What does it mean to say that someone, or something, is ugly? For a label that gets tossed around so often, its meaning is hard to pin down. Perhaps that's because, throughout history and around the world, our notions of ugliness have shifted considerably.
The word has been associated with disease, poverty, and with physical and moral decay. But it has also been embraced by artists, musicians, pop culture, and recently even by children's toy makers. Are we witnessing a renaissance of ugliness?
While that remains to be seen, one thing is for sure: The world's favorite insult isn't going anywhere anytime soon. This hour, we trace the word's history, both here and abroad, to discover the "ugly" truth.
- Gretchen Henderson - Award winning writer and a Professor at Georgetown University; author of Ugliness: A Cultural History
- Toni Raiten-D’antonio - Psychotherapist and a professor at the State University of New York Empire State College; author of Ugly as Sin: The Truth About How We Look and Finding Freedom From Self-Hatred
- Daniel Hamermesh - Sue Killam Professor Emeritus in the Foundation of Economics at the University of Texas at Austin; author of Beauty Pays: Why Attractive People Are More Successful
- “At Seventeen” by Janis Ian
- “Get An Ugly Girl To Marry You” by The Coasters
- “You’re The Reason Our Kids Are Ugly” by Loretta Lynn & Conway Twitty
Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to this show, which originally aired on January 5, 2016.