Meeyapeede had a fascinating little monograph concerning feminist ideals and the exploitation of physical beauty in her diary yesterday. It has me thinking about Anna Nicole Smith... especially since she's back in the media spotlight because she lost 69 pounds. She raises some issues about physical beauty that don't resonate well with some of my closer beliefs.
Anna Nicole Smith is an embodiment of the exploitation of physical beauty. Although she may be a nice person and loved by those who know her best, the only reason that America even knows she exists is because of her physical attributes. She has exploited this to its fullest possible extent, first by getting breast implants to get better stripping jobs, then by marrying a rich man in ill health who was old enough to be her grandfather, and then by agreeing to be the star of a reality TV show. People first enjoyed watching her rise in the pages of Playboy, then her fall on Court TV after the death of her husband, her life at the bottom on her TV show, and now her rebirth... since she's lost 69 lbs.
I can recall a TV critic writing an early review of Anna's show saying that he didn't find Anna to be a likeable TV personality. He missed the point; people don't watch her because she's likeable, they watch because she's a train wreck. They started watching because she was a very attractive woman once, and wanted to see what had happened to her. Now they watch because she's making some effort to transform herself.
I've seen a few bits of her show recently and I find the effects of her weight loss on me unsettling. Losing a large amount of weight is one thing, but, I find myself looking at her consciously or unconsciously in a different light. I find myself wanting to think that this change has been brought about because of some new inner transformation. Yet when she moves, she talks, and she decides, she seems to be the same old Anna Nicole Smith. That should erase any admiration I have for her rediscovered zaftig beauty... because ultimately, all that probably happened was that she was talked into losing the weight for money. Yet it doesn't, at least not completely.
That bugs me. It makes me wonder whether or not I need better eyes when looking for virtue in the world. Perhaps I just need to develop a better sense of Buddhist detachment to see beauty and ugliness as the illusions that they are. I definitely need to try harder to avoid watching any of her show.
on 2004-03-24 at 10:38 a.m.
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