My brother’s clefts: When birth defects aren’t defects-Compete & Cooperate

A Disability, or Not? By Barbara Schonborn I didn’t think my brother Karl had birth defects. Nor did I think his cleft lip and cleft palate were disabilities. When we were children, Karl was just my competitor or my buddy. Brother with no birth defects completes the family. Steven, my second brother, was born when our family lived next door to our grandparents Schonborn in a rural neighborhood of Puyallup, Washington. Steven had no birth defects. His nose and mouth were normal, and he … [Read more...]

July is National Cleft & Craniofacial Awareness month: Two special blogs coming soon.

In honor of  National Cleft & Craniofacial Disorders Month, I'm planning two special posts in the upcoming weeks from a guest blogger. Stay tuned and be ready to be surprised and informed.   Cleft and Craniofacial Disorders Month. Go here for information about the meaning of this July's commemoration and for info about the many organizations supporting it. Also, consider donating a copy of Cleft Heart: Chasing Normal to one of these organizations . . . or to your dentist or … [Read more...]

Cleft lip news: bullying, ‘Wonder’ movie, Cher’s retreat.

This story by Sara Newman came to my attention recently. It provides useful info for families with cleft lip and palate kids. I've added the info about Cher and her facial differences camps."Anti-bullying messages are prevalent in today’s schools, but some kids still may not understand how mocking someone for their differences can have profound effects that last well beyond the school day.“It breaks my heart,” Michelle Aftimos of Pomfret, [Md] said of the bullying her son, Kyle, 8, has received … [Read more...]

Lookism & Halloween: witch or bitch face?

It is Halloween and the time that witch faces show up at parties and at neighborhood trick-or-treat outings. All sorts of other faces show up, too—esp some representing lookism gone wild (for example, sweet faces from Disney's studios and  pretty ones from Hollywood's glamor factories).Among meme-loving sophisticates, moreover, there's now the chance to put on a "resting bitch face" mask as well as a witch mask. In the last couple of years, both the New York Times and the Washington Post have … [Read more...]

Beauty varies by country/sex, but lookism still fuels surgeries.

As we try to fight lookism, we see one obvious factor supporting our cause. It is the fact that beauty and attractiveness vary by sex and by country. That is, men and women have different ideals regarding attractiveness as do people from different countries. (Not so commonly referenced is the factor that attractiveness ideals change over time, e.g., the 1800s, the 1920s, the 1950s, now).Most distressing, however, is the fact that western media (films, magazines, the internet, etc.) are spreading … [Read more...]

“Lookism” and dishonesty about ugliness.

In my last blog, I wrote about the kids edition of "Ugly." Today, I'm writing about the adult version that brings up a complicated lookism issue: can we be butt-ugly honest about the role of looks in society?Ugly & Lookism.First, let's hear from the "subject" of this inquiry, Robert Hoge.To hear Hoge tell it, he was born with a giant tumor on his forehead, severely distorted facial features, and legs that were twisted and almost useless. His mother refused to look at him when he was born, … [Read more...]

Lookism couldn’t defeat the author of “Ugly.”

Googled for books with "ugly" in their title the other day. Here's what I found.  Go here for blurbs about some of the "ugly" books.  (Who said you can't judge a book by its cover?)Besides the Ugly Face Booth  and Confessions of an Ugly Girl, a book simply called Ugly caught my eye.The author, an Australian, had a large tumor on his face at birth and deformed legs. At first, his own mother abandoned him in the hospital, wishing he would die. The book is about Robert Hoge's life growing up … [Read more...]