June 2, 2013
Price of Being "The Fairest of Them All"
|Mirror, mirror, on the
wall, who's the fairest of them all?
a quote we're all familiar with as we're all familiar with the Evil
Queen's actions when she found out that Snow White was now fairer and
the Evil Queen was only the secondmost
beautiful in the land.
a child, I never understood what the Evil Queen then did in trying to
have Snow White murdered. Secondmost beautiful sounded good to me. I
wouldn't have minded being secondmost beautiful. The driving
desperation of a beautiful queen losing her looks is not
a little girl can sympathize with.
Whenever I've come across the
concept that being beautiful is a curse, my reaction is "Yeah, right,"
accompanied by an eye roll. It is probably the reaction of most of the
non-beautiful when being told about the burden that being
beautiful comes with. Now as one of the non-beautiful, I still don't
think that beauty is a curse, but, as I've grown older, I can see where
great beauty has a price. I see now that for beautiful women that their
beauty is a crucial part, may even be the biggest part, of their
identity...........that what they see in the mirror defines who they
think they are.
And that price comes due when what they see in
the mirror changes. When they no longer see a perfect 10, but see a 9
or an 8 staring back at them as that once amazing beauty begins to slip
Mirror, mirror, on the
wall, who's the fairest of them all?
a child I couldn't understand the queen's desperation. As an adult, I
see the results of that desperation. I see it in what beautiful women
do, not to their rivals, but to themselves. I see the price of having
been startlingly, breathtakingly beautiful and the desperate lengths it
drives some of these women to try to keep that level of beauty.
There's Raquel Welch
who denies that she's had any kind of cosmetic procedures (a claim I
don't believe) but says it takes her three hours to get her "game face"
on (a claim I do believe). Three
of her life every day to put on makeup. On the days I actually put on
makeup, I don't spend three minutes, more like 30 seconds. I can't
imagine spending three hours every day to put on my face so I could go
out in public. Yet, on this scale, I consider Raquel Welch to be a
success. She still looks beautiful and reasonably natural. But three
hours a day to put on makeup, plus however many additional hours a day
she spends to maintain her looks is a high price to pay.
Then there's the next level. Women who've had too much work down.
Actresses I had seen previously like Shannon Tweed and Roma Downey who I see again after
a long gap and my reaction is "What
did she do to herself??
She used to be so beautiful and now she just looks fake." I wonder what
they think when they look in the mirror? Do they like what they see? Do
they fool themselves into thinking they only look beautiful and not
artificial? Looking at them is like looking at face of a
doll..........certainly the doll's face is beautiful, but no one is
going to mistake it for real. They took what had been a natural beauty
and transformed it into wax. Still beautiful (still far more beautiful
than me, I admit), but a kind of beauty that just makes people look not
but at the work
and think they had too much of it.
there are the women so desperately trying to hold onto their beauty
they ruin it and end up looking even worse than they would have if they
had done nothing and had allowed themselves to age naturally. Women
like Priscilla Presley and Joan van Ark whose quest to hold
onto their beauty takes a horrifying turn as they end up being
grotesquely deformed, the travesty all the
more tragic for what they once did look like.
don't think by this that I'm against all cosmetic procedures.
Ultimately, it's the choice of the person. Your body, your choice. But
if it's being done to keep that beauty and what ends up happening is
transforming that beauty into something fake-looking or worse, then I
question its use. That's the point where I (and other people who look
at these women) wonder if they wouldn't be better off trying to accept
age gracefully rather than holding onto to something they can no longer
It's said of love, "It's better to have loved and lost
than never to have loved at all." That applies as well to beauty. They
had great beauty..........which is more than most of us can say. Maybe
they could just try being thankful they had that rare gift. Besides, it
possible to be both beautiful and old. Watching the updated Dallas,
with Linda Gray,
no, she doesn't look 37 years old like she was when Dallas first aired,
but she proves that over 70 can still be beautiful in its own way.
the Evil Queen, there was a time when I would not have understood these
women or their actions. But though I still don't understand the Evil
Queen --- taking out a hit on your younger, more beautiful rival is
carrying things too far ---- I can at least have some sympathy for
these women. When all your life you've been defined by your beauty,
when the course of your life and what you have in your life was based
on your beauty, it must seem like an amputation when they look into
that mirror on the wall and see themselves losing it. And so they try
harder and harder to vainly cling onto what they once were instead of
they are now. Like the Evil Queen, they can't accept that they were
once the fairest of the land and now it's someone else's turn. So,
like the Evil Queen, they do something desperate.
And, like with the
Evil Queen, sometimes they don't get the results they were hoping for.
For more of me and beauty, read "Fashiomissta."
For more on the public's perception of actors, there's "Double Identity -- Distinguishing Actors and Their Roles."
Or for Hollywood's perception, read "Hollywood Romance: Fiction Versus Fact," "Hollywood's Bizarre Take on Rape" or "Hollywood and Religion: How Many Churches Are Too Many?"
Please take a moment to look through the Archive.