But the lengths the beauty industry and its ugly sister, the fashion industry, run to sell their products are repellent and dangerous. In search of profit, they have created a homogenous ideal of female beauty that has nothing to do with what women actually look like. She is an abomination – starved and plucked and ironed and shrunk; she is the doll that looks like no one. Her goal is to sell dissatisfaction because liking your body sells nothing. Surveys say the majority of women are unhappy with their appearance and I blame the doll for almost all of it.
It has been a slow crawl for the doll. In the 50s and even the 70s – the 60s were a tentative audition for today – a size 12, with hips and breasts, could make it on to a billboard or into a movie. Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russell, Ava Gardner – all had flesh and interesting faces and imperfections. Russell’s eyebrows looked like draft excluders and Gardner had a cleft chin you could topple into. They looked like individuals. No more. Models and actresses are tiny now, and curiously similar, with every trace of fat melted off, every shadow painted out. This is not just boring and offensive and a nightmare for people who like to see actresses who can act, rather than pout. It is a mass psychosis, where what is real is despised and what is non-existent is desirable. The camera lies, like never before. I await the first Franken-actress, composed of itinerant body parts glued together with CGI. I hope they don’t forget the eyes.
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