Are movies too beautiful?

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Breakfast at Tiffany’s  – what’s that film about? My cousin summed if up for me last week by saying it’s about consumerism. Whilst it’s a critique on superficiality, one of the main reasons we celebrate that film is for its fashion and style.

That’s the trouble with films, they tend glamorize the very thing they intended to critique.

Take for example The Devil Wears Prada. I’m just finishing the book and it leaves me in no doubt that the fashion world can be outrageously superficial. It emphasizes  that Miranda Priestly is feared and adored out of all proportion to any merit she might possess.

In contrast, the film bows reverently to fashion. The heroine Andrea, is taught a lesson for not “respecting” the fashion world. She looks foolish and ignorant and for that reason decides she needs a make-over.  In the novel, Andrea slowly decides to make over herself because  of the bullying and snide comments she receives at work.

The fuss around The Great Gatsby movie, similarly shows the power of film to completely gloss over the more serious messages contained within a story. Will we walk away from that film wondering how the rich can be so thoughtless and careless with the lives of others? Will we see the tragedy of Gatsby’s dream?

Or will we be thinking about the fur, the sequins and flapper style fashion we wouldn’t mind incorporating into our wardrobe?

I must apoligise for the negativity of this post! Are there any films out there, that critique superficiality without being a total sell out? I honestly can’t think of any.

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Clothes might take away stress

emma11Women love talking about weight. Or we talk about fat, sugar, ‘food guilt’, our legs, arms, bum, breasts, hair, skin, tan and so on… It can be quite boring.

When I was a teenager, I loved watching movies and TV set in the past. Looking back, I liked the way they represented women.

In these “costume drama’s” the emphasis was on a women’s personality rather than her body. These women spent time worrying about being a better person; they wanted to be more kind, confident, rational and wise. All my favourite female characters were witty and intelligent; they could hold their own in any verbal battle. You really can’t get any better than Elizabeth Bennet or Emma Woodhouse!

These women were also beautiful, however their beauty wasn’t about having perfect legs. They could even be beautiful with clothes on. Their clothes covered quite a lot of their body.

Do you remember the moment in Clueless, which is an appropriation of Jane Austens Emma, when Josh realises he loves Cher? She is walking down the stairs, wearing a dress no bigger than a pillow case. And you can tell by his face that he suddenly realises just how ‘hot’ she is.

I always hated that part of the movie. Mr Knightly, from Emma (pictured above)didn’t need to see Emma in a “pillow case dress” to fall in love.

Some people have told me it can be quite empowering to wear less clothes. They say that wearing a shirt that barely covers your undies, or a top that lets your breast nearly topple out, can really show your confidence.

Honestly, that has never rung true for me.

Women, who lived in a time when they covered up, must have been less self-conscious about their bodies. It just makes sense. With more clothing coverage, you wouldn’t have to worry if your tummy was a little flabby or your thighs were a little wide. Contemporary clothes can be quite unforgiving on anyone with womanly curves.

When the average Australian girl spends her summer wearing the teeniest shorts possible, she has so much to worry about. Her legs have to be tanned, toned, waxed, skinny and long. And that’s not taking into account all the other grooming she will need to do on the rest of her body. This is a lot to achieve every day of the week. It might leave little time for having fun and developing her brain power.

She might become very competitive, but it’s not whilst playing sport or doing an exam, it’s about comparing legs.

One of my students told me she used to get up an hour and half earlier in the morning to put on her tan, straighten her hair and do her makeup. She rarely found time do her homework.

Obviously female clothes should be functional; I’m not saying we should return to wearing corsets. However there is so much pressure on women to expose and sell their body. Clothes should just make us look even more beautiful.

Wouldn’t it be a wonderful if women could spend less time fussing about their appearance? Imagine what we could achieve.