Debunking beauty standards
Aylmer writer publishes book to raise awareness of laidophobia
Longtime Aylmer resident and part time bookseller Kareen Martel has released her latest work “Laideronnie”. The French non-fiction book discusses her experiences with being bullied as a child, laidophobia, and navigating the world being described as ugly. Martel is a writer, a mother, and a bookseller at Librairie Michabou in Aylmer.
Laidophobia is society’s rejection and discrimination of ugliness. Martel compares this type of discrimination to fatphobia, which is the socially reinforced discrimination of fat people. Martel wants to highlight one of the most ignored forms of discrimination in her book to raise awareness of the experiences of people outside the beauty standard.
“Laidoronnie” is published by Éditions Somme Toute, a Quebec publisher and includes a preface by Quebec musical artist, Sofia Nolin.
“I read a lot of non-fiction and stories. I enjoy the genre because of the vulnerability, the absence of modesty, and how people talk about taboo topics that we don’t hear talked about often,” said Martel. “However, I didn’t see many texts that talked about ugliness. I thought maybe I can talk about it. I was also ashamed of talking about my experience being bullied. I wanted to raise awareness about how ugly people are treated in society and I thought this work could help me undo my shame surrounding laidophobia and my experiences.”
“I want to show that there is nothing wrong with being ugly. I think my being proud of the way you look might push the topic to at least be more neutral rather than insulting.”
Martel tells the Bulletin that laidophobia can have a real effect on someone both for their mental health but also their social and economic wellbeing. Sociological studies have shown that pretty people are more likely to get a job, or a promotion and are more comfortable in social situations.
“There is a halo effect that occurs for pretty people others will assume they are nice and intelligent but the opposite happens with an ugly person, others assume they are mean and stupid,” explained Martel. “This can lead to people excluding themselves or avoiding opportunities for fear of how people will see them.”
Martel hopes that her work can make people reconsider ugliness and possibly learn to appreciate it. She says at the very least she hopes that people can start treating people with kindness and humanity.
Photo: Kareen Martel author of “Laideronnie”
Photo: Courtesy of Kareen Martel