Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Monkey see, monkey do

196 pounds
Is anyone else sick of women all looking the same?

Everywhere I look lately—on TV, in magazines, on the internet—all I see are women who seem to look exactly the same.

Women with ostrich necks, sunken eyes, high cheekbones, and protruding brow bones. Women with apple cheeks, smoky eyes, and what an old friend used to call glossy blow job lips. (That is, lips that look like they're ready to give a blow job.) Women with artificial looking extensions and dark roots. Women with sculpted bare legs, mini dresses, and knobby knees.

Even women who used to look unique are starting to look like everyone else.

(Christina Ricci and Kelly Osbourne, I'm talking to you.)

In Christopher Guest's Hollywood mockumentary, For Your Consideration, Catherine O'Hara plays a middle-aged actress whose career is mostly over until the independent film she's working on suddenly gets a bit of Oscar buzz. (Thus the title.) When O'Hara's character is subsequently invited on all of the late-night talk shows, she has a botox-and-boob makeover and stumbles through her media appearances in a short, tight sleeveless dress. Her hair is blown out, her makeup overdone, her cleavage low, her legs bare. As if a woman in her mid-fifties should look exactly the same as a twenty-something sexpot. Guest is trying to say something about how strange it is that we try to put all of our female celebrities—whether they're fifteen or fifty—in the same tiny mold, and the effect is completely chilling.

Ever since I saw that movie, I have had trouble letting go of that image.

And now whenever I tune into Letterman or any other late-night show and see an actress in a short little dress with her boobs popping out and her hemline riding up her thigh, I feel a bit queasy.

Why do we make women do this???

Don't get me wrong. I could not be happier that fifty-year-old women are now considered sexy. But I don't understand why they have to be the same kind of sexy.

Bimbo sexy rather than woman sexy.

It's all a bit too Twilight Zone for me.

Oddly, I was just talking about The Twilight Zone the other day, and every time the subject comes up, I'm reminded of the creepy episode in which a mother takes her teenage daughter to pick out her new body, a ritual all girls supposedly experienced during adolescence in the twilight zone. On the showroom floor, there are four perfect models to choose from, each of which is displayed on a raised flat table, almost like a gurney. The tables sit in a semi-circle around the room, and one can't help but feel like the girl is picking out her own coffin.

I saw this episode when I was pretty young—maybe twelve or thirteen—and I've never forgotten it. Never forgotten how much I hated the idea of anyone being forced to choose a body—perfect or not—that was not her own. Nor have I forgotten how trapped and unhappy the idea made me feel.

All I really wanted to do was stay with the body I had.

I guess I really haven't changed that much.


  1. You're completely right. It's disgusting that society has forced this image down our throats, and most of us drink it up like sangria. At least there are some of us that are okay with our given bodies and enjoy our curves (and some males that appreciate something soft to cuddle).

  2. I love that you're on board, Brittany!