it's got to be perfect

the latest promotional rounds have gotten jamie lee curtis' image in more places recently. i mused aloud that she finally seemed to be getting a bit older and this photo shoot from a few years ago was mentoned to me. she decided to have a picture published of her with no makeup, no styling, no retouching, no "help" of any kind - just a plain sports bra and briefs. a quick net search later and i found the picture above. it's not as brave as it could have been - the bright lighting tends to smooth things out a bit, and a tank top rather than a sports bra would have been more realistic in the gravity department. but i do applaud it as a good step in the right direction, and even better is a scene in her new movie. believe it or not, some people are still not aware of digital retouching, not to mention the difference camera angles or stylists can make. the average person just calls all this "makeup," as though a pound or two of max factor can make anyone look like a movie star. and if not, well then normal ugly people just don't have it.

on the opposite side of the same reality- and perspective-free coin are websites and tabloids that go out of their way to publish the crappiest pictures possible of celebrities. now, i'm not a big fan of the whole star system in the u.s. to me it's our equivalent of the british monarchy - what are most of these rich people good for anyway? but this kind of cheap shot is just mean-spirited and smacks of envy. some famous people truly are naturally good-looking, some are not. but even really pretty people can have an off-moment, whether they're drunk, just woke up, sick, in bad lighting, in disguise, or any other reason. rather than try to fight the prevalent view (all celebrities are perfect) with an equally untrue opposite (all celebrites are hideous), why not simply present more of the truth? and i mean this from both sides.

i'm beyond sick of commercial culture (now there's an oxymoron) and how its pervasiveness oppressively dictates social mores. even moreso when so many people seem ill-equipped to filter the bombardment of images and words with logic and perspective. even those with a good head on their shoulders are susceptible to the repeated message of most advertorial content (i.e. almost everything coming out of mainstream media): "you are not good enough."

it's gotten to the point that women with average or slightly thicker-than-commonly-seen bodies are invisible, or considered "fat". i'm aware that obesity in america is considered a problem of epidemic proportions, and i agree. but on the opposite end of the scale (literally) are those who are obsessed with starving themselves to attain an ideal that may be impossible or just plain unhealthy for them. nothing against skinny people who are naturally and healthily that way, but not everyone is built like that.

jamie lee curtis is an anomaly among american actresses. she's in her 40's, she's had short, butchy hair most of her career, her breasts are larger than average (and not implants), and she is neither rail-thin nor "hardbodied" (at least not by today's standards, even in her most buff roles). even other actresses who enter the public consciousness with her general type of figure tend to drop weight as soon as they can (neve campbell, christina ricci, thora birch) or only gain weight for a role (renee zelwegger in the bridget jones films). sadly, the myth they're forced to live themselves ends up being perpetuated, and anyone outside of a small range of cookie-cutter body type is rejected or relegated to extras or the dreaded "best friend" roles unless they eventually break out, and get the chance to make the same choice: be yourself and disappear, or disappear yourself and be everywhere.

the title of this post comes from a corny minor alterna-hit by fairground attraction.