Friday, November 09, 2007

Female beauty as cliché

In the world of American entertainment feminine beauty has become a bit of cliché . Bizarrely you are far more likely these days to see a classically beautiful woman in a European porn movie being shagged by a pair of Serbian skinheads wearing black leather jackets and y-fronts, than in an American movie or TV series.

is one of the worst offenders. There are some ludicrously beautiful men, Sendhil Ramamurthy (Mohinder) and Milo Ventimiglia (Peter) being the stand-out examples, whereas 'cute' is about the best that can be said for the leading female cast members. Dania Ramirez (Maya) has potential, but she needs to stop bleeding black ink out of her eye-sockets.

Lost isn't much better. OK, there's the feisty, freckled Evangeline Lilly (Kate), but then she's surrounded by Naveen Andrews (Sayid), Matthew Fox (Jack), Daniel Dae Kim (Jin) and Josh Holloway (Sawyer).

In CSI: Crime Scene Investigations, if anyone is going to get a modelling gig, it would be one of the males. Yet CSI: Miami is to some extent an exception. Yes, there is the uber-smooth, square jawed Adam Rodriguez (Delko) but on this show at least his masculine lusciousness is regularly out-shone by Emily Procter (Calleigh), Sofia Milos (Yelina), Khandi Alexander (Alexx) and Eva La Rue (Natalia). And they achieve this in spite of the collective aesthetic handicap that the producers seem to have deliberately set them up with: age. They are all over 40...and gorgeous.

It's not much different in the movies. Think of a properly beautiful actress working in Hollywood (Aishwarya Rai, Sarah Shahi, Mia Maestro [pictured], Monica Belluci etc.) and she will tend not to all or even part American. Would women as 'plain' as Kirsten Dunst and Sandra Bullock have prospered in the black and white era? Quirky is obviously the modern equivalent of ravishing, especially when cute (Anne Hathaway, Katie Holmes etc.) won't suffice. I guess someone could try using Natalie Portman and Scarlet Johannson to de-bunk my argument, but they are surely at best borderline cases.

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