Friday, July 23, 2010

Oh, Anna!

OK, so I learned at a fairly young age that many guys lose brain cells when confronted with the image of a beautiful woman.  OK, maybe they don't physically LOSE brain cells, it's just that the blood rushes out of their brains and goes a little further south.
And, to be fair, it's not just men.  Women are known to become stupid when in the presence of a good-looking fella, whether he's in the flesh, on celluloid, or in a photo.  (On that note, can I just say to the women my age who lust after Taylor Lautner; um, EEEWW!!!!!! He's 17!!!!! He's a KID! If the situation were reversed and a 40 year-old guy was drooling after a 17 year-old girl, you'd call him a PERV, and rightly so! So just STOP IT!!!!!)
But it seems that we, as a country, lose maor IQ points every time Anna Chapman's name, or, worse, image, comes up.  If you don't know, she is one of a number of people accused of spying for Russia while living in the U.S.  She is 28, a sometimes-redhead, very attractive, and can often be found posing half-naked.  She also has a Facebook page, which she posts on from her new home in Moscow, and she apparently REALLY wants to return to New York.
And many are hoping she will.
Which makes me wonder; what are we willing to forgive in attractive people that is inexcusable in those we consider less attractive?
In centuries past, beauty was considered a sign of goodness.  A lovely woman (or man) couldn't possibly be anything other than angelic.  (Then it turned around; never EVER trust a good-looking person!  They are PURE EVIL!!!! More on that later.) Today we look at someone who is attractive and see them as superior because they have the "discipline" to take care of themselves; to avoid junk food, to go to the gym every day, etc.  We still make A LOT of assumptions about people based on what they look like.
One of my LEAST favorite expressions is "S/he's out of my league."  I've written about this before, I think. We walk around thinking we are either too good or not good enough for someone because of either looks, income, or both.
Are we really so willing to welcome back with open arms a woman who may have been stealing government secrets and passing them on to the Russian government solely on the basis of her hotness?!?!?!  What if Al-Quaeda started recruiting young women and putting them in thong bikinis laced with Anthrax, then shipping them over to Embassies?  Yes, that's an extreme example (and I certainly don't want to give anyone any ideas), but I think you see my point.  Just because someone is "hot" doesn't mean they get a free pass for bad behavior.
And the truth is we may never know the truth.  Maybe Anna wasn't a spy.  Maybe NONE of them were.  Maybe they ALL were.  But we're not hearing ANYTHING about the others, because they're not half-naked redheads.
There are those out there who will say I'm merely jealous.  But there;s nothing MERE about it.  As a not-ugly-but-not-smokin'-hot-either woman, I can tell you that I've had to work A LOT harder than my hot friends and acquaintances for certain things.  I also went through a period, in my early-to-mid-20's, when I was considered quite attractive.  (I know, hard to believe, lol!) And got A LOT of attention for all the wrong reasons.
I have studied people who, because of their wealth and/or looks, soak up that attention as if it is their due.  It is one of the side-effects of privilege. They have never been treated any differently, so they don't really know any better.  But when the looks go, or the money runs out, they get lost.  They don't get the freebies anymore, or all the attention.  All of their so-called friends have deserted them.  And it's REALLY sad! It's why women spend copious amounts of money on cosmetic surgery, and fool themselves into thinking they look exactly the same at 60 as they did at 30.  It's why men buy sports cars when they turn 50, to fool themselves into believing that they are still the same guys they were at 25.  Stereotypical?  Yes.  But in these particular stereotypes there is a kernel of truth. (And if you live in Los Angeles, the stereotype usually, sadly, BECOMES the truth.)
The other side of the coin is that attractive people are ALWAYS assumed to have gotten by solely on their looks.  We think of them as less intelligent, less capable, and less trustworthy.  So attractiveness is a blessing and a curse.
A number of years ago I learned that my middle-of-the-road looks are actually a blessing.  I learned to develop my talent, rather than rely on looks to get me acting jobs. I learned to cultivate my sense of humor, and to listen to and empathize with other people.   I started exercising in an effort to lose weight, not being one of those naturally thin types, and discovered a love of exercise that has led me to my current career. I am learning that eating fresh, healthy food is not what I HAVE to do in order to lose weight, but rather, is what my body craves, and what will keep me healthy and energized, as well as (hopefully) around for a long time to come.
Privilege can make life easier in some of the superficial ways, but it also makes for a lot of lessons unlearned.  Going back to the whole "the unexamined life is not worth living" thing, I see that I have been truly blessed in so many ways.
And the blessings, along with the lessons, just keep coming.

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