Monday, November 19, 2012

Don't Make Me Over ~ Make Over society!

I remembered this song last night, when I was looking at an impossible picture. Well, maybe not impossible, but certainly one I didn't expect.

You may have noticed that I blog a bit about society, and what's gone wrong with it. In January I wrote about why women are bat-shit crazy and I openly called out Cosmopolitan Magazine for creating every woman's self-loathing. I also called out society in general, for giving us the impression that something is deathly wrong unless we all don't look like John Cena (for the guys) and Kelly Kelly (girls). Now I am not a fan of most Divas, but I did also write from a perspective on where some of it starts on another blog recently  where I went into detail on how some girls become Divas.

Generally however, I don't see any Diva-isms from strong, confident women. They may not be booked for television, but they seem pretty much immune to what makeup chair bullies have to say.

... Or so I thought.

WWE posted a new photo of Tamina Snuka, daughter of Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka and baby cousin of The Rock. Tamina is a good wrestler who really tries her best in the ring, but since most of her opponents are scrawny and talentless, she isn't able to show off her skills. (They don't let her wrestle Natalya.)

How does WWE handle this? Do they re-train or fire the other girls? Do they let her just wrestle the men? Oh no, that would actually make some kind of sense, wouldn't it?

Their solution? Make her look exactly like the rest of them:
Look closely. Enlarge the photo if you have to. Can you see it? They changed her nose and flattened her once gorgeous curls. WHYEEE??? Why was this done? She was adorable before, what the hell??

But this isn't the first time it's happened.
From 1999 to 2011 Trish Stratus has changed quite a bit. She never needed to. Not even once. But look closely. Her nose is a different shape. Her torso is super flat. Her arms are tiny. Why? She was magazine-ready the moment she debuted. Oh sure, we can blame the torso and arms on her yoga, but what happened to that nose? Again, she didn't need to change.

WWF/WWE have been pushing and pushing their roster to fit a certain look. Even the boss's daughter wasn't immune:
Oh COME ON that's just obscene now!!! REALLY MCMAHON??? It's not even natural.

More and more though, I'm seeing these girls come in, looking like little boys. I am not even joking here. If you took out Kelly Kelly's "assets" what are you left with?
Yeah look hard. I can't even make that up. That's the exact same arms, legs and torso as Bieber.

But the nose jobs bother me the most. All of them are harsh and pointy. It's like all of the done-over Divas are trying to have noses like.....
Um...... yeah. Let's ah... let's move on now.

But I can't place all of the blame on WWE. It goes further than that. Vince McMahon is just pandering to what he has been told is the "norm" for what guys are interested in. 

If you really want to find the root of the problem, you may have to go into what we 20-30 somethings all grew up with.

For as long as there have been greedy business people, there have been those creating and selling the stereotypes that NONE of us, male or female, are perfect, unless we change.

Dolls and TV shows that were pitched to girls, and had a message of "be yourself" and "love your own skin" such as Kenya, Shani and Imani dolls, were often times yoinked from stores and deemed by coalitions as "unpopular" or "boring". But dolls caked in makeup and scantly clad were deemed "safe". 

Even G.I. Joe, hyper-steroidal and loaded down with enough weaponry to blow up a small state, was deemed more boy-appropriate than self-assured Mighty Max, who was deemed "lame".

Think about it. Xena had a doll, there was a nation-wide conniption fit over her ~ even after they stapled her clothes on! (Why you would make a kid's toyline for an adult show I don't know, but anyway..) Yet unless Barbie got something pierced, tattooed or she said something COMPLETELY sexist, she could virtually fly right under the radar, and anybody trying to protest against her string bikini was labeled a nut.

TV shows are the same. Shows where the main character (such as Ugly Betty) is played by the average boy/girl next door type, are subject to long stretches of episodes where their looks are considered "an issue" and the shows themselves are cancelled early. While superficial shows with women who wear little, act slutty and have man-noses (Sex and the City) drag on forever.

Late at night, we all see the same dental commercials, telling us that the teeth were were born with are imperfect. They're not white enough, not thin enough, not strong enough, and we're all told we need braces and dental covers. We see ads in the magazines of deathly-thin models (both sexes) trying to sell us really ugly clothes. We have steroid powders and calf implants sold to guys left and right, and media telling women that they need to have cat-face surgery and boob jobs.

And yet we have people in psychiatry, wondering why each of us has a negative self-image, and all ask where it stems from. I point them in the direction of so-called wholesome, coalition approved television.

In the 1980's, Hasbro created a series with Toei Animation called Jem. The show was designed to pitch a doll line to little girls, but an even amount of boys and girls liked the show.

Parents did not.

The first issue most parents had was the supreme amount of corporate greed in the stories. In fact, most of the show is based on Jem trying to keep the ownership of her late father's company, out of the hands of a man named Eric, who openly states in the show that he wants it because he feels women are "too stupid" to handle day-to-day business on their own. He relies on his own band (all female BTW) to become popular enough to run Jem and her band (The Holograms) out of business.

The rival band's name? The Misfits. That was parental problem #2. Parents didn't take too kindly to the idea that if you don't 100% conform into what society wants, you're a misfit and therefor "evil". Not exactly a message of acceptance, is it?

Third issue? The look. Oh never mind the neon hair, moms and dads took issue with Jem's ever decreasing body weight and the amount of caked on makeup all of the girls were wearing. Let's face facts. It's hard to tell a caffeinated clown from the Holograms in most episodes. Parents didn't seem to like the idea that in order to be considered pretty, you have to augment how you look right now.

Yet despite parents' complaints, many parental coalitions have deemed this show "wholesome" enough to air in reruns on The Hub.

But on the flipside, some networks had a complex known as the "Madonna-Whore" syndrome. No no, not the signer. It's mroe along the lines of good vs. ... well I'd say good in another outfit, but others say "evil".

In the 1990's, ABC debuted a CGI cartoon, four years in the making, called ReBoot. The show focused on the daily lives and misadventures of computer sprites, living inside of a PC. The show ran off and on, but many episodes were dropped by region. It wasn't until Cartoon network picked it up several years later that the story truly began to unfold.

ABC's standards and practices constantly cracked down on the show, because of it's dark, defeatist and sometimes sexual undertones. The self-esteem of the characters seemed to be riddled with holes in each episode, there was the constant threat of a main character being killed, but by far the reason the series was almost cancelled for good, had to do with main heroine, Dot.

Dot is a fully grown woman, raising her little brother, Enzo. Dot runs a diner and is often caught in the same fights as the rest of the cast. In some episodes, she's so strong willed that she takes on an attitude. The censors didn't care about that. They cared that she's a woman. And ergo has "bewbs". 

To get around the bewb issue, Mainframe Entertainment animated her with monoboob or uniboob. Meaning that she only has ONE, nipple-less boob, right across the chest.

Keeping in mind that this was a Saturday morning program for small children, that doesn't sound too bad, except for one problem...

Hexadecimal.

Hexadecimal is a living virus and therefore is a villain. BUT Hexadecimal is also allowed a full figure body:
This is telling children that if you have a full figure and dress sexy, you are BAD, but if you dress head-to-toe in fashion that hides everything, and you do not have as curvy a figure, your are GOOD.

HAH??

In the late 1990's, the show was moved to Cartoon Network onto their Toonami block. Starting in season three, Dot was allowed to have two boobs instead of one. However she was also clad in leather, and her brother ends up with a sprite that wears clothing leaving nothing to the imagination:

Again, with the exception of a few episodes and season 3, while ABC's S&P threw a fit, ReBoot never crossed any coalition's "do not watch" list.

Most shows in the 90's dealing with teen or adult girls also perpetuated the stereotypes about makeup and physical augmentation.

One of the very few that warned against that was actually Sailormoon.
Outside of  three Laserdisc covers with the Starlight Senshi, one episode where Usagi worries over her weight and two where she's actually seen around makeup, you never actually see Sailor Moon or the other Senshi wearing much of it. Even in the manga, when the main characters do wear makeup, it's subtle. You see more skin than you do anything else. The show did a very good job of promoting the natural look.

Some changes did occur though. Toei pressured series creator Naoko Takeuchi to paint her blonde, to appeal to a Western audience. (Sailor Moon's natural hair color is pink.) Some of the drawings became very streamlined, but still, although her transformation phrase is "Moon Prism Power MAKE-UP!!" the most she actually puts on is nail-polish.

For as much ragging as I've done on the craptastical editing of the dub, DiC and Cloverway did a good job of leaving this alone. No added makeup was ever digitally painted in. The fabled Toon Makers version however would have piled it on:
Now I believe in taking responsibility for your actions, especially when it comes to something like this. There are people in the world that make the choice on their own to go under the knife, for no other reason than to try it for themselves. But isn't this enough?

We shouldn't have "entertainment" companies, pressuring their on-screen employees into making themselves look like Justin Bieber with Shawn Michaels's hair. A company shouldn't fire people based on looks, nor should we be buying into the notion that artificial, pointy man-noses are more attractive on a woman than the one she was born with.

I'm not saying we need to be slobs, Lord knows I've seen way too many Punishing Pete's in my life, and there is something to be said for taking good care of yourself, (going to the gym regularly, sleeping and daily bathing are a plus) but you shouldn't have to resort to surgery or heavy makeup to feel pretty/handsome.

So let's not make ourselves over. Let's make over society. It's time we dropped the idea of a "norm" all together.

1 comment:

  1. I never liked the Barbie doll, plastic look for human women. I prefer natural beauty- but with looks in general, you either you have it or you don't. And if you don't, you shouldn't be made to feel like a ninth-class citizen.

    But society has made it popular to trash and belittle those who don't conform to what is the idealized image. Society has condoned and bred bullying in general.

    The concept of forcing women to change their looks and behavior was the centerpoint of a great black comedy/horror novel by Ira Levin: The Stepford Wives. (Forget the two movie adaptations- they both screwed up the book big time). Unfortunately in the 40 years since the book was published, not much has changed.

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