Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Lookin' Good for Me

"What's up with your hair?" 

I shrug. "My bangs does this thing where is goes from short to long overnight. Oh, and haven't you noticed? There's a hurricane going on out there." 

The comment about my hair doesn't make me feel self-conscious, because I executed everything else that makes me feel human. If I have a dusting of makeup on and a somewhat coordinated outfit, I'm confident, even if my hair is unspooling in puffy discordance.

Jennifer Weiner often opines about the state of expected feminine beauty, like in "The Pressure to Look Good" and "When Can Women Stop Trying to Look Perfect?"  
Think of that recent viral shot of the Macedonian protester using the reflection from a police officer’s riot shield to apply her lipstick. Yes, it was funny. Yes, she’s a badass. But she’s also a woman of her time, one who knows that being out in public means being looked at, and possibly photographed, assessed in a way that men still are not, and maybe never will be.
Weiner rails against the very cage she has trapped herself in; she complains about societal pressure while meekly succumbing.

I would say it is about balance: dolling up enough that one feels civilized and ready to face the world, as opposed to accommodating every idiot with an undisciplined mouth. I like face paint and attire, for another woman the bounce in her step comes with the help of a curling iron. For a Macedonian protester it's a red lip. 

The second article focuses more on older women, specifically the flack Carrie Fisher received as the older Princes Leia. I, personally, had thought she looked quite good on the IMAX 3D screen. I was curious what mascara she used. 
In the decades since the first film, both the actress and her character have dealt with a lot — mental illness and addiction in Ms. Fisher’s case, intergalactic warfare in Princess Leia’s. One might assume, what with the Dark Side to contend with, that the princess-turned-strategist might have found herself too busy to attend Pilates class, or to hunt down coconut flour for paleo pancakes.
But the “Force Awakens” filmmakers determined that Leia should not only be smart and powerful, but she needed to be slender, too. “They don’t want to hire all of me — only about three-quarters!” 
She ended up losing weight for the role. Still, some fans were displeased. Online discussions about Ms. Fisher’s looks raged across social media. When the actress objected, tweeting “please stop debating about whether OR not I have aged well. Unfortunately it hurts all 3 of my feelings.”
I don't think the studio would have been happy if Harrison Ford moseyed onto the set with a beer belly, but moving on. Haters gonna hate; a side product of the internet are trolls who have no lives beyond tearing down other people. A dismissive eye roll would be a more reasonable response rather than taking such comments seriously. 
But what if, instead of investing in paid diets and microdermabrasion, we donated our dollars to worthy charities and gave our time to the food pantry or elementary school? What if we thought about adding things to our lives — new foods, new skills, new classes, new walking routes — instead of taking things away?
“Lose weight and gain so much more,” invites Weight Watchers’ website. If you’re looking for a New Year’s slogan, here’s another one to try — in 2016, let’s look beyond the superficial and all resolve to make more of ourselves, not less.
True, Ms. Weiner. But sometimes ruchniyus and gashmiyus are intertwined, not separate. By practicing discipline in a physical area (watching what goes into my mouth), I am able to implement it in a more spiritual area (watching what comes out of my mouth. My lipsticked mouth).       


Daniel Saunders said...

Nice concluding paragraph. Reminds me of Rabbi Eliezer Berkovits on the reasons for ritual mitzvot.

Daniel Saunders said...

Oh, and can I ask what you thought of The Force Awakens?

Princess Lea said...

It was fabulous in IMAX 3D, yet a little repetitive of the original premise, but Abrams loyalty to the brand and the last fight scene redeemed all. Oscar Isaacs acted terribly, though. No mistakes like in the *shiver* prequels.

Daniel Saunders said...

Yeah, that was mostly what I thought, except I didn't think there were any notably bad performances.