What is Beauty?
Did you ever have one of those days when you felt ugly? Fat? Old? No matter what you look like or how much self-esteem you have, sometimes I think we all have those days (or weeks). Your hair is out of control…all your pants are too tight…there is a pimple the size of a Volkswagen on your forehead. Let’s just blame it all on HORMONES.
I am having one of those days and I thought of a movie I watched on my flight from London last year-Penelope. It is a really cute movie that has some interesting things to say about beauty and how we can find it in ourselves.
Penelope [the pig-faced girl]
Penelope is a romantic fable that stars Christina Ricci as the title character. Penelope Wilhern is the child of wealthy socialites and is cursed by a spell that causes her to be born with the face of a pig. The spell can only be broken when she is truly loved “by one of her own kind”.
Her parents keeps her hidden in their estate and parades a succession of rich young men in front of Penelope (who is hidden behind a mirror) in an attempt to find her a husband that can break the curse. Even though they like Penelope for her money, none of them can bear to look at her. But this doesn’t break Penelope’s spirit. She is happy with her books and her gardening. What kind of curse is it that can only be broken by finding husband?
Enter Peter Dinklage, who plays an sleazy tabloid reporter that wants a picture of the mysterious ‘pig-faced girl’. He bribes Max (played by the dreamy Scotsman James McAvoy) to pose as a prospective suitor. But the down-on-his luck gambler finds himself falling for Penelope, not for her looks, but for her personality. Because Max knows that he is unable to break the curse, her disappears instead of disappointing Penelope.
Her parents are devastated. So tired of letting them down, Penelope runs away into a whole new world. She goes to a pub that Max mentioned, drinks her first beer, rides on a Vespa and meets her very first friend, the adventurous Annie. Annie is played by Reese Witherspoon, who also produced the movie.
I Like Myself The Way I Am
With her face covered in her ‘signature’ purple scarf, Penelope eventually becomes an overnight celebrity. Instead of running from people to hide her face she shows the world who she really is-the person inside and not the ‘pig-faced girl‘ they saw in the tabloids.
I don’t want to tell you the whole story, you can rent it for yourselves on Netflix. I guess my point is more about being happy with ourselves and not letting the world define us by their idea of what is beautiful.
Remember the media sensation, Susan Boyle? She became famous overnight, not so much for her amazing voice when she sang on Britain’s Got Talent. But more so because she didn’t look like the audience and the judges thought a person with talent should look. Even though she has a voice like an angel, the first thing people wanted to do want give her a make over. OK. She did need to do something about those eyebrows, but the focus of the attention was more on how she looked and not her voice.
When it comes to Chick Flicks, sometimes I would like to see more women who get the guy, not because she is the prettiest choice, but because she is the best choice. I love the movie The Mirror Has Two Faces because Jeff Bridges eventually falls in love with Barbra Streisand for herself (ok…and I LOVE Barbra…she’s like buttah), not for her looks.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all for looking good, taking pride in my appearance and all that. I love mani-pedis, hair products, fashion and make-up. But that’s not who I am. It makes me wonder, what do people think when they see me? Are they judging me by how I look? OK…I am not 23 anymore and I seriously need to workout and lose 25 pounds. But that’s not who I am. I am more that the sum of my parts. So maybe I should take a page out of Penelope’s book and not worry about what others think or even judge myself by the pages of fashion magazines and just like myself the way I am.