Beauty in the iPhone of the Beholder


ugly meter.JPGI don’t like to brag, but there’s a chance I might be a “10.”

On the iPhone’s new “Ugly Meter” app, that is.

The app—already downloaded 20,000 times—encourages users to take photos of themselves with their handy iPhone cameras, have the app check out the pic and evaluate how attractive, or ugly, it considers you. And in the app’s binary logic, 10 is definitely the place you don’t want to be.

If you’re a 1 on the Ugly Meter, it’ll tell you that “If beauty were time, you’d be an eternity.” Hit 9.4? “You look like you ran a 100-yard dash in a 90-yard gym.”

Which, truth be told, I literally did once. Thank goodness there was a bit of padding on the opposing wall.

There’s something liberating about being 41. I’m losing hair where I want it and getting hair where I don’t. I’m heavier, wrinklier  and maybe even shorter than I was back in the day—and I STILL think I look better than I did when I was covered in pimples and braces and insecurity. If this app handed me an imperfect 10, I’d be curiously proud. And if I passed the phone around with some of my thirtysomething and fortysomething friends, it could be strangely fun.

But if I was 16? I don’t think I’d want to know my Ugly Meter score. And if someone scanned in one of my pictures without my knowledge and gave me my score against my wishes? The experience might’ve messed me up even more than I already am. It’s kinda weird such an app would pop up now, when the whole culture is abuzz over cyberbullying. It seems like the app could become an integral tool in the cyberbully’s online workshop. And I’m not alone.

“I can see that the guys who programmed it were having a bit of fun and all,” Stephen Balkam, CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute, told Fox News. “If you’re 25, 26 or 28, this sort of thing could be quite funny or amusing. But in the hands of a 14- or 15-year-old, it could be quite the reverse, and particularly if someone is submitting someone else’s photograph and then circulated that photo around school.”

“We did talk about that, and the kids who are doing things like that are going to be doing it one way or another,” Eugene Overline, who created the app, told Fox. He added that he hopes folks won’t take the game too seriously.

He doesn’t. After all, his score was 8.7.

Who wrote this?

Paul Asay has been writing for Plugged In since 2007 and loves superheroes and finding God in unexpected places. In addition, Paul has also written several books, with his newest—Burning Bush 2.0—recently published by Abingdon Press. When Paul’s not reviewing movies, he hikes with his wife, Wendy, runs marathons with his grown kids, Colin and Emily, and beats back unruly houseplants. Follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous More than 1 year ago

This is OBVIOUSLY a fake app, it even says so in the description on the app store.