Wow, posting 2 days in a row! Yay me!
Not that it'll happen again in the forseeable future...
I was just over at iVillage reading Leslie's post about "Sex and the City" and body image. (Not commenting on it, since, apparently, iVillage has decided I'm not worthy. Or maybe it's a technical glitch. Either way, I have contacted them and am awaiting a solution. And trying to get over this taking everything personally stuff!) And it made me think about one episode, in which Charlotte tried to set Stanford (Willie Garson, whom I used to see on the treadmill next to me at the Hollywood Y, and is just as adorable in person as he is on screen. No that I spoke to him or anything. Hard to do when you're GASPING FOR BREATH, lol! I also saw Jeremy Sisto there, quite handsome and VERY tall! And they both seem very nice, as well) up on a date with Anthony (Mario Cantone, whom I've never seen in person). Well, she introduces them, and Anthony is quite rude, making disparaging remarks about Stanford's physicality. A year later, Stanford has a young, hot boyfriend, and tries to rub it in Anthony's face, as he's still feeling the sting of rejection.
We were still in L.A at the time, and BOY HOWDY did I relate to Stanford! 'Cause, as I've mentioned, living in L.A. is like being in high school again, except with emotionally stunted people who have the power to give you a job or reject you completely (we all know which category I fell into).
And it isn't just in the entertainment business. In L.A., you must meet a certain hotness quotient in order to be considered a worthy human being. This goes for men and women, although, if you're a male, you can make up for lack of hotness with bundles of cash and a snazzy car. Not so for women. (See? High school.) (The REALLY sad part is that many young men will blow all their cash to rent a sports car for the weekend. The problem is, they meet a hot [and extremely shallow] young woman at a club, buy her drinks, impress her with the flashy car, then have to take her home to their dumpy one-bedroom apartment that they share with 6 other guys, which kinda ruins the illusion so, really, what's the point?)
In high school I went on maybe 5 dates, all of which were set up for me by well-meaning friends. I had my first 2 boyfriends in college, and they were not exactly deep, long-lasting relationships (hey, it was college!). My only REAL relationship is the one I'm in now, which is A-OK with me but made for some harrowing (and lonely) times in my teens and early 20's. Suffice to say that for a LONG time, I did not see myself as being "worthy" of a boyfriend. Which translated to not being "worthy" as a person once we hit L.A. I was the one who was ignored while a guy hit on my hot friends. The guys would literally step between us, turn their backs on me, and chat up my friends. Yes, I was already in my relationship, but STILL! That was just plain rude and it HURT!!!!! (My friends, bless them, would step around the guys and, very nicely, send them on their way.)
Of course, it took me a long time to realize that the popular kids (whether in high school or Hollywood) acted the way they did out of their own securities. After all, if you truly believe that people only like you because of the way you look, how neurotic and insecure will you become? People disparage actresses all the time for their neuroses, but how can they possibly be any other way? When you are lauded for things you have zero control over, i.e. youth and beauty, you will naturally be insecure. Who will love you when you have a bad breakout? When you turn (gasp!) 40? When you get those laugh lines and worry wrinkles? When the tabloids start plastering pictures of you with less-than-perfect skin and body (like they just did to Catherine Zeta Jones, of all people!) and "entertainment news" shows do hard-hitting stories like "Stars With Cellulite" and there you are, up close and personal on TV screens all over the world?
Hollywood was once the Land of Illusion. Now it's the Land of Delusion. They create stars who have been nipped and tucked, photoshopped and airbrushed beyond recognition (see today's post on The Great Fitness Experiment), and we are all supposed to emulate them. Not even the stars themselves look the way they do on screen or in magazines!
So what do we do? For me it's getting out of L.A., focusing on my family, and doing things like going to therapy and this online retreat. I will NEVER be Angelina Jolie and you know what? I REALLY don't wanna be! I'm quite happy being ME, warts and all.
My hope is that we will finally be able to cut through the Hollywood/Madison Avenue/Fashion magazine crap and see it for what it really is. Maybe we'll eventually get sick of watching the Lindseys and Britneys and Parises of the world, young women who come close to complete self-destruction. Maybe we can teach our kids that that is NOT a role model, that fame at any cost is NOT a goal, and that being hot is not the be-all, end-all. That maybe, just maybe, kindness, intelligence (which comes in MANY forms), and generosity are qualities to strive for.
Hey, it COULD happen!