So modern day society says that women have to be a size 0 to be pretty. A size 6 is the new 2 and size 10 is plus size.WHAT? Are we forgetting that the biggest sex symbol of all time was a size 16? Marilyn Monroe -- still held up as the epitome of beauty, style, elegance, and grace! So what I mean to say is that the leading sex symbol of all time if measured by today's standards would be modeling for Layne Bryant instead of Playboy. Unreal. I don't know how many times in the music and theater industry I have been told, "Lose a few pounds and you will be great." "You will be great if you lose a few pounds." Voice is great -- lose another 20 pounds and you will be golden." "We will cast you tomorrow if you lose 10 pounds." No matter how it is said, it still feels the same way. Like the only thing that matters is my waist line. Whatever happened to talent? Whatever happened to the Ella Fitzgerald's and the Mae West's? If they were getting into the entertainment industry today they would probably be singing back up or doing bit parts. I mean can you believe it? Ella Fitzgerald singing backup? The greatest singer of all time? The woman I want to name my first born child after (male or female)? Look at the talent we would have lost out on if society had been as skin deep as they are now. I was once described in a theater review as zaftig. Naturally I didn't know what this meant so I went to the handy dandy dictionary and what does it say? Pleasantly plump. Wow, did that adjective really need to be there? Why is it that you can have a 2 note range but as long as that is your dress size your record can still go platinum? In an industry that used to be about talent it is now all about looks, image, and sex appeal. And what does it say to young girls out there that they have to look like Barbie? They have to look like a plastic doll with proportions so out of whack if she was alive, she wouldn't even have a menstrual cycle? This is what we are striving to be? It sounds like big breasted blonde haired Invasion of the Body Snatchers to me. Everyone wants to look the same, there is no individuality, no character. You have a bit of a crooked nose, that isn't seen as character, that is seen as a flaw. Who decided all this, and when did we as a society start buying into it? When did we decide we were fat at a size 8 and that no man would ever look at us if we touched a piece of chocolate? It's the same with fashion -- since when did we decide that if a magazine says its in, its in. So because the magazine says you have to wear a mini skirt with leggings even we have thunder thighs, we do it. And who made us think our thighs were thunderous in the first place? Oh right, the same people that are telling us to wear unflattering clothing that will make us feel even worse about ourselves because oh, right, its in fashion.
The other day, I was pondering why we don’t have great talent coming out of the woodwork anymore. Great musical geniuses like Michael Jackson, Billy Joel, Axel Rose, Elton John, and then it dawned on me. I think those people are out there but it is now more important to let the image rule the voice. To create a packaged product -- a brand as opposed to a performer who already has what it takes. Because of this, I think we are really missing out. I mean our parents are able to tell us about legends like The Supremes and our grandparents can tell us about Louie Armstrong, but what will we have to give our children? Dear Diary and lick me like a lollipop? Where is that passion, that feeling and emotion that a song creates that reach the depths of your soul? That makes you lost for words, unable to catch your breath and tears running down your face?
What made Brittany Murphy, the cute and curvy brunette from Clueless become skinny, blonde, and addicted to plastic surgery and pain killers? I will tell you what, the media never leaving her alone, the producers not casting her. One thing after another led an incredible actress to an untimely death. And she is just a recent of a long list of Hollywood tragedy.
Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being blonde, skinny, and fabulous at all. Its just that in the Hollywood scene you are either tall skinny and blonde, or tall skinny and brunette. Oh sorry red heads, Or tall skinny red heads. That seems to be the only type of beauty accepted out there right now, and yes that is beautiful but there is so much beauty out there of all shapes and sizes to be explored. In ancient rome it was thought of as gorgeous to be rounder because you were thought of as more upper class if you ate well and more matriarchal which was sexy. And why is it that all the programs on right now seem to depict a skinny blonde wife and a big pudgy funny husband? How come the wife has to be skinny but the husband doesn't? And why is it the older a woman gets, the skinnier she gets. Its like we are compensating our face getting older for our body getting younger. Though ironically if you are a little rounder your face looks younger. Go figure.
It's no wonder when Rachel Ray has plastic surgeons on telling you how the stars get "red carpet ready." Which entails endless expensive cellulite treatments, laser treatments, chemical peels, and my personal favorite, botox in the under arms to make you not sweat. Where does the sweat go? So this is telling normal women, go out and spend thousands of dollars on temporary treatments that only last a few days to look like the stars you want to look like. I bet you those stars would look fabulous with a bit of rouge and an updo but instead they have to go to extreme these lengths to make themselves feel beautiful which in short makes normal society feel even worse about ourselves. Jennifer Anniston put it really well one time, she said to not try and be her. That she has a whole staff creating her meals, fitness, hair, makeup, etc. She even said that normal women try to achieve stars looks and its not possible. That they have a full time staff whose full time job is to make her look great.
In England, their media reports the real story, how beautiful people are -- not how fat they are. They are more interested in how many countries a star went to on their vacation than how many pounds they gained on it. Every magazine at the checkout stand doesn’t say how to lose ten pounds in an hour. In Greece and many other parts of the world women of all ages, shapes and sizes go to nude beaches and feel confident and lovely. Because their society doesn’t make them feel any different. And get this, people on TV look normal, not airbrushed and anorexic. They look like normal human beings like you and me and it makes me as an audience member relate more to them which makes me want to watch it because I don’t feel I have to compare myself.
And why does our society make men out to be more distinguished and sexy when they get older while women are undesirable and washed up after a certain age? Getting older should mean that we get more confident in ourselves as individuals and can share or wisdom with others, yet instead the older we get, the less secure we become because of what society makes us out to be. In other countries they stand up when an elderly lady gets on the bus and they help them across the street. When I offered to do that for someone the other day, something that I would think would be common courtesy the woman was so shocked and surprised because no one ever offers. Other countries respect the elderly and what they have lived through and their stories, confidence, wisdom and knowledge. Yet here, even the elderly woman I take care of is more interested in getting her 21 inch waist back from when she got married than celebrating and sharing all the wonderful stories and adventures her life has had which I find way more interesting than her waistline.
So ladies, the only way we can stop this is by not letting it happen. By not buying into it. By being happy, healthy, and fabulous. If we buy into it and let society dictate how we feel about ourselves it can't change. So tomorrow morning I challenge you to get out of bed, put on your favorite lipstick, let your hair down, and proudly shaka what your mama gave ya all across town.