More on Being Beautiful… Only, Less

Well, Kirstie Alley’s Fat Actress is gonna be out soon; not that I’m going to see it, cause I don’t watch tv, but I’ve been interested in the tabloid interest in her and the show.. mainly because she’s 5’8 and considered an obese balloon at her highest weight of…. drumroll…. 203 lbs.


203 lbs does not a freakshow make. If she was a guy who was 5’8, 203 no doubt people would be like, “Damn, that’s a husky guy! He’s kinda chubby!” They would not tell him to cover himself up and hide in his bedroom in shame.

Well, not quite yet anyway. Not in… some circles.

What gets me about Kirstie Alley’s look is that she’s not ugly. She’s not unnattractive just the way she is. Like the women in Carnivale and Kate Winslet in Engima, a size 12 does not a sailboat make.. particularly when you see these women in real life and realize that the reason they look so huge on screen is because their co-stars are all 112 lbs.

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about my old pet interest: desire. What draws people together, why we obsess so much about our looks and how we look with the sorts of people we’re attracted to.

I remember watching Carnivale and being a little weirded out that nearly half of the female main characters weighed more than 120 lbs. As I discussed before, it was a great choice for the show, and the time period, and the more I watched the show, the more I wondered why we don’t have that sort of diversity on regular television and movies. Because you know what? Cynthia Ettinger is really beautiful, and has an amazingly powerful sexual prescence on screen… it just took me forever to realize it, because I’d gotten so fooled (me!) into reading “fat” (which, again, in Hollywood means anything above 120 lbs) as “no sex drive/no sex appeal.” Seriously.

In fact, the only people allowed to be truly attractive appear to be the beautiful Hollywood types. Funny, how they’re the only ones who’re having sex, and yet… all these babies in the world. Imagine that!

It’s funny, but until I read this article about the Camilla/Charles affair, it didn’t really hit me that perhaps one of the reasons why nobody wants the grand wedding and the media isn’t terribly interested is because they’re not beautiful pepole. Diana was beautiful. Yes, she lived in her own private hell and dealt with bulima and probably had a lot of psychological freak-out image stuff, but she looked really pretty on screen, so during the wedding, when nobody wanted to look at Charles at all, they could just pan to princess-fairytale-pretty Diana.

Now, instead of a pretty farce, they’ve got a real love story about two not-perfect people who’ve been madly in love against all odds and despite all the media grotesquerie for thirty-five years… and people just laugh at them. It’s like this incredibly fucking big joke that two not-perfect people could actually… love each other.

We’d rather have virginal Diana marrying her prince and pretend that somehow, by sheer virtue of her prettiness, it would make her attractive to Charles, and he to her. For some reason. Because, obviously, everyone should be immediately soul-struck by appropriately beautiful people – that is, people who look the way “beautiful” people are understood to look; thin, blond, women and tall, built men; and that’s supposed to be all there is to it. Just look like a walking Abercrombie & Fitch ad, and you’ll be the happiest, most loving couple(s) in the whole world.


Just buy enough plastic surgery, starve yourself, laugh a lot at some loser guy’s jokes, and you’ll be happy. Happy, happy. I mean, you’re pretty, he’s pretty. That’s all there is to it, right?

Jenn mentioned an article she’d read about the rush of plastic surgeries that porn star women have been undergoing… oh, no, not just for the breasts and the tummy tucks – for the genitals. For the clit and the labia. To form a more “perfect” uniform version of female genitalia, so that they, too, all look the same.

Porn full of the same faces, the same pair of breasts, the same hips and thighs, the same clits and lips. Forming a more perfect female form. A uniform one.

Does that make us less scary? Easier to please? After all, if all women are the same, it certainly makes going to bed with them easier. And getting to know them easier. In fact, if all women were robots, life would be a lot easier for men, in general. At least for the straight ones.

Funny. Science fiction not so far off.

And watch out, boys: the consumer media culture’s coming for you, too. And the day when you’re expected to conform to body type ain’t that far off. In some circles, it’s already here.


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