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I've said before that one of the main ways I try to be feminist in my writing is to depict female characters as different people, people who have different ideas about their own femininity, different ideas about gender and relationships and sex and romance, different ideas about what Beauty is, etc.

And yeah, it should come as no surprise that someone with an unusual, extreme perspective on gender relations would also have unusual, extreme ideas about Beauty - what Beauty is, how it works, and whether or not it's important or meaningful or achievable.

As a dude, I have a very different perspective on my own appearance. It's difficult for me, sometimes, to think of myself as beautiful or to view my own beauty as important in any way. I don't have abs, and likely never will, so what the hell is the point of anything? I will, occasionally, get that little temporary ego boost from being particularly snazzy, but it's still tough for me to think of attractiveness as anything other than something other people do, putting on a mask in order to attract.

I can still be particular about my appearance, though, if only in a fussy make-sure-the-peas-aren't-touching-the-potatoes kind of way. I have things I'll wear and things I won't wear. Lily is much the same way. She may not employ the same level of artifice as Carol, but she does have a deliberateness, I think. She has a look, and has that look locked down.

I do think the key thing is the degree of control one has. Some people's bodies and faces are more ideal (or more malleable) than others. The world would be a very different place if everyone were free to make their body look like whatever they feel is truly themselves. You see that a little bit in places like Second Life - an environment in which appearance is a pure unrestricted expression of the Truth of the Self... and yet trivial and grotesque and silly and meaningless.

Anyway, yes, people have been bugging me for years to dig deeper into Lily's psyche, to peel our way further into that onion. We're getting there, people. Patience.

(Thursday evening, INT: bowling alley.)

GU: So I guess what Ellen said hit you pretty hard, huh? LH: She's been armchair-psychiatristing me ever since Florenovia. In retrospect, it's more obvious why.
LH: But I admit, it's been prompting me to armchair-psychiatrist myself. I think she may have hit the nail on the head with the whole control thing.
LH: Maybe my attempts to exert control on the world were because I couldn't exert control over my appearance. Y'know, if I can't fix my own face and body, maybe I can at least push away the people who make me feel bad about them, make a space for myself in which my unattractiveness doesn't matter.
GU: Oh, would you stop with that "certified unattractive" thing? You're... you're... you look good. You're a perfectly normally lovely woman.
LH (flamboyantly): "Oh, she has such brilliant green eyes! What a shame about literally everything else."
GU: No one is going to say that to you.
LH: An expert authority figure literally said those exact words to my face when I was seven years old.
GU: Okay... well... then it's not likely anyone will say it again, right?