Monday, April 20, 2009

Only attractive people are worthwhile?

I'm sure by now you, your cat, and possibly your best friend's rhododendron have all seen Susan Boyle sing her little heart out over in Britain somewhere while people gasped in shock and awe.

Yes yes, it's a heart warming story. Can't believe she did it. Blah blah blah. But stop and think about it for a second. Just why the hell was everyone surprised?

You do not have to have plucked eye brows, be 110 pounds and 20 years old to be able to belt out a great rendition of a song from Les Miserables. (In fact I've since learned that your voice actually gets better with age up til about 45 and if you know how to take care of it, it can last 10-15 years past that.)

Our society is digging itself into a deeper and deeper hole of plasticized culture. You can no longer have any worth unless you are young, attractive and thin. Truly, you could be the best singer this world has ever seen but unless you look like Shakira if you dare to appear in public you shall be scorned and ridiculed.

But it isn't just the music industry. To get published you can't just send in an exciting page turner you spent your life on, no you also have to be able to sell that book when you make the talk show rounds. So you'd better be as hot as possible or no one will buy it.

Just think of all those literary giants: Shakespeare, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde. Do you think they'd really stand a chance to have their ideas heard in this day and age when youth and beauty are far prized over experience or talent? Can you imagine Jane Austen or Emily Dickinson competing in a wet t-shirt competition. Or Dante being told he has to sex up his image to get more people to buy their own copy of the Divine Comedies?

It's just accepted that unless someone looks the part there is no way they have anything interesting to say. I'm reminded of a humor novel written by one Michael J. Nelson that actually touched upon this idea where an older man writes a fictional adventure novel. Only no one will take him seriously so he hires a young strapping actor who looks the part to pretend to be the author and suddenly there's talk of the book hitting the best seller lists.

Honestly, I foresee something like that happening in a few years. The question though is will we praise the author who has to hide her mind behind a pretty face as we do Boyle for doing what she can to get recognized or will we shame her for lying to us all on Oprah's couch.

P.S. There's a new Target Women that makes me so glad I use Gillette, though then I can't actively start boycotting Schick for these god awful commercials:


Rachel said...

Totally agree with you. I mean, she's a beautiful singer. And yes, she's a little older for "starting out".... but really. If she had been drop-dead gorgeous, it wouldn't have been such a big story, which is kind of sad. I've learned the hard way (of course) that the old addage is true - don't judge a book by the cover.
By the way, I wish now that I would not have overplucked my eyebrows in the '90's because now they are thin and sparse, and do not grow back!

Linda said...

Even Shakira had to change her image. I remember when she had more curves and was a more normal size!
But I do agree with you. As Rachel says you can't judge a book by the cover. Those of us who know that are far better of than those who don't.

Chesney said...

Great point, I have been thinking the same thing!!

AmyJean said...

I agree with you...

I think one of the most attractive things about a person is when they have passion. Passion to sing, passion to paint, passion to play a sport... its that passion that exudes sexiness... not the outer skin only! I think people need to start looking more at a person's heart than their outer shell!

withoutadornment said...

I agree with you completely.

On the way to work this morning, the song "She's not pretty she just looks that way" was on the radio. I think that pretty much sums up superficial beauty - true beauty comes from the heart.