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Nancy Huston’s “On Being Beautiful” [June 1996] was intelligent and thought-provoking, but there are a few points with which I disagree. In particular, I take exception to the notion that one can have a relationship based on love in such an unnatural, authoritarian, sex-segregated institution as a school, and to the idea that an adolescent can freely choose a loving relationship with her or his teacher. I also dislike her culturally relativist position with regard to the near lynching of the blond girl in Morocco. I think the incident expresses the degree of hatred for women that exists in certain parts of the world. Finally, blondes with big blue eyes are certainly no more beautiful than anyone else, despite the author’s apparent insistence to the contrary.
Aside from these criticisms, I felt her point about the repressive atmosphere currently gaining acceptance in our culture was well taken. I agree that the moralistic stance must somehow be avoided by all those concerned with human expression.