!

* * * * *
emily: I could shower at night but my hair would scare people on the street! I think that it os pretty cool to be (try to be) a hot mama.

indigorchid: Ah, Internet is such a small world ;) You are right, a lot of people struggle with putting the effort in to cutifying themselves...not just new moms.

ali: That would be so fun to be in your group. I will find you on Flickr. I will probably start next week (taking decent pictures will be a challenge...especially with all those dark rainy days).

daniela: Happy happy joy joy :) I will send you an email with my address ! You are sssooo nice!

jen: I live for excel spreadsheets ;) I would love to make illustrations like you but it is not a option! You are so talented. xox


taryn said...

I don't really understand how we determine what qualifies one baby as attractive and another as unattractive. How do you measure that? I do think most babies are funny looking, but in a pretty cute way, and aren't parents programmed to find their babies beautiful even if they are the most hideous little gremlins? That way they get all the loving they need. I hope it's bullshit too because I find those stats pretty heartbreaking.

Tallulah Maggs said...

Gosh, those stats! I think all parents think their babie's are the most beautiful baby ever and that's how it should be, I guess were wired that way.
That said, my boy was not so pretty, he was all gangly and skinny and very, very wrinkled newborn, kinda like Golem from Lord of the Rings but less evil, ha! We loved him all the same, he was beautiful to us, his wrinkles and gangliness just added to the cute factor, but make no mistake, we were well aware of other peoples reactions when they peered into the pram and did a double take!

alyson said...

I have no problem saying that I think Wolf is a cute baby opposed to an ugly baby because quite frankly, I was not very cute! I had a scowl on my face in 90% of my baby photos and a ginormous forehead. we definitely lucked out that Wolf got Levi's genes {or should I say jeans? ha ha ha} but I have a hard time saying that there is such a thing as ugly babies. all babies are cute in their own way and perhaps the ones that aren't "pretty babies" are just those ugly ducklings who will blossom later in life.

p.s. I googled ugly baby and had to close the window REALLY fast. it was frightening!

Anonymous said...

Hmm interesting post. I'm on your side all babys are cute, even just for how pure they are, but (thank god) you don't know me or any of your readers since I don't have a blog, so here goes something very personal: my daughter is really, really really cute, think shirley temple, green eyes, blond curly hair, fair skin very healthy looking baby. We are stopped every where, on the airplane, the bank, the restaurant, the market every where and it sucks. Because every one is very fixated on how cute she is and she is starting to understand this and she is not liking it, she turns two next week. so as soon as someone comments she becomes shy and hides on my neck, and she is not a shy baby she is actually very outgoing crazy girl, so to me and to her, her cuteness kind of suck because is the first thing people notice and I'm afraid this makes her personality change to a bad place because she is getting attention for something that is not important and that her true self may get lost in wanting to avoid that attention. Anyway I wont google uggly baby but I'm telling my husband to do so, he will be in thrauma!

Kara said...

Through the years, I have seem some funny looking babies (i would naver say "ugly"!). And I've always had the same immediate reactions as I do when I see a funny-looking doggie - I feel an immediate warmth and feeling of protection, like an underdog. Because in western society, we all know that good looks is highly valued. It sucks, but it happens.
Also, like Anonymous' child - my daughter is a very pretty little girl. I remember asking my husband when she was tiny if she was really as pretty as she looked to me (with my mom-vision)? We get stopped all the time, people say she's cute, i say thanks, and some even say "no - REALLY. she's very very pretty". ummm...thanks. She's happy and a big smiler, so I think that has a lot do do with it (and green eyes with super long black eyelashes jsut adds to it). Here's the thing - one of my oldest friends (who is a beautiful and vein woman) always goes on and on about how pretty my daughter is when she sees her. I kind of get annoyed and will say "More importantly, she's SMART!". Because at some point she will likely be a goofy 7-year old with too-big front teeth or a unproportioned pre-teen, and I dont want THAT to be what's important to her. i dont even want to look up ugly babies on the internet - it will make me cry :(

ines said...

This post reminds me of that "Seinfeld" episode. When they go to the Hamptons to meet the baby. It's really quite a funny episode, I know there are people out there who think there are ugly babies and admittedly there are some babies who seem to endear themselves more than others. I think they are all pretty cute; what with their wrinkles and grunts and grimaces. But I believe the stats you state, my naivete denies me the ability to comprehend the evil that possess people to do some of the things they do to some of our most vulnerable citizens. But it does exist. In any event, I will continue to live in my world where every baby is beautiful. Especially my three week old!

Anonymous said...

yo!j'avait raison...ya des bébés qui sont laids...mouhahaha...don't worry Alice c'est la plus belle....jusqu'a ce que je mette ma fille au monde...la ce sera la 2ieme plus belle au monde héhé je vous aimes les amis

Celia said...

when i was pregnant, joe made a comment that one of our friends had a fat baby (look who's talking now... lucia might be the chubbiest baby i've ever come across). we got in a fight about it and i turned into a crying mess. obviously, i was very hormonal. of course there are unattractive (i hate the word "ugly") babies because there are unattractive people. but, who cares? personally, i think putting so much emphasis on a baby's looks, although a very popular thing to do in our culture, is unnecessary. i guess i'm guilty of it too because i LOVE to tell people how cute their babies are, and how much i want to eat their adorable faces. honestly, i *know* i have a cute baby; she gets TONS of attention from strangers on the street, and even though it's very flattering, it also freaks me out a little... especially when they ask if they can hold her or pinch her thighs (who does that?). but you know what the absolutely cutest thing about my baby is? her personality. i'm being dead serious. she's incredibly friendly, she's always smiling and laughing, and unless it's bedtime, she hardly ever fusses. what's cuter than that??

bugheart said...

i do think
some babies
like winston
or other
old men figures...
but i hate
to think
that means
they are less
to be loved...
sad to think
we are still
so obsessed
how cute
or ugly babies
but it does
seem to be
what people
in congratulations
the most-
"she's gorgeous"
"such a beautiful baby"
i suppose that
will only get worse
as they get older...

Renae said...

I do think there's such a thing as funny looking babies! We think Elijah is beautiful and get a lot of compliments about him however on the weekend I experienced the first bit of negativity toward him; I'm a redhead and he is showing signs of being a little ginger. Being Australian where people think it's acceptable to hate on redheads friends of ours were saying " oh he looks like he'll be ginger oh hahaha". I felt so sad that my gorgeous little boy is already being judged on his hair colour :(

Carlinha said...

When my son was born by c-section I had some people telling me that I was lucky because he would be a "cute baby." When I asked why they would reply that his head would be round and he wouldn't have to go through the birth canal. That made me very upset. Babies are all beautiful and they bring so much joy and happiness that no matter what they actually look like, they are all sweet and innocent creatures. Let's not start to put pressure on babies from day 1...