Don't you just love Norma Desmond's confidence? Okay, so it may be rooted in psychotic delusion, but you gotta love a woman that commits! Seeing this movie makes me of the standards we have of beauty. After watching this clip, I thought to myself, "I AM beautiful! It's the standard that got ugly!" Imagine Bill Holden turning to a woman today and saying...
"Hey wait, I know you. You're a woman over 40. You used to be beautiful!"
"Hey wait, I know you. You're a woman who has hips. You used to be beautiful!"
"Hey wait, I know you. You're a woman who has smile lines around your eyes. You used to be beautiful!"
"Hey wait, I know you. You're a woman with gray hair. You used to be beautiful!"
"Hey wait, I know you. You're a woman that's bigger than a Sz 6. You used to be beautiful!"
"Hey wait, I know you. You're a woman who doesn't wear a D cup. You used to be beautiful!"
Guess what Bill Holden!
I AM beautiful! It's the standard that got ugly!
And the standard HAS certainly gotten ugly.
The modern standard for beauty seems to get more and more demanding in it's appetite to me met. What was considered beautiful 20 or 30 years ago, now seems like a bad joke. No doubt, if Marilyn Monroe were alive today, she'd be told to go on a diet. If Jackie Kennedy had aspirations today, she'd be admonished to get her teeth fixed. This isn't being mean, it's simply the reality in our culture today. And what's interesting is that women haven't changed, only the standard of beauty has changed.
A demanding standard
You know what makes the beauty standard so ugly? It's demanding. Demeaning. Fickle. Impossible to satisfy. The standard says, "You're not skinny enough! Only skinny is beautiful!" And so we diet and deprive ourselves until we've reached that elusive Sz 2 (or at least as small as we can get) only to hear the standard say, "Oh, cool! You're skinny! But in losing all the weight, you lost your boobs! UGLY!" Oh okay, well thank goodness there are breast implants. Whew! Crisis averted. The standard teases us with, "Gee, if only you didn't have those laugh lines around your eyes, you could really be a looker!" Off we go to get wrinkles botoxed or stretched off our faces. Surely now that insatiable standard will be satisfied. But nooooo, "Wow! What did you do to your face?! You can't even express an emotion on your face!" Or how about this standard quip? "A woman has to be young to be beautiful." And so we buy every cream that promises us a youthful glow. We try to adjust our wardrobes so that we can still make our womanly selves appear more "girl like". And even for that we get, "Haven't you heard? Women over 35 aren't supposed to wear a mini skirt! Can't you act your age?!"
There have always been differing and changing views of what is seen as beautiful in a woman. And, as women, we jump on the treadmill trying to keep up with them. I mean, what woman doesn't want to be thought of as beautiful? I know I do! I don't think it makes me shallow. I think it makes me human! Call me crazy, but I think ALL women are beautiful. And I'm not talking about the "Well, she has such a good heart" kind of beauty, I'm talking about genuine attractive beauty. Just like we are. All different shapes and sizes. All different ethnicities. Whatever your weight. Whatever your age. So the reality is that I don't need to change. And neither do you. The only thing that needs to change is the fact that we give a crap at all what some marketing agency or industry tells us what is and isn't beautiful.
So the next time that ad or commercial says to you, "Hey I know you. You used to be beautiful!" You just hold your head high and say with confidence:
I AM beautiful! It's the standard that got ugly.