Probably, this won't change your mind!
Posted by Margie on September 28, 1997 at 16:51:34:
In response to still way weird..., written by greg on September 27, 1997 at 18:05:00
I'm going to attempt to explain my viewpoint, but, I promise, if it fails, I am ready to respect that our viewpoints are just different. I am certain that you are correct that Mr. B's sentiments were commonplace at the time. There are 2 absurdities built into his application of his sentiments, though. First, I need to say what I think might motivate someone to hold those sentiments. I think there are 2 possible reasons that a person might insist that young girls or women maintain a very plain appearance. The first is, that one might think (I don't, but one might) that
the responses that a plain person elicits from other people, are more conducive to a good life, than the responses that a beautiful or attractive person elicits. The other is that one might wish to discourage a girl or woman from thinking a lot about her own appearance, to discourage vanity, to fix the thoughts and actions on "higher" things than improving one's appearance.
In either case, it's absurd for Mr. B. to insist that it's so bad for the Lowood girls to have curls, when his own wife and daughters are so tarted up. The moral arguments should apply to either set of women. The second absurdity only kicks in, if the point is to discourage girls from thinking a lot about their appearance. It's this (and I can tell you this from experience, since my own hair is naturally curly --naturally in the sense of "Naturally, my hair curls since I got it permed."): the easiest thing you can do with curly hair is to let it curl. If you were truly encouraging a girl with curly hair not to think about her appearance, you'd just let the hair rip. Trying to flatten out curly hair demands quite a lot of energy and attention paid to one's appearance. I remember women ironing their curly hair in the late 60's.
I don't imagine that Miss T. was in any way surprised by his viewpoint. I also don't think that surprise is neccessary
to amusement. I think she could be amused by his absurdity, without being surprised by it.
Well, what do you think? Do we agree to disagree?!
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