MARCH 1989 Opinions
U. THE NATIONAL COLLEGE NEWSPAPER
MARCH 1989 * Opinions U. THE NATIONAL COLLEGE NEWSPAPER 7
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The beautiful shall inherit the media in '80s America
By Ross Levi
The Daily Free Press
Boston U., MA
First off, let us agree that beauty is
seen in the eyes of the beholder. A look
at the Russian version of a hot babe
ems to put an end to any argument on
t at subject. Clearly, different cultures,
times or individuals have their own con-
cept of what is sexually, emotionally or
We all have a picture, provided by the
media, in our mind of what our culture
holds up as the perfect woman or man.
She is in her early to mid-twenties,
medium height, blond, thin and lightly
b sty. He is in his late twenties, tall,
k-haired, thin, and muscular. Those
with blemished or non-white skin,
crooked or colored teeth, or an overly
prominent nose or set of ears need not
From films to television to fashion
magazines, we are constantly presented
with generically beautiful people doing
fun, exciting things. It's the Kevin Cost-
rs and Tom Cruises that become
ball or billiards stars, are chased by
the CIA, or lose their virginity and get
accepted to Princeton all in the same
weekend. And it's the Elizabeth Shues
and Kelly McGillis's that actually have the physically and economically uncon-
an exciting night of babysitting, teach ventional to find a respectable niche in a
pilots to fly and always get the man. landscape as varied as the national
In a way, it's justified that we look for media. Just look at those times in Holly-
pleasant-looking people in our films, wood when average, even slightly un-
television, and advertisements. Enter- attractive people were able to make
tainment is for enjoyable escape and it's their presence known.
hard to enjoy yourself when watching a Humphrey Bogart wasn't very attrac-
400-pound leper. (Well, unless she is a tive. Neither was James Cagney. Clark
he named Divine.) Still, it is possible for Gable had ears like Dumbo. Even Bette
Davis with her gorgeous, riveting eyes
was no looker. Even recently, the '70s
seemed to celebrate unorthodox beauty
(remember The $1.98 Beauty Contest?).
The '80s and its values have created
an intolerance for deviant looks, be-
havior and class. The only black fami-
lies we are interested in today are those
of a comfortable obstetrician who acts
whiter than a freshly cleaned diaper.
And that's the danger in exclusively
beautiful and wealthy people setting
the standard for success in our fictional
stories. Is media just reflecting society
or is society beginning to incorporate
the ideas of media?
One of the most famous episodes of
The Twilight Zone television series told
the story of a deformed, hideously ugly
woman who's only hope was a corrective
operation that might allow her to look
normal and live a productive, worth-
while life. When the bandages were re-
moved, the audience saw the face of a
beautiful woman. It was then that the
operation was announced a failure by a
deformed-looking doctor and his
nurses. It was titled "Eye of the Be-
But what did Rod Serling know any-
way? He was ugly as sin.