Sunday, October 11, 2015

Pout is Out !

There is an amazing dog called Bozo , who has been the subject of many poems ( more than 50) , on my poetry blog Strewn Ashes.   (I once made a book about this  and Bozo has been clicked reading it ) . 

The reason Bozo is amazing, is not because he has all the "approved"  canine properties that make people go "Oooh !"  but because his eyes are so expressive , he is a thinking dog, and  is almost evolved. 

His mentor and chronicler, my friend, Deepak Amembal (with whom he lives) , posts a picture of his every week.  So many times, Bozo has stuff to say on the going ons around him, proclivities of machines and humans,  and mindless following of customs by folks. 

The latest post had this picture, and a question "Am I pouting?" , which triggered something I have been wanting to ask for a long time. 

 What is the connection between taking what are known as "Selfies" and "pouting" ?

 What makes presumably , otherwise sensible, well known, publicity conscious folks pout in photographs , that they take of themselves ? 

Why do they never have a surprised , cheerful, "Aiiyo" type expression when they click themselves ?  Which is how a normal, hard working, god fearing, ordinary looking   human would react ?  

Researchers from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore  conducted studies where they looked for cues in selfies that are related to selfie owners’ degree of agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness.   They even connected things to locations , and poses in which folks took selfies . 

600 people on a social networking site answered detailed questionaires , and when these were correlated with the selfies , the research indicated the following connection with  character traits and selfies : 

Some studies have even defined the Duckface or Pout , as an effort at making the lips look bigger and attractive.  
Go have a look at ancient sculptures and paintings . Check if the apsaras and courtesans are pouting.  On the other hand,  they look so happy and secure with what they are. 
We have our own beauty standards.  You may or may not follow them,  since you tend to slavishly follow the West. 
And so, clobbered by Western beauty standards ,  surreptitiously encouraged by all the multinational cosmetic firms raking in the moolah in India, where anything can be claimed in ads and the hordes will rush in ,  our celebrities  ape the west, wear skimpy outfits, contort their bodies, and pout.  To be universally acceptable. 

Have Selfies by all means. 

Look serious in them , if that is your natural tendency.  

Show all your pearlies, and smile widely , if that is your style; you will have made somebody's day.  Your dentist will be pleased or even detect a potential customer. 

A grinning selfie could be a winner ;  you will not know unless you learn to grin at yourself as you click. 

If you think you present competition to Mona Lisa, even those knowing smiles are welcome.   

If you are upset, you can even look angry in selfies. Some folks have made movie careers out of that.

Of course,  if if you are neurotic , you can always pout, and keep track of what new expression someone in Hollywood comes up with. 


And so Bozo, to answer your question, No, you are not pouting, and I hope you never do.   

You are a fellow who has made peace with the world, little things satisfy you,  you never put on a show ,  and you always express your gratitude  in little ways unique to you.  You still have quirks, like chasing birds in the balcony and telling off crows.  But that's OK.  

Sometimes, you even smile . 

If you look serious,  it is because you are now older,  aware of happenings around you,  and most important, you are a Thinking Dog. 

More power to fellows like you !