I have been challenged by some of my readers because the protagonists in all my novels are exceptionally beautiful. Perhaps in my next novel my heroine should be a plain, somewhat lumpy, middle-aged woman.
But that is hard for me. I want my readers to love my protagonists. Do I believe that a woman can only be loved if she is beautiful?
Certainly our culture tells us that. And we respond, bending ourselves all out of shape to fit the images of youthful beauty that surround us in the media. Make up, jewelry, clothes, hair dos and hair color, skin creams. More radically, face lifts, tummy tucks, breast implants.
I read in the paper just the other day that the latest fad is bodacious buttocks. You can buy padded panties, get buttock implants. Really. I’m not making this up. It was in the newspaper. “Businesses that specialize in butts say pop culture has had a direct impact on their bottom line.” So to speak.
What are we really looking for with all these efforts? The prince on the white horse to carry us away to happily ever after? (Note that the fairy tales rarely tell us what happens after the marriage of the beautiful maiden and the prince.)
I searched several beauty magazines in the bookstore for inspiration. I remembered beauty product ads that showed a handsome man leaning over the shoulder or kissing the cheek of the woman using the product, but to my surprise I found only one of those. All the rest showed the woman standing alone in all her glory.
So maybe it’s not the prince, but an image we want to create. Why? For whom?
I am curious. Is the whole beauty rage more about image now than finding love?
What do you think?
In what ways do we disown ourselves when we cover or alter our natural beauty to fit the model?
One of my favorite lines of poetry is from Keat’s “Ode to a Grecian Urn.”
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty.”