My Own ‘Ozymandias’

    Ozymandias

Ozymandias

I met a traveller from an antique land

Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desart. Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:

And on the pedestal these words appear:

“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away

– Percy Bysshe Shelley

Up top is a picture I took during my 2007 trip through Europe. I just had a conversation that reminded me of the transient nature of human beauty, and thus I remembered the poem Ozymandias and my walk through the Vatican’s huge trove of ‘ill gotten’ Egyptian artifacts.

At the risk of admitting that I still actually objectify [to treat as a mere object and deny the dignity of, in this case treating women as beautiful pieces of art instead of actual human beings, and then judging them on their beauty instead of their full personhood] women, we were talking about some of the most beautiful Tamil women we knew and how their beauty will eventually fade away. Being a man, and thus not objectified as women are for their looks, I’ve never really had to worry about my own looks. On top of that even though I am against judging people by their looks, and believe people can age gracefully, the idea that the women that I take for granted as being extraordinarily beautiful will one day may not be, shocked me out of my hypocritical complacency. While realizing that women who have become landmarks in my own mental landscape for their extraordinary beauty will one day not be was shocking enough, I then I realized just how troubling this must be for women themselves who are constantly objectified for their  looks, and the ensuing fear caused by the inevitable loss of such a transient thing as one’s looks because society forces women to measure their self-worth by their looks. So lets raise a toast to all those bullshit transient things that society values instead of personhood, because one day all those things will be dust.

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