Would you rather display a bad facial deformity, or hide your face?

One of the things that has always fascinated me, ever since I was a tiny kid, was how much someone’s face influences our idea of them, and also the fact that changing or deforming that face drastically alters how that person will be perceived. The face is such a hugely important part of someone’s identity. It’s their single most defining personal characteristic, and it’s what we use to identify peoples’ humanity, I think.

Someone with even a slightly deformed face will always draw peoples’ attention. Someone with a severely deformed face will usually cause most people a deep sense of unease. Whether the deformity is congenital or the result of some accident, it always makes people uncomfortable, at least initially.

If you were afflicted with a severe facial disfigurement, would you display it openly, or would you cover it over with something?

I don’t think either option is a very good one. I can remember as a kid, seeing the VHS tape cover for the film The Elephant Man in the Bookmobile that used to drive from our library to my elementary school. On it, there was a picture of Joseph Merrick with that thing he used to wear over his head, a bag or something. This always bothered me very much. Even when I looked up John Merrick and saw what his face actually looked like, I think the bag bothered me more.

If there was some kind of facial prosthetic available, like the one in Vanilla Sky, which provided a little more of a realistic face but still looked very fake, would you wear that?

While the prosthetic faces look fairly disturbing in their own right, if you’re to the point where you need to wear one, it’s likely that your face would cause some people to feel ill or cry out in fright. As such, regardless of anything, you will be somewhat obligated to wear a prosthetic.

Personally, I’d try to find a mask that was comfortable (ala the Phantom of the Opera).

It depends. I broke my nose twice, so it’s quite the conversation piece now.

I have a scar on my face. I cover it as best as I can with my bangs and makeup. Back when it first happened, I thought my life was over. OMG, I have a scar on my FACE!!!

Nobody has ever pointed and laughed. My sweet baboo calls it a mark of honor.

While I’d really like the scar to go away, its just part of me. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t always put makeup on when I go to the store. I’ve noticed that when I don’t wear makeup, guys stop talking to my boobs and start talking to my face.

I have a severe burn on the lower part of my face. I don’t do anything to cover it.

I think that you are the person that the OP was asking about. My scar can be hidden, your’s can’t.

I have to confess that I would give your burn mark many sneaky looks while I was feeling sorry for the pain that must have cost you. I’d never ask you about it, though.

I don’t really mind second looks, and if my appearance causes you to walk into a signpost, that’s your problem. :smiley:


so you are just luring me into signposts so that my black eyes will match your scar?!?

I am joking…I wouldn’t walk into the signpost unless you had a really good package.

I have facial scarring. Fairly obvious markings across my left cheek
I don’t understand your question though. How would I hide it? Wear a burka? Why would I do that?

I suspect the respondents here so far aren’t as disfigured as those the OP is thinking of.

I am talking about Stile Project, Rotten.Com level facial deformities. The scary stuff. When I said “bad” facial deformities, I really meant bad. “Mask” bad.

One time I left my make up at home while on a short trip, and had to try to make some magic happen with cheap workarounds from Rite Aid. Shit was bad. Serious answer: I’d like to pretend that I’d be loud and proud, the fierce defender of people with deformities, but considering the great lengths I go to to cover up my face with bangs, glasses and concealer when I’m hungover, I know the real answer is if I had a severe facial deformity, I’d cover it.

Yeah, if we’re talking about something like that guy from Boardwalk Empire, I’d hide it so as not to terrify children. But something like what Roger Ebert looks like now, fuck you guys, this is what I look like.

I’d get me a cool metal mask, á la Dr. Doom or Destro.

…then become a supervillain.

I’d use it as an opportunity to accessorize! I’m thinkin darkman.

Clearly I am making light of an extremely sensitive and life altering condition, but it is honestly what I would do in that situation. Done well, face coverings could become part of your personality.

OK, my scarring isn’t at the Elephant Man level. But at one point it was bad enough that I’ve had kids point and start crying. And strangers involuntarily blurt out stupid shit at first sight.
Several surgeries later, it’s nowhere near as bad. But it was pretty hideous for a while. I’m at the point now where makeup could disguise most of it, but can easily recall the time when that wouldn’t have done anything - hiding it would’ve required a mask of some sort

I dislike your phrasing of “display”. It’s not displaying if you’re just going about your business. Displaying it would be to highlight or draw attention to it. “Display” makes it sound like you’re putting it out there to gross people out, and as if you have a duty to hide it. I’m not ‘displaying’ the fact that I have two legs by wearing jeans - I’m just going about my day in appropriate clothing for the society I live in. If I lived in a society that considering face veiling to be the norm, then yes, I would be ‘displaying’ my scarring if I chose not to veil.

And no, even though there were times when I longed to be hidden, that’s not a path I ever wanted to go down. My scarring has healed and had plenty of surgeries, so it would now be complete overkill if I covered up, and I’m glad I didn’t cover up at the time only to have to get used to be uncovered now. But I guess if it progressively got worse instead of better, I may feel differently.

Essured your post made me sad. I’m sure that nobody here was meaning to make light of injuries as serious as yours must have been.

I’m one of those people you see sitting at PetCo with animals. There is a gentleman we see about once a month. He brings his daughter to see the kittens and we chat while she is getting her fur fix.

He’s in a wheelchair and doesn’t have lips or ears and is terribly scarred. He looks like he was in a fire and usually has marks of a surgical procedure somewhere. It really upsets me how people react to him. He’s hard to understand due to the no lips thing, but he’s anything but stupid. Stop staring, people, just move along and do your business just like he’s trying to do!

I interpreted the OP’s question to be about people who had a permanent condition at the sort of level where it would produce problems, not something which would improve gradually to a passable level.

Do you think that you would have gone to same course if you knew that your face would remain as it was at its worst state?

Exactly! Why should he have to cover up and be hidden. People should just deal with their own discomfort and move along

Sage Rat, yes I’m sure I would’ve. The toughest part was looking like that while being a teen… kids can be cruel.
At the time (due to one not-so-good surgery), I had no faith that it would be any better and I was sure it’d be like that forever, yet still chose to not hide.

I don’t understand why there is the expectation to hide it either.