January 4, 2012

Impossible Beauty

This week we are rewatching Sex and the City Season 1, Episode 2, Models and Mortals.

Miranda is used and abused for her brains by a man who typically only dates models, a "Modelizer." Carrie researches these modelizers for her column, and I realized that in LA, these men also exist, but they only date actresses, hence the "Actressizer." It doesn't have the same ring though.

As we all know from Feminism 101, the media and society have constructed impossible standards of beauty for the woman. Usually young teenagers model (pun intended) their standards after the model/actress they most find attractive, but by the time they become men, they develop their own preferences - some guys like a little bit of bootie, some like a little bit of boobie. (Sorry, I had to put that bc it rhymes.) But in cities like New York and Los Angeles, where these fake people we see on billboards actually reside, we come across the men who never grow out of their teenage years.  In a city like NY or LA, these men can actually continue to believe that the beautiful woman is stick skinny and 5'9" bc of the freakishly concentrated number of women who actually embody those traits here. Also, LA is the land of 60/40 - 60% women/40% men. The ratio here is ridiculous for men, and you see many a beautiful woman with extremely unattractive men. And thus the Modelizer and Actressizer persists.

[Wonder Girls - a Korean female pop group]

It's not limited to actresses and models. When Carrie is surrounded by a room full of models, she feels invisible and insignificant. A couple months ago, BDF and I were at Crazy Hook in Ktown with several friends. At one point, we sat in silence watching the giant projector for an uncomfortably long time. It was not - trust me - bc of talented voices or great lyics. Beautiful Korean singers were shimmying across the screen in tiny outfits and perfect plastic surgeried faces. With the occasional comments from everyone about the hotness of this one or that one, I couldn't help but feel invisible and insignificant. I sat there, growing every conscious of my round (not sculpted by a knife) face, tummy (that damn American milk!), freckles that no pale Korean woman would have! Even the most confident of women couldn't help but compare herself to the improbably perfect singer, actress, model, etc. And it is in this comparison that women also perpetuate the Modelizer and Actressizer. By feeling invisible, by wishing to be that beautiful, by comparing real beauty to impossible beauty, aren't women just adding to the hype of the Model, Actress, Singer?

The remedy to this? (Take note, men!) Every woman needs validation from time to time. She needs to hear that she's beautiful. She needs to hear that her nose isn't too big or small but just right. She needs to know that a Modelizer would sleep with her (as in Samantha's case).

If you are a Model, Actress, or Singer with an impossibly beautiful face and perfect body, let me remind you that nothing spoils your beauty more than an ugly heart. Carrie ends the episode by writing:
I began to realize that being beautiful is like having a rent-controlled apartment overlooking the park: completely unfair and usually bestowed upon those who deserve it least.
I don't think it's that beauty is bestowed on those who don't deserve it, but when you're beautiful it's hard to stay grounded. Beautiful people who know they're beautiful can become intolerable. Think of all the greasy guys who are objectively very handsome but their cockiness and overall jerk-like behavior just overshadows their looks. Ugh, those are the worst!

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