In a world where head transplants may be the next plastic surgery trend, and even our apples have a beauty regimen (hello, fish DNA), it’s hard to deny that appearances matter.
“Don’t judge a book by its cover” is an absurd saying. Who has ever walked through a Barnes and Noble and said “hey I want that book, it looks way boring?” We often can’t help but to make assumptions, and sometimes decisions (to approach, or not to approach), about others based on the way they look. It’s difficult not to ; their appearance is the first thing we know about them.
No matter how much we try and look for goodness within instead of focusing on the external, sometimes it’s hard, as my yoga teacher says, to “get our heads out of our asanas.”
It’s because we spend so much time scrutinizing everyone else’s outward appearances that we end up turning that harsh eye onto our own, as well. Although I dislike making broad gender stereotypes, I believe that the pressure of being aesthetically pleasing is heavier for women than men.
I know dudes often have it rough too (so.much.body.hair!), but you see more glossy spreads of perfect looking women than men. If you turn to the celeb-o-sphere, there are many more average looking or chunky famous male actors than female. There are many more Jonah Hills than Rebel Wilsons. While the angle of your nose has nothing to do with your talent, average looking lady actors are scant.
This video of actor Dustin Hoffman has been percolating the Interwebs this week. In it, he is discussing a role he played many years ago in a film called “Tootsie” about a struggling male actor who becomes a woman to see if he can land more roles. It’s a comedy, but according to Dustin, it was “never a comedy” to him. Here is why:
To prep for his character, Dustin (who is one of my fav actors, btw. Best Captain Hook ever) dressed in drag and traipsed around the city. When he watched himself on screen, he was startled at how unattractive he appeared as a woman, and was even more so startled when his team told him that no, it wasn’t possible to make him any more beautiful than that.
He then had an epiphany that if he met his female self at a party he would never speak to her because she is homely, or as he puts it, “She doesn’t fill, physically, the demands that we’re brought up to think women have to have.” His conclusion? “There are too many interesting women I have not had the experience to know in this life because I have been brainwashed.”
So not only does he feel he has been brainwashed, he knows that had he been born a woman by luck of the draw, he probably would not have the success he has today, despite his talent, because he would be sort of fugly.
The video is titled “Dustin Hoffman Breaks Down Crying Explaining Something That Every Woman Sadly Already Experienced.”
Oh yes, he tears up because he is an awesome sensitive dude.
You all remember when Girls came out? I was late to that scene, as usual, and I really only became interested in the series that supposedly “defines my generation” when the media started attacking Lena Dunham for being so overtly sexual on film despite not fitting the standard big boobed, thin female protagonist that most television stars fit into—especially the leads that are always “getting the guy.”
Not many were arguing with Lena’s talent. Bitch is brilliant. Viewers and media alike were angry at the way she LOOKED. (Uhm, hello, if you don’t want to look at Lena’s normal looking boobs, then shut off your TV. Yeah, I thought so.)
I know this rant has mainly been focusing on celebrities, but this is because they are in the spotlight and are therefor an easy and identifiable target. All us normies—male and female–feel pressure on the reg to look a certain way as well. And while I would like to think it doesn’t matter, because we all KNOW beauty has nothing to do with the symmetry of our faces, in many cases, it does matter. Dustin nails it, Lena Dunham’s frenemies put it on display, and every person who has stood alone at a party or–even worse–been passed over for a promotion for their better-put-together coworker has felt it.