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Sunday, March 6, 2016

Against Beauty

Recently a twitter account known as @femscriptintros created a bit of a stir. Ross Putnam, a movie producer who gets to see a lot scripts, is putting cliched introductory notes of female characters onto twitter. To be perfectly honest, at first I didn't see what was wrong with some of the entries, besides the impoverished imagination and writing. It only dawned on me after a bit of thought that every intro refers to the female character's physical beauty one way or another.

Yes, I know, the irony. I never thought of myself as having been indoctrinated by the patriarchal social values, but I had never questioned the insidious effect of "beauty." It is the only way to describe a good woman, a woman who is worth anything. Of course, physical beauty is superior, but if physical beauty is utterly out of the question (for example, a biopic of Mother Teresa), her other attributes, usually her heart and least likely her mind, would be assigned that description -- beautiful. All along I have believed that the highest compliment a woman can receive is her beauty.

But now the question is abundantly clear. Men are good and worthy in many various ways. Damn they don't even need to be good or worthy to be interesting or just ... to live. Men don't need to be anything but themselves --- OK I know this is gross simplification. Men too are imprisoned by their gender and social expectations, but women are still far more restricted. What's more disturbing than the externally imposed limitations is our internalized, self-imposed ones.

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