the thing about Brienne is, I’m certainly in favor of beauty ideals being expanded, but I’m getting a lot of people arguing that she’s not REALLY ugly (in the book) and it’s just like, that’s it, that’s exactly what I was talking about.
It’s just that if you get a description of a woman in a book and it says she has a face “like boiled ham” that could “curdle milk” (approximate quotes from the book, spoken by a character that actually likes and respects her) and she has huge crooked teeth, swollen lips, and a big squashed nose, she’s six foot seven and heavily muscled with a thick neck and giant hands, and literally every character who comes in contact with her makes a comment about how unattractive she is, she is a spectacle when she rides through towns, she’s referred to as “freakish”…like, why would you even need to rationalize how she’s secretly hot and is just being unfairly judged? It’s certainly not relevant to the story. Why does the twist ending have to be “she was beautiful all along”? Why can’t we just let her be brave and strong and awesome and loyal and determined and kind and ugly?
Even if you are well-intentioned and mean it to be a sort of “everyone is beautiful” message, it still kind of feeds back into a culture where a person - and specifically a woman - has to be physically beautiful to be valuable.
I like Brienne because she flies in the face of that. She doesn’t have to have her makeover moment. She has the purest and most noble heart of anyone in the series, she’s a fantastic fighter, she’s valuable - and she’s ugly.