Monday, May 08, 2006

Ordinary-looking beauties

Why is it necessary for critics to call any actress they admire beautiful? The New York Times has an article about Toni Collette's career, and for some reason they feel the need to frame the entire story around how "lovely" her face is. I think not. I'm sure that, as with most people, if you bring on the glamour squad and photograph her properly, you can come up with a picture of her looking "beautiful." By that standard, Oprah is beautiful. Why do people feel the need to, with a female artist, find the most dishonestly flattering picture of the person and tout her sex appeal?

Fans do the same thing, and many of these articles are basically written by fans who happen to be critics. Barbara Streisand, who couldn't be uglier, is treated as beautiful by her fan base. But you don't see anyone doll up Al Pacino in an effort to convince anyone of his attractiveness.

The article is written by a woman, who probably thinks she is helping Toni Collette by talking about her in this manner. But the point of having such an article seems to be that a woman's talent is only legitimized if she is considered a beauty.


Blogger Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

I got one thought she looked fine in that NYT photo. And I don't agree with the single standard of beauty that movies and magazines impose. I think a lot of people -- and things, like gnarled old trees--become more beautiful as they age, if one sees the outer changes as signs of inner growth. As for Streisand, while it's true that mere publicity can lead to a homely person's being called beautiful, I think it's also true that a famous, successful person's indvidiuality gives legitimacy to the nontraditional forms of beuty that are always out there but seldom appreciated. For example, Bob Dylan, my idol, used to be considered rather ratlike in mien. But looking at photos from his youth, with the hindsight of what he has accomplished, one can see a genuine beauty in what used to seem like ugliness (and the same for his songs, by the way). He seems facially beautiful in retrospect because of the incandescent power of his art. Inner beauty is what it's all about, after all.

10:17 AM  
Blogger Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

PS: "I got one thought" in that previous comment is obviously a mixup. "I thought she looked fine."

10:18 AM  
Blogger Wickedpinto said...

I think the gist is that while everyone can appreciate a variation of beauty, "beautiful" is being watered down.

There are the "cute" chicks (maura tierney, katie holmes, neve cambpell, summer glau, allisen hannigan (spelling on "willows" real name?)oh OH OH! and Jewell Staite) who are able to be sex symbols at the same time.

Then there are the skank bates like madonna, brittany, fairuzza balke, and christina aguilerra (whould should actually be beautiful, but she's in love with being a skank)

There are also the intimidating everygirls. Though Mariska Hargitay is about as fine as fine can be, there is a nature to her face that is. . .all too human. This also applies to the big boobied bootied broad from the original "The Fog" and "Carnivale." This is the most diverse definition of beauty in my mind, and the hardest to pin down, and for me thats all the more attractive.

Then you have the women who are just outright friggen beautiful. Charlize, Nicole Kidman and my favorite (though she plays roles outside of it, I think she is the sexiest person in the visual arts) Jaime Presley, these are women that no matter who looks at them, everyone thinks "I don't rate that, wheres katie holmes?"

Beauty is an vague concept,and to not understand some of the subtexts is to do a disservice to all the other words for "beautiful" like "cute" I like cute chicks, or "lovely" I like lovely chicks, or "elegant" I like elegant chicks, but I know a lot of cute chicks that ain't beautiful. Same with gorgeous, Jaime is absolutely beautiful, but I don't think she's "gorgeous" I think the chick that got felt up by isaac misrahi is gorgeous.

I'm confused, gonna download some celebrity skin scenes.

4:12 PM  
Blogger XWL said...

I confess to always finding Toni Collette really hot, especially in Velvet Goldmine.

But that's just me.

And thanks for blogrolling me, I'm always surprised who links to my site. Reciprocity forthcoming (and not for the sake of reciprocity alone, but because your blog feels like a site where there will be some quality meanderings).

6:03 PM  
Blogger Goesh said...

I'd sure cross the street in a hurry to get a good ogle in on Sigourney Weaver and Glen Close

12:38 PM  

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