Heroes, Spiderman…and Being Beautiful

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heroes-cast-may16.jpg

Okay…I don’t know how many of you are watching “Heroes”…but all of you should be.

The show is amazing.

For those of you who do watch…I just have to say this…I never thought I would ever have feelings of gratitude for Sylar…but I do. Thanks to the telekinetic terror…Peter Petrelli finally got his much-needed haircut. (Trust me…if you watched the show…you’d be rolling laughing right now.) UPDATE: EW’s write-up.

Also during last night’s episode, we got to see a sneak peak at “Spiderman 3.” I couldn’t have geeked out more unless I put on my footed Spidey p.j.’s and shot silly string at Sadie yelling “Go, web, go!” Truly that movie will be fantastic.

And for those of you who don’t give a rip about “Heroes” or “Spiderman 3” (which I can’t fathom how you COULDN’T)…I have a set of philosophical questions for you.

  1. How do you define physical beauty in a woman?
  2. Is it innate within women to want to be beautiful?
  3. Is something wrong with a woman who does not strive to be her most beautiful?
  4. How can beauty be so vilified yet still so desired in our society?
  5. Do you think it’s wrong on any level for a woman to want to be beautiful?
  6. And do you think American society has crippled women’s confidence to the point where they feel they can’t be beautiful without synthetic aid? (In other words…do any of you feel you AREN’T breaking societal norms by going to work or church or the store without make-up and hairspray?)

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As an aside, the old Monkbot site will be taken offline in the next few weeks. I’m noticing folks are still visiting it and using it as a link to the new site. This is just a reminder to update those bookmarks and links!

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23 Responses to “Heroes, Spiderman…and Being Beautiful”

  1. Shrewspeaks Says:

    I am sorry I don’t watch Heros…but the thought of you be-spidyed slinging web at Sadie was just too drole.

    Can I add another question? Which came first, woman’s drive to be beauty perfection or men ignoring all who don’t personify beauty perfection?

    My question maybe biased due to geographic location…if so please forgive it.

  2. Hatson Says:

    Men would answer those questions differently than a woman. That said, I never go anywhere without make-up. Does that mean I am hopelessly mired in the dictates of society, or that my self worth is dependent on my appearance only? Nah, I feel better when I look my best! I enjoyed an interview with Helen Mirren when she said she rarely wore pants because as she thought”I have a big bottom”,and they don’t look good. I also don’t believe that you have lost your feminism if you want to look good to a man! While it is true that looks initially attract, a relationship based on that alone will not survive.

  3. Phile Says:

    Amen. I’ve been waiting for that haircut for months.

    And I’m a little worried about HRG… and Hiro/Ando… and Nathan… and Claire… and Mohinder.. and, well just about everyone else on that dang show. We’re supposed to wait until APRIL 23rd for the next episode???

    Thanks for letting my geek flag fly for a bit – I’ll let others talk about perceptions of beauty. But these *are* some snazzy new digs!

  4. Libby Says:

    Shelley and Fellow Monkbots,

    Hope all is well woth all of you. I’ve been out of pocket a lot lately. Shell -congrats on you great work on the new site. It amazes me the time and attention that you take for all of us. This MB community of friends means so much to me.

    Been going through a little rough patch in the last few weeks. I dont deal well with change and transition as I would like. Many of you may know — I decided to change jobs and go away from contract work. God has blessed me with a new opportunity that I am very happy to be be starting a new job. Right now, I am traveling a little, too. For me — God has placed friends and outlets like the little MB Home to provide stability and encouragement just when we need them. Thanks to all of you who have offered encouragement to me in the midst of my little storm.

    I have not seen the show, Heroes. However, I have heard great things about it. I will try to tune – in during the coming weeks. I was a loyal Studio 60 fan — now that is gone ( at least temporarily and maybe permanentley ) — I can afford one tv show on Monday nights. So, I will tune in very soon.

    However, without current Heroes knowledge, I will move to the other questions — Shelley has posed for us.

    Is it innate within women to want to be beautiful?

    I do think women typically ( not universally – sp? its 4am) want to be considered beautiful. Bu they want to look their best. It is not fair that women have to spend more time “getting ready” – hair, makeup, coordination of outfits — than most men — who can basically shower, shave and comb hair and are ready to go…

    Personally when I am down — I love to go to the makeup counter and buy a cream or lipstick. Maybe it is a more regional ( aka “southern girl” thing ) — my Mom always says “do you want to put your lipstick on?” before leaving home or meeting someone new. So it is ingrained in me —

    In the last 5 years, I dont put on makeup everyday to go to the Grocery store or shopping. I think I am just more tired. But I am more open to folks if I think I have “myface” on… A smile can make a big difference too. It is so important — it makes me feel better and makes us all seem more approachable.

    Really — as trite as it sounds — beauty is an outside – inside thing to me. If you are kind, loving and smiling — you will be more approachable and attractive to others- – I think.

    Since gaining significant weight in the last 7 years — I feel some folks are not as responsive and engaging with me ( without my reaching out to them ) – it is not right — but I believe their is also a weight prejudice. I dont want to be 108 pounds again. Could not maintain it — even if I ran 6 mi per day — whihc has been recommended to jumpstart my metabolism. ( who has that much time ?) But there is a diff in how people approach me in life and the work place when I am at a much higher weight. Now, my 2007 goal is to get down to a healthy weight and be more attractive at 122 pounds ( have not been that weight in >7 years ). Still have have a long way to go. I am 14 pounds short of where I had hoped to be at this point in my weight loss plan. I have to increase my exercise to make the difference I need.

    I do not think it is wrong for a woman to want to be beautiful and to honor the “temple” / or body God created for us. Certainly, there is more emphasis in the South — to have your hair, makeup and clothes done.

    It is not wrong — to want to be beautiful. I love a sincere complement. It is most important to feel comfortable with who you are — and play up your natural strengths. I am not opposed to retinoid creams for the face — and someday — I may even venture to peels etc as I get older. ( I am 41 now.) But doing those artificial techniques to turn the clock back — will not make me feel more comfortable in my skin — if I do not already feel it inside.

    I do not think I am breaking overall societal norms -going to church or work without makeup– but I do not feel I look the best I can — and in the South — I think folks expect women to take more time on makeup and hair. So, sometimes it bothers me more than others.

    I just bought Bobbi Brown’s book, Natural Beauty. She hits a lot on these topics with quotes from Susan Sarandon, Lorraine Bracco, Angela Bassett et al — women who look incredible and are over 50. Yall might enjoy it too — if you like Shelley’s topic here.

    Again thanks for the patience and encouragement from the MB family ! THe MB family is beautiful to me.

    Love you, Lib

    Do you think it’s wrong on any level for a woman to want to be beautiful?
    And do you think American society has crippled women’s confidence to the point where they feel they can’t be beautiful without synthetic aid? (In other words…do any of you feel you AREN’T breaking societal norms by going to work or church or the store without make-up and hairspray?)
    —–

  5. Shelley Says:

    Wow, Libby…thanks for sharing.

    I hope your storm passes quickly, sweetie.

    Phile…thanks for sharing your geek side with me. I have to admit…I thought I was happy that Ando left last week…but was THRILLED when he showed up last night.

    Oh…and April 23!?!?! I’m dying.

  6. Dr. Bob Says:

    Shelley — I can’t read this, because I am about six episodes behind on Heroes — love the show, though.

    Nice questions — I have to ponder. It is not quite six am and I am blindly groping for my coffee cup. Will check back later.

  7. jenfera Says:

    How do you define physical beauty in a woman?
    I don’t think there is any one way to define it.

    Is it innate within women to want to be beautiful?
    I don’t think it is “innate.” I think it is either something you were brought up with or you weren’t. I was brought up with it. Chicken & Waffles makes some interesting points on this in a recent blog entry.

    Is something wrong with a woman who does not strive to be her most beautiful?
    I think the words “strive” and “most” are strong. I do find myself annoyed sometimes with people who don’t bother to at least pull themselves together. This is probably my problem, not theirs. I am very conflicted on this. I have a girlfriend who is absolutely adorable but has really “let herself go” since she had a baby recently. She has great hair – full of body but not too curly, not too straight. She has that nice balance that most of us would kill for. But most days she just sticks it in a ponytail, and a sloppy one at that. Somedays she wears makeup, and somedays she doesn’t. I feel like she is doing herself a disservice somehow, making less of herself. And I also feel like, dang, I struggle everyday with my wimpy, fine, thin, limp hair to make it look decent, smear a little makeup on my pale, pale face and try to dress professionally, isn’t that the least my coworkers could do for me too??
    My 16-year-old stepdaughter also frustrates me. She is a very beautiful girl, but she is shy and she hides her beauty. She has fabulous naturally curly hair. From trying to help her with it I do at least understand now that very curly hair can be just as much of a curse as very straight. I do still think you have a better chance with curly though! She chooses not to deal with it at all, and pulls it all back tightly every day into a bun. She wears no makeup and dresses like a tomboy.

    How can beauty be so vilified yet still so desired in our society?
    I think we all have a part of us that aspires to be that virtuous, to see beyond beauty, to not be concerned with it. But we have all also seen the reality. I do think I would not have progressed as far in my job if I didn’t pull myself together every morning.

    Do you think it’s wrong on any level for a woman to want to be beautiful?
    And do you think American society has crippled women’s confidence to the point where they feel they can’t be beautiful without synthetic aid? (In other words…do any of you feel you AREN’T breaking societal norms by going to work or church or the store without make-up and hairspray?)
    Like a lot of things in life, I don’t think it is wrong to want to be beautiful as long as you don’t take it to the extreme. If you are spending money you don’t have on mani’s & pedi’s, or even surgery, that could be a problem. If you are more concerned with beauty than with being a good person, and with seeing the good in others, that is problem. I do recognize that I have a confidence issue, because I won’t go out to the store or work without makeup or hairspray. (Well, occasionally without makeup, but never without hairspray!) But I also feel like maybe I am progressing because I am not as concerned about it as my mom is. Mom won’t go out in her own garden without a full face of makeup, including lipstick!

  8. shrewspeaks Says:

    I was doing a bit of reading to help formulate my thoughts when I saw this at wiki…

    “A strong indicator of physical beauty is “averageness”. When images of human faces are averaged together to form a composite image, they become progressively closer to the “ideal” image and are perceived as more attractive. This was first noticed in 1883, when Francis Galton, cousin of Charles Darwin, overlayed photographic composite images of the faces of vegetarians and criminals to see if there was a typical facial appearance for each. When doing this, he noticed that the composite images were more attractive, than as compared to any of the individual images. ”

    Is beauty really a hyper version of average? Meaning nothing unique or quirky? Almost void of individual esthetic? A bland arangement with no stand out or stand along characteristic traits?

  9. shrewspeaks Says:

    (tap,tap,tap)

    Did I pull plug?

  10. bamaborntxbred Says:

    I’m going to comment in a little while! I’m digging out from a mound of work. Blech!

  11. bamaborntxbred Says:

    1. I can’t. I think it’s individual to the woman.
    2. I think so. It’s a part of nature as much as society. Otherwise God wouldn’t have created us to be attracted to one another.
    3. I don’t think there is something “wrong” with a woman that wouldn’t try to be her best. I just don’t know why anyone wouldn’t want to try.
    4. Is beauty villified?
    5. Heck no. I want to be beautiful. I also want to be smart, funny, healthy, more loving, kind and humble. When a person becomes obsessed with being one thing…that’s when I think it becomes “bad”.
    6. I know the American society has placed a lot of pressure on women to be all the things that are considered beautiful…I don’t know if that includes artificially or not. I’m sure it does. I NEVER go anywhere w/o make-up on. I just feel better, like Libby said, with my “face on”. In some ways I think it’s disrepectful to other people if you don’t try to put some effort into putting your best foot forward…almost as if they don’t warrant your time and care.

    HEROES ROCKS! It’s the best show ever and I don’t know how I’m supposed to wait until April 23rd!!

  12. rowan Says:

    Question one: I would find it difficult to condense the characteristics which I would use to identify physical beauty in a woman, though, I could probably give a sort of glib account of what I would find attractive in a man (Grey hair..brown eyes..soulful voice…) I really can’t differentiate niceness from attractiveness. A couple of my friends are women in their sixties, and I would genuinely say that they are attractive. Their niceness shows in their faces. Neither wears much, if any make-up – I haven’t really noticed. I think animatedness and humour are what make a person attractive – an inner glow, a curiosity, a desire to learn and a quirky take on things. I bought a women’s magazine to send to a friend in the US, and the cover girl was plus size comedienne Dawn French. I would say that I think that she is prettier than, say, Angelina Jolie. Her eyes sparkle with mirth and she has well cut shiny hair. She is a celebrity, but she is three-dimensional .I’m not making a quip about her size, although so many celebrities do indeed appear to be two-dimensional and would dissapear if viewed sideways on. People who look too airbrushed or too perfect seem characterless to me – devoid of individuality and a little disconcerting.

    Question 2: I think this has to depend on the situation the individual woman finds herself in – how much time she has, the domestic pressures upon her. I think it is innate to perhaps want to conform to a look that is within acceptable societal norms, whatever those might be.

    Question 3: I don’t think so – at least, I hope not! I guess it depends once again, how you define beauty. If it is purely in the sense of maintaining a certain physical image, then people have different perspectives and expectations of themselves. There is a huge obesity problem in the Uk, but a definite ethos that you should love yourself whatever your size, competing with the medical campaign for us to ‘get guilty’ and ditch the creme eggs. Anyways, as I don’t wear my glasses, I manage to look ten years younger when I look in the mirror! I wear a little make-up, if I have time to put it on, and if i can find my make-up bag. If not, I will happily go out without any.

    Question 5: INo, don’t think it is wrong, but wouldn’t want anyone to feel pressurised into assuming a particular look, thinking it will bring happiness. I spent 5 years as a size 4, and was no happier than I am as a size 14.

    Question 6: I am not really qualified to answer this one, not being American, and not having had the chance to visit, as yet. (Hope too soon, though!) I would be interested in any views from folks who have visited the UK, to see if they see any differences from the US as regards the issues raised in this question. I would say that the awareness of cosmetic surgery is rising – there is a current advert on tv, which has appeared in the last few months. There are adverts in Sunday Supplements in the heavy duty newspapers. For the most part, though, I would say that cosmetic surgery is not something really considered by your average Brit. It could be that the costs are prohibitive, and we are not used to paying for medical procedures. People in the media would perhaps have a different atttitude, when their perception is that their livelihood is dependent on them maintaining a certain physical appearance.

    As to going to church made-up, I did just that on my first visit, in December. On subsequent visits, I could see that the look was tidy-casual, jeans acceptable, and a general absence of make-up. I have gradually stopped wearing any too, as I felt self-conscious!

    I know that i am never going to look like Angelina Jolie, unless she is chopped-off at the knees and force-fed ice-cream for eighteen months. I am okay with that. I would like to escape from the red “scuury zone” on the doctor’s weight chart, back into the green, “you could do with losing a little weight, my dear.” I want to downsize the proportions of my official burden of guilt, as well as my jeans size. Yeah, I would like to be the best I can be. But that involves accepting that I can’t always be firing on all cylinders. I will have setbacks, but they aren’t forever. it is a learning process. as Bama said, being the best you can be involves growing as well as shrinking – nurturing qualities which represent a spiritual growth, such as kindness and supportiveness.

  13. bamaborntxbred Says:

    Man, Rowan! You really put some thought into that!

    I bet you are one of those people that radiate beauty through your personality. Having never seen you, that’s the only thing I can judge you on!

  14. leejolem Says:

    Very interesting topic. No time to comment right now. Hopefully will get back this evening (in between watching AI). I do know one thing for sure, all Monkbot sistahs are inherently bee-yoo-tiful!!

  15. Shelley Says:

    Rowan…what beautiful insights. Thanks!

  16. rowan Says:

    Aww, Bama and Shelley – you are very kind.

    Leejolem – Yep, agree wholeheartedly! As Tyra would undoubtedly say, All Monkbot Sistahs “Have it goin on” and are “fierce”. By that, I’m thinking she means edgy and bee-yoo-tiful at the same time.

  17. Shelley Says:

    jenfera…sorry your comment got hung up in the spam filter…and i didn’t realize it until now.

    wonderful points…i encourage everyone to go back and read (totally my fault if you missed it).

    Everyone, thanks for all the thoughts. This was on my mind last night…about what I want for myself as far as beauty. You know, even when I’m sick or not having a great day, it’s amazing how much better a smear of lipstick and a touch of mascara can perk me up. But I can get really frustrated at times when I want to look “natural” and just feel I don’t measure up.

    I was definitely have one of those awkward moments when I posed those questions.

    I learned a lot. 🙂 Thanks.

  18. jenfera Says:

    I was starting to wonder, Shelley! Shades of Gray. I’ll be more careful with the links.

    You know, you bring up another good point – the whole “natural” look thing. I think that is one of the hardest things for us to deal with. I really wonder how many real, actual people look all that good “natural.” I think we are presented with images in magazines and on TV of supposedly natural types, made to believe they look that good all the time, but they probably really don’t.

    I think the vast majority of us probably feel like I do. I feel like that woman on Seinfeld that he dated that was alternately good looking or hideous.

  19. Shelley Says:

    I really wonder how many real, actual people look all that good “natural.”

    jen…this is what i’m talking about. i think we so accustomed to seeing make-up on women that without it, women look washed out and weak. but look at men…they don’t wear make-up and they look so damn GOOD. i thinkn it’s what we’re used to seeing.

  20. leejolem Says:

    Ok, here’s my attempt at some answers to very tough questions:
    1.There is no way to define physical beauty–it comes in too many forms, and an individual’s personality colors it for me. For example I don’t get it when people say how beautiful Antonella B. from AI is. I just don’t see it. I think they’re confusing sexy with beautiful. 2.I think it is innate to want to be attractive–that’s how God wired us, so we would be fruitful and multiply. We want to be desired by the opposite sex. As society has evolved I also think women want the admiration of other women also.
    3. No! I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a woman who doesn’t strive to be physically beautiful. I woman should not be slovenly or dirty, but true beauty should really be reflected in our nature. I knew a woman who put on makeup before she prayed in the morning because she thought God would want her to look her best and make the effort–that to me is just misdirected and smacks of vanity.
    4. Jealousy, envy, feelings of inadequacy???
    5.No, I don’t think it’s wrong to want to be beautiful, but I don’t think it should be the major driving force in a woman’s life.
    6.This question makes me think of Meg Ryan. I always thought she was so cute and charming–now after plastic surgery she looks odd. Why did she do it? What motivated her? I think the women in the breast cancer promotion that have posed nude (tastefully) are beautiful. They are all different shapes, sizes and colors and they are physically beautiful to me. Has anyone else seen these photos?
    6b. There’s nothing wrong w/a little makeup to pick you up! I would never go into work w/o foundation, blush, mascara and a little lipstick.

    Sorry for the long post. Hope I’m not too late, and someone reads this.

  21. Shelley Says:

    I read it…and really appreciated it. 😉 Thanks, Lee.

  22. Libby Says:

    Leejolem.

    I read your post — very good.. YOu made a good point on the plastic surgery– so many beautiful woman like Meg Ryan feel compelled to go to the surgeon – and end up losing a part of their natural beauty and wholesomeness.. That is why the bog procedures seem scary to me.

    Good points.

    Lib

  23. Libby Says:

    meant big procedures — not bog procedures — although some of the “big” can “bog” people down. hahahaha

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