Monday, January 22, 2007

Am I gorgeous yet?

Lately I have been looking at humans with the eye of an exobiologist. Yeah, okay, I'm an SFF writer. But while most of us will look at most cats, most horses, most members of whatever other species we have decided is generally appealing, and just appreciate their highly varied beauty... when we look at humans, we make judgements. He isn't as ripped as the models we see in ads; her thighs are too big; doesn't he see how stupid he looks with that cheesy moustache?; I might look good if I weighed 20 pounds less, dyed my hair, had plastic surgery, worked out 12 hours per week, whatever.

Models aren't beautiful enough yet -->>

Porn stars aren't beautiful enough yet -->>

But what I have observed, lately, as I looked at humans as individual examples of a widely-varied species, is that they are all different. And when I look at them the way I look at cats, or horses, I see the beauty in all that variation, and I wonder where all that judging comes from.

Someone (with an awful lot of time on his/her hands) figured out, a few years ago, that if Barbie dolls were real women, they wouldn't be able to stand up -- they're that distorted. In the short film about the model in the link above, the most telling moment for me was the part where whoever finally prepared the ad elongated her neck, shrunk her shoulders, and rearranged her eye sockets until she was as distorted as poor ol' Andrew Jackson in the new twenty dollar bill. In fact, seeing the final product of the billboard in the short after having seen the process through which the billboard was developed, I was finally, forcefully struck by the distortion in the image. I wonder how many other distorted images seem normal to me. I wonder if I've ever seen anything real in the media at all.

Of course, because I am an SFF writer, this makes me wonder how people can object to SFF on the basis of non-realism. At least, in SFF, we're honest about the ways in which we rearrange the truth. But I digress, as usual...

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