crédit photo Aga-Paàyska


From a simple physical difference to a real aesthetic handicap

By Docteur Béatrice de REVIERS

A new « palette » of concepts, a new definition of an aesthetic handicap 


Across my many meetings with people and families affected by an aesthetic particularity of congenital origin, from my own experience in this field I have been led to realise that physical differences may not be considered in the same way and not necessarily as a handicap

To have a ‘binary’ vision of a physical difference, classing it either as a particularity with no consequence, or as a real “aesthetical handicap”, is to my mind far too simple a vision and even dangerous; the reality is rather different and complex.

This reality requires the acceptance of a real palette of interpretations in this domain and the possibility that the affected person may consider himself in different ways over the course of his life, via his experiences and the people he meets. Indeed, only the affected person is truly able to position himself amongst the possible interpretations.

Indeed, we should note

  • That one category of affected people may consider that a difference is a simple ‘physical particularity’, where in certain extreme cases this could even be perceived as a source of pride creating a strong demarcation, such as for Cassandra Naud or Yulianna Youssef, public figures with many followers ( danser and model)
  • Others live their physical particularity as an ‘aesthetic vulnerability’, as although they are able to live a normal life socially, personally or professionally, the particularity does nonetheless sometimes affect their ability to fully feel comfortable in society, although this is not a limiting factor. However, in this case, we cannot deny the fact that the particularity requires of the affected person a period of adaptation and the need to face up to their physical ‘difference’; this vulnerability equates to a fragility but not an incapacity to face up to a difficulty.
  • Finally, for others the physical particularity is considered as a real ‘aesthetic handicap’, corresponding to a real personal difference to accepted norms, leading to a limited integration into society across 3 dimensions as defined by the WHO : “impairment, disability and disadvantage, which limits or prohibits the achievement of a role in society considered as normal, given the person’s age, gender and sociocultural factors”.

It is only in taking account of « this palette » of interpretations that we will be able to really help affected people best accept and live with their ‘difference’.


Dr Beatrice de Reviers, May 2020

English version by Neil Dallison, Grenoble, France (Uncle to Dr de Reviers).

©Béatrice de REVIERS (Mai 2020)