Stick skinny, 5’11 with long, glossy, flowing hair. Add perfectly lined eyes that beckon you even closer, and perfectly aligned pearly whites. Perfectly toned skin ripples in the sunlight, while she struts around in her ever-so-hip clothes and shoes. The wind perfectly lifts her glowing locks and gives them flight as she tosses her head from side to side. There isn’t a single person – man or woman – who doesn’t gawk as she walks by. The birds concoct a symphony to accompany her seductive strut across the street.
That’s Hollywood’s standard for beautiful. But thankfully, most people have realized that you don’t have to be a stick figure, immaculately dressed all the time or coordinate schedules with the wind in order to be beautiful. We’ve recognized that beauty is 5’1 as well as 5’11, size 2 as well as size 14, toned skin as well as cellulite. Hopefully most of us have realized that what makes a person truly beautiful are the things you can’t see at first glance, the things that take a little longer to come to the surface. You would probably be reprimanded for calling some “fat” or “ugly” these days.
Yet I think Hollywood creates another stereotypical quality of attractiveness that doesn’t face as much resistance. Think Keira Knightley in Pride & Prejudice. Her wit and outspokenness are what make her one of my favorite characters. There isn’t ever a statement that catches her off guard. Whether she’s refusing Mr. Collins’ proposal or convincing her father that she does indeed love Darcy, her eloquence is stellar. If we’re being honest, Keira Knightley doesn’t have the most feminine figure, however that doesn’t seem to matter to all the men (many of whom I know) that love her. All that sass makes up for the curves.
I’ve come to realize that wittiness is valued very highly by a lot of people. There’s suddenly this demand for funny, witty people who leave everyone around them convulsing in laughter or losing control of their bowels. When did this happen? And why? Don’t get me wrong, I like funny people just as much as the next person, but using that as a standard to judge people I feel is a little unfair. Comments like “she’s so fat” or “he’s so ugly” wouldn’t be deemed appropriate. Yet comments like “he doesn’t have a personality” or “she’s just so boring” are taken as straight fact. I’d like to argue that just because someone doesn’t have the wit of Keira Knightley (or Elizabeth Bennett) doesn’t mean they lack a personality.
Maybe some of us like laughing instead of being the funny ones. Maybe not all of us do so well in the spotlight. Maybe some of us are only witty hours later when we rehearse that conversation in our heads and reprimand ourselves for not saying this or that. Maybe some of us are only witty under the influence of certain delicious alcoholic beverages. And maybe some of us are only witty when we write, or when we use alter egos to speak for us.
Whatever the case, I think there’s more to a person than their dress size and how funny they are. I, for one, like to have real conversations with people. In my world, being funny is an added perk not a determinant of personality. Why isn’t it like that in the real world?