What I'm starting to notice, however, is that it's becoming a trend in society. Ugly sweater contests fill the holiday calendars while Instagram shots with "ugly" filters are passed around online. Even the selfie, the now ubiquitous and perhaps mandatory picture-pose is ugly, yet almost charming at the same time. Selfies are often taken with poor lenses (front cameras on phones are vastly inferior to their rear counterparts) with poor lighting, at poor angles, and with almost no sense of orientation or focus. Inevitably, the taker's face is huge in comparison to the rest of the group. Somehow, though, this is what people like now. Ugly is in.
Why is ugly the name of the game these days? I'm sure there are many theories out there ("we live in an imperfect world", "we never processed 9/11", "Millennials don't want to be told what to do") but perhaps the simplest answer is that it's the only way to stand out. As technology improves and everything moves towards "sameness", the only way to set yourself apart is with planned, purposeful mistakes. Intentionally ripping one's jeans is fashionable because it's way different than boring old regular jeans. Ugly photos make one take a second look, because high-res traditional photos don't excite us anymore. It's almost a state of devolution where a lack of natural predators in the artistic aesthetic mindset has led to intentional decay. Is it a problem? Who knows...but I think it's clear that ugly is now acceptable...so long as it's the pretty ugly.