Talking 'Bout My Generation

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Perfectly styled wavy hair. Straight shiny white smiles. Perfect lips. Sparkling deeply shadowed eyes. Chiselled features. Thin frame.

Am I crazy, or are all hollywood actresses starting to look the same these days?? They each come in with their own variation of the hollywood look, then within the year they're morphed into the hollywood barbie doll, with interchangable hair color and designer clothes. There's simply no diversity. I'm not talking about race diversity, as Halle Berry, Salma Hayek, Lucy Liu, and most other "racially diverse" actors all easily fit into this same mold. Rather, I'm talking about size, shape, age, and just feature diversity in GENERAL. I mean, how many actresses can you think of that don't photograph in this same way? Sure, there's the occassional Jennifer Hudson or Nikki Blonsky thrown into the mix, but they're famous for being different and were made famous in the first place because the role they played called for a specific type of woman that just wouldn't work otherwise.

We look to hollywood to represent our world. We flock to the "based on a true story" films and relate to the romantic comedies and horror films because we believe that they COULD maybe be real. The movie world is supposed to represent a little slice of our real world, developed on screen. When you break it down, its ridiculous. How many 5'2 size 00 girls with the perfect bust, waist, nose, bone structure, and hair do you know? Not many I would guess, and if you do, I would be willing to bet, they're working actresses of the industry. Real women just don't look like that! Not to say that these woman aren't real themselves, but most have so much makeup and plastic surgery (not to mention how many must starve themselves to be that thin) that they hardly even resemble the girl that broke onto the screen in the first place. Now, I expect the argument that the public goes to movies to be entertained and they only want to look at something appealing to the eye, blah blah blah. I'm not saying go out of the way to put ugly women on the screen (although, would that kill us really?), I'm just saying allow those average looking, average sized women, to be represented. Its ludicrous to think talented, attractive, size 8, 5'6 women don't exist in the industry. They're being kept out on purpose because of the way they look!

We put so much pressure on young girls to live up to this unattainable standard of beauty if all they ever see growing up are these gorgeous and thin women on the screen. We need to prove to them that there is more out there, and that, regardless of their shape, size, or features, they can do and be anything they desire. Its great that we have role models like Jennifer Hudson and Rosie O'Donnell, but we need more. Its not just about the fat girls, or the gay girls, or the outcast girls. It needs to be about ALL girls. We owe that to them. Why can't we have more women that look like Bridget Jones in romantic comedies? Is it so ludicrous that these women could find love? Why not have Jennifer Hudson starring in a movie like "The Devil Wears Prada." Is it so ridiculous to think that she could be a struggling professional?
This topic wouldn't be so infuriating to me if it wasn't a wholistically one-sided issue. You have men of ALL different shapes and sizes with varying degrees of fame. Ugly, fat, short, bald, just plain odd-looking, they're all there. Sometimes they even have ALL these characteristics in one (Danny De'Vito anyone?). But it doesn't MATTER for men. For women, we're allowed ONE negative characteristic, assuming all other degrees of aesthetic perfection are in place. Sure, Helena Bonham Carter is one odd-looking cookie, but she's thin with perfect teeth and bone structure like all the others. Sure, Sarah Jessica Parker isn't the most gorgeous woman on the planet, but she's thin and tiny and has great style and takes care of herself well. Sure Mandy Moore is super tall and a size 8 or 10, but she's gorgeous, with perfect hair, smile, and facial structure like all the rest. We're allowed one variation, one deviant while the men in this industry are granted full on amnesty. If a man is a good performer, a good entertainer, a good comedian, a good actor, well, you're in, regardless of your appearance or age. But not women. Why not women? I'm not hating on these female actresses above. On the contrary, I commend them for making it through the red tape set up before them. I just wish we could allow just a little more diversity through, you know? It just makes me sad.

Take a look at some of Hollywood's most popular leading men and tell me that most of these guys aren't at least a little bit odd-looking. But we love them anyway. I wish we could say the same for our women.
posted by Megan Anhalt at 2:55 PM 5 comments


Top (for me at least) US Presidential candidate, Senator Barack Obama spoke Monday evening before a cheering crowd in Los Angeles at the Gibson Ampitheatre. In true LA fashion, his appearance was heralded first with performances by Hollywood entertainers like Nick Cannon, James Whitmore, Ne-Yo, Kal Penn, and the Goo Goo Dolls.

To be honest, the whole experience was a bit surreal. I have been a huge Obama supporter since reading his book "The Audacity of Hope" earlier this year (a book that I HIGHLY RECOMMEND to anyone concerned with the future of American political policy). There is something about the young Harvard educated Senator and noted community activist from Illinois that is simply unlike any other political leader of our generation. He has the charisma and youthful idealism of a KENNEDY, a political saavy and intelligence of say a ROOSEVELT, and an eloquence and sense of social equality of DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. himself. Most importantly, I believe him. I believe HE BELIEVES in what he's saying. It's not just about his politics, about what he will and won't do for this country as president, but more so about who he is and what he represents for all Americans in this country.

Sitting in my bleacher chair, watching him speak close enough to hit him with a bottle cap (my dad's favorite measure of distance), I was forced into a state of stunned reverence for the man before me. Someone I truly believe to be acting not just in the interest of his own professional mobility, but for the betterment of a country he believes in and its citizens he has sworn to help. No political leader is perfect, everyone is human after all. Sure, anyone could find criticisms of this man like any other man or woman (he's too young, he's too inexperienced, he's too idealistic, he's black, his middle name is "hussein"), but one simply cannot argue with his eloquence. He has a way of saying what we all feel and proposing logical and presumably feasible solutions for change, and again, I believe him. I believe in him. Probably in a way women felt hearing Susan B. Anthony speak in the late 1890's or the way segregated African Americans felt in the 1960's listening to Dr. King. Is America ready for him? I cannot be sure, but I do know that regardless of the outcome of this election, Sen. Barack Obama will continue to make waves in this country for many many years to come.

Check out one of my favorite excerpts of Obama's motivational speech below:
posted by Megan Anhalt at 10:44 AM 0 comments