Monday, February 23, 2009

Deformity or Evolutionary Fashion Statement?


So, I was on Wikipedia, clicking on the "Random Article" button to pass the time between procrastinating doing my homework, and procrastinating getting up to go to class, when I found this strange article on Epidermodysplasia Verruciformis.

Everything that follows started from that.

Dede Koswara: the Tree Man of Java. He has a unique condition related to HPV. Basically it means that his body can't fight off certain infections, which causes wart-like growths to appear all over his body, particularly the hands and feet. It all started when he got a cut on his knee at just fifteen years old. Since being discovered by the big media-conglomerates his story has been making the rounds, with a special on ABC, Discovery channel, as well as articles in the Telegraph and Huffington Post.

He's undergone MULTIPLE surgeries to remove the growths from his body, but they keep coming back. Still, the guy's pretty fucking resilient, saying he still hopes to lead a semi-normal life, work, get married again - his wife left him, so he has to raise their two sons by himself - and MAYBE see what his hands look sometime in the future.

Victor "Larry" Ramon Ramos Gomez: One of the legendary Wolf Boys. Over five generations of the Ramos Gomez family have suffered from a rare form of congentital generalized hypertrichosis. There are approximately 19 members of the family alive right now who are still afflicted by this - including the women!

Larry, and his brother Danny (Gabriel Ramos Gomez) travel the world showcasing their unusual features AND acrobatic skills. Surprisingly enough, Larry is actually married to a Nadine Christine Lee, and has a young son named Michael Ramos Lee.

Huang Chuancai: China's Elephant Man. He was born with an EXTREME case of Neurofibromatosis, which caused a massive tumor to grow on his face. It all started when he was eight years old, eventually being taken out of school at ten because of how the kids were treating him. In July 2007 he had an operation to remove the now 30+ pound tumor which has ruined his spine and caused a myriad of other physiological problems.

Despite everything, Huang, 31 years old now, just wants to enjoy the spring festival with his family. And that's all the information I could gather.

Okay, can you imagine living like that? I mean, just trying to do the basic things like eat, sleep, go to the bathroom! It's gotta be so frustrating & difficult. But in spite of it, all these people want are the simple things in life - job, family, acceptance.

And looking at them, it makes me think about our "standards of beauty". Like, what IS beautiful when you're confronted with people that look like THAT? Does Kate Moss really seem so sexy anymore? I mean, sure, being so skinny that you can cut cocaine with your arms must be quite useful for her - but is it pretty? Honestly, the body image promulgated by Western Society (and in some respects, Eastern as well) just doesn't make sense in the face of such differences.

Scientists have noticed that as our species evolves, we'll soon lose our pinkie toes. Will we start finding people with only FOUR toes the attractive norm? It's interesting to think about.

Personal preferences aside, we DO seem to hold the same basic model for beauty: full lips, medium nose, clear skin, hairless well-defined chests on guys, and perky tits on girls. Sounds delicious, right? But what about curves and smiles and eyes? Hell... what about personality?

I for one would like to see if someday we'll retro back a few thousand years to the time when the kind of desireable body-image was like in all those fertility sculptures. I'm curious to see if fat chicks really WILL bring their sexy back.

There needs to be a better way to tell if someone's "beautiful", because I just don't know anymore.

8 footnotes:

samantha ann said...

wow, so didnt see that coming at me! nice fucking blog. and the wonders will remain...

Zek J Evets said...

haha, i'm not sure if you're being sarcastic there or not samantha... but i DID warn you!

honestly, i blame my roommate. she's always watching those kind of shows about midgets/mutants/weird people and i think it's rubbing off on me.


JacqueRoxx said...

LOL at the cutting cocaine with her arms.

When it comes to beauty people seek what's uncommon, but not too out there. With white women its the full lips and bronzed skin or whatever. For black girls its light skin, long hair. As soon as all black girls get long hair and light skin and all white women get full lips and dark skin, then the opposite will become attractive. Also with the shaving thing. We shave because we're hairy, and its very uncommon, but not impossible, to be completely hairless (body wise), so we deem that attractive and we all try to obtain it. But that's mainstream, beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. It depends on who you are and sometimes where you came from. I don't try to keep up anymore, I just like what I like and I am who I am.

stephanie said...

I've been trying to deny that Wolf People really exist for the past year or two, because if I admit it, I lose a bet. I've spent months yelling, "NO IT'S PHOTOSHOP GUYS." Damn.

And this: "Hairless well-defined chests on guys"? I don't think so, at least about the hairless part. Somewhere in our evolution, people have forgotten how alluring a nice hairy chest can be. But I guess that's just less progressive on my part?

Zek J Evets said...

@stephanie: ooh... welching on a bet is WAY lame! you should pay up, because it ain't photoshop - it's mother nature on acid.

liking hairy chests DEFINITELY means you're not part of the majority. but, as a hairy-chested guy, i think that's okay.

Anonymous said...

That was a very interesting blog. I remember watching something on the "wolf boys" or there was something on TV about it. It was awhile ago and a bit scary but a little interesting at the same time.

They didn't care about what people said about them and stuff.

JDR said...

I saw something about the tree man on the science channel, supposedly his bones in his fingers are so deteriorated that it is actually hard to graft a hand for him. And Kate Moss is not sexy, she's probably two years away from Amy Winehouse.

Lex said...

I agree with the mainstream idea of beauty thing. I think at some point we all realize that each person has their own thing that makes them attractive. I've never understood the guys that wax or shave their chest's just not normal to me. Maybe it's me being latin, but no chest hair on a guy creeps me out just a little bit.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, a lot of people just haven't realized that they can decide for themselves what beauty is.