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Klavan On The Culture

My Great Idea for Making Plain Girls Beautiful!

March 17th, 2014 - 7:05 am
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Find the pretty sister.

One of the sillier effusions of pop political correctness is the attempt to bully the idea of female beauty out of the culture. Ceaseless attacks on Barbie dolls for giving girls unrealistic expectations (though, strange to say, Superman doesn’t do that to boys), or virtuous but likely ineffective campaigns to sell underwear with overweight models, not to mention the endless feminist maundering on the subject — it all seems part of yet another wearisome leftist attempt to change basic reality through thuggery, censorship and noisy protest. Good luck with that.

Listen, I don’t complain that Ryan Gosling stole my part in The Notebook — I could’ve killed in that! I don’t waste a lot of bitterness on the fact that Kobe Bryant took my spot on the Lakers. Some people are born with natural gifts that others don’t have. Some girls are knockouts. Some are not. Why, I wonder, shouldn’t women have to live with the basic unfairness of life same as dudes?

I first noticed that this silliness was infecting show biz while watching the absolutely superb 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and PrejudiceMan, that was good. But I found it very annoying and distracting to see that the older sister, Jane (played by the quirkily appealing Susannah Harker), was nowhere near as beautiful as Lizzie, played by the then-stunning Jennifer Ehle (still attractive 20 years later and an excellent actress).

Readers of the great Jane Austen novel will know that sister Jane’s beauty and sweetness are an important part of the plot as they contrast with Lizzie’s wit and fire. And the show treated the Jane character as if she were as beautiful as the character in the book. It was confusing and didn’t make sense. I’m told that when questioned about this, a BBC executive replied defensively and pompously that, well, there are other kinds of beauty besides physical beauty, you know. And yes, there are. But Jane’s beauty happens to be physical. Why not play it that way? The answer, of course, is that the Beeb is a leftist organization and thus must kowtow to the whims of bossy feminists who don’t like the idea that female physical beauty has a power and social worth that are both real and non-negotiable.

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Top Rated Comments   
Andrew, there are no plain girls. I remember a talk by my high school English teacher on the subject of the usual awful photograph of Emily Dickinson. He said for us to '"Look at the picture carefully. you will note that her features are reasonably symmetrical, her features reasonably in proportion. Some-one must have found her beautiful." This short course in aesthethics has remained in my mind for some 60 years. Many years later, I saw a portrait of Emily. She was a truly beautiful woman.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (49)
All Comments   (49)
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Most men have a different idea of what is attractive, or beautiful. That's a good thing, or there would be a verrrrry long line for the few who meet the arbitrary spec.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
It's true.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Is it just me or is Harker a dead ringer for Harpo Marx in that picture?
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Ashland Shakespeare Festival made complete nonsense of a Winter's Tale by casting a very fair King and Queen and a very dark, African American daughter. Since the point of the play is that the King is crazy to think that his Queen has played him false, the story becomes senseless and the ending anacronistically grim, as the poor King, whose suspicions were manifestly well founded in this alternate universe, realizes how wrong he was to doubt his Queen and embraces her and his supposed daughter. It took me 15 years to bring myself to watch another Shakespearian play, I was so irritated. The pity was that the actors who played the foster parents of the girl were excellent actors and also African American. If they had played the King and Queen the story would have made sense, but the director would have been cheated of his fun, messing with the audience.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
Feminism deliberately destroyed femininity, those qualities that made even the plainest women more appealing.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
A long time ago, way before I was married, I approached every female that I was interested in dating or even speaking with as beautiful; I always found something that each individual had that made her beautiful, sometimes stunning. Of course individuals have different looks given to them by genetics or nature and of course some women are truly blessed with beautiful features. But there is beauty in everyone all you have to do is look. When I met my wife she had long dark hair that fell to below her waist; I was enchanted. We've been married for 33 years; unfortunately her hair is much shorter today but she is still beautiful.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
The real problem with the feminist carping about female beauty is that it really does change over time. While some styles of beauty are classical and don't much change (like Susannah Harker who played Jane), their importance and the preferences of the times do change a whole lot. Marilyn Monroe is still considered a superb beauty by some today, but I know quite a few men of my own generation who consider her too fat and barely passable. Most of them are porn aficionados, and one of the side effects of pornography is the slow warping of the reality matrix. One of them actually broke up with his real world girlfriends because, and I quote, 'she's not dirty enough for me.' As if any woman could be, and still be a girlfriend (much less wife) to any one man.

The current female ideal of a 16-year-old girl who looks 20 is not exactly healthy IMO, and there are a number of actresses who are past 35 still trying to look like willowy teenagers and failing despite being thin as rails; I think all of them would look better if they gained 20 pounds. Maybe 30, hard to judge.

The attempts to alter reality are always with us, as are those who only desire to command others, no matter how petty the matter. If we morph back to plump women being the ideal of feminine beauty we'd get the same carping. There is no pleasing those who live for resentment and hatred.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
How to make a plain girl hot--easy. Don't get fat. If you are fat, exercise and lose weight.

You were watching Pride and Prejudice? Don't you mean to say that your female significant other forced you to watch it?
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
What a horrific handle. You do know that Commodus had a pleasure house populated by 300 boys and 300 girls all under the age of 10? I'd rather forget the guy existed at all. He didn't die a moment too soon.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
P&P mentioned above is my absolute favorite movie and you're absolutely right that it always bothers me that Jane is rather plain in comparison to Lizzie and yet she's supposed to be the beautiful one. Drives me nuts. However, after watching it at least 20,000 times, Jane's sweetness of character overcomes the annoyance of working out the inconsistencies in the casting choice and while still not as pretty as Elizabeth, she plays the part perfectly and I am convinced there isn't a sweeter girl in all of England. It remains the best adaptation of P&P to date.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
I always thought Susannah Harker was an inspired choice for Jane. She looks like she stepped out of a Regency period painting; she practically embodies the feminine ideal of the time. The ideal of feminine beauty has changed drastically over time, it is not the same in all times and places. In Regency England I think Susannah Harker would be considered far more beautiful than Jennifer Ehle, though today it seems to be the opposite.
38 weeks ago
38 weeks ago Link To Comment
I was oh so average boy in my country, when I travelled to some European countries I found myself surrounded by hot babes fighting to be with me. Not only that, in several occasions they made arrangements between them to share me without fighting. Of course, that last part is not peace treaty, they just wanted to relocate the battle field inside me so that I should decide at the end which one was meant to be my only one.
Also, I understood after a few years, those hot babes were not all considered "hot" in their natural surrounding medium, but that's not a problem for me. If she is hot for me, I don't care about what everybody else thinks about. However, this was not the case with many girls who were undecided about to hit upon me: They became interested only after hearing her girl friends how hot I am.
I just LOL at all of it. I agree with with Benton H. Marder: beauty is objectively linked to symmetry, or better: ugliness is linked to asymmetry.
I don't have too much else to add except life is beautiful and it's even better if you travel far away lol.
39 weeks ago
39 weeks ago Link To Comment
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