Philosophically brunette

16 Jul

So, I rented “Legally Blonde” from netflix. That’s about the level of intelligence in movies I can deal with these days. Pretty brain-fried this summer. Movie-lite is the order of the day. Now, I realize every character in this movie is a caricature (hence why I won’t go into a rant about the stereotypical way they depicted gay men), but this Elle woman just puzzles the hell out of me.

I don’t get women like her. I mean, it’s one thing to be high-maintenance to the people around you, it’s another thing entirely to be high maintenance to yourself. When does she find time to study for her Harvard Law classes between shopping, doing her hair, nails, make-up, leg waxes, and every other thing she has to do to look the way she does?

I’ve never understood why some women spend so much time and money on that kind of stuff. I used to assume it was All About Attracting Men, and that they’d been brain-washed by our consumerist society into thinking they Had to do this, but that deep down in their heart of hearts, they didn’t want to. One reason I became a feminist in junior high school was so that I could rebel against this sort of slavery. I mean, I feel put out because, ever since I decided to grow my hair out long, I have to blow-dry my hair everyday. Some days, I just don’t wash my hair at all because I hate wasting 15 minutes with that damned blow-dryer.

Of course, as I grew older and wider in experience, I realized some women actually enjoy spending a sizeable chunk of their time getting facials and manicures and shopping for new shoes. And it really doesn’t have much to do with Getting A Guy, although apparently it doesn’t hurt in that regard, either. I think this lesson was really hit home for me when I started getting to know some drag queens. I mean, guys have it easy in the getting-ready-for-the-new-day department. Shit, shower and shave, throw on a pair of pants, and you’re out the door. This was always my ideal, except for the shaving part. Then I meet these men who seem to enjoy the whole business of getting trussed-up in complicated outfits and make-up and shoes.

People who actually wear high-heels by choice? I mean, it’s like voluntarily choosing foot-binding. “Gee, I want to make myself completely helpless if some deranged criminal started chasing me down the street.”

But, see, the truth is, I have always been one of those women born to wear sensible shoes, slacks that actually have back pockets (for pencils and billfolds), and just a smidge of mascara to bring out my eyes.

But back to Elle. I realize “Legally Blonde” isn’t a complete marshmallow movie. The idea here is “she can be [stereotyically] womanly and smart” (as if we all believed that was a contradiction in terms). And I know OnM and some of the other board guys were very Impressed by this movie and the actress who plays her. Different strokes.

For me, it’s fluff, because I need fluff, I can’t deal with too much seriousness this summer. So, bonus points to LB for keeping my head out of the murk.

But she loses mega-points for dissing Rachel Welch because she’s a brunette.

13 Responses to “Philosophically brunette”

  1. deevalish July 16, 2003 at 3:26 pm #

    Ahem…there are people who wrongly place me in the category of high maintenance. I’m really not. I do have my routines and there things that need to be done but it’s not stuff that would take up hours. I actually take less time to get ready than my boyfriend. People think we’re late because of me when it’s the opposite.
    In my old age (hah!) I’ve decided to do whatever pleases me. I dress and look the way I do for myself. To do so for anyone else is somehow not right. I did the whole “dressing for and with the herd” thing in high school and wsn’t too comfortable with it. Mostly because I was about a foot taller than most girls.What looked cute on this little tiny Asian girls who were about 5’ and 90 lbs. didn’t look so good on a 5’7” girl.
    I love high heels but I don’t own very many because they do hurt. Which is a shame, cause, hey, cute! High heels though are not that difficult to run in. I have done that. What is hard is dancing in them. Go figure.
    It’s funny that you make a note of pants with pockets because I purposely choose pants and skirts with no pockets. It prevents me from putting anything in them so that the “line” is not spoiled. I don’t even remove the basting stitches from pockets, if there are any, just so that I don’t use them. Gee, doesn’t that make me sound like a fashionista? That’s ok.. The way I look at it, that is just of the many sides of me. Yep, multi-facted, that’s me.
    I agree on the loss of points for the dissing of brunettes for obvious reasons.

  2. neshaffer July 16, 2003 at 3:43 pm #

    It drives me crazy how women’s clothes have so few pockets. I’m always trying to shove things in my back pockets and they’re never there.
    It’s not like I could wear much in the way of men’s clothes even though some of their stuff (esp sweaters) are nice–I actually have hips and a bust line and am forced into the petite-but-womanly department.
    But I need pockets, because I haven’t carried a purse since I was 14. I remember back then wondering how guys could get away with not carrying purses. They seemed like essential items. Where the heck did they keep their pens and pencils, erasers and calculators? Ah, they have pockets. (This was before the era of book-bags, of course, the uni-sex purse).
    So of course my “lines” are bulgy. I got my pleated pants with the front pockets full of loose change. If I have back pockets by some miricle, you might find my billfold in there. You know, if it’s warm and I don’t have my jacket which is full of pockets.

  3. yabyumpan July 16, 2003 at 3:50 pm #

    You’re right, we are twins :o)
    I’ve never understood why some women spend so much time and money on that kind of stuff. I used to assume it was All About Attracting Men, and that they’d been brain-washed by our consumerist society into thinking they Had to do this, but that deep down in their heart of hearts, they didn’t want to. One reason I became a feminist in junior high school was so that I could rebel against this sort of slavery.
    I’ve never got it either. For me it’s about being blessed with a mother who’s heroine’s were the Suffragettes and who, instead of discussing clothes/makeup/shopping/boys etc like my friends mothers, talked about politics and education and religious/moral/ethical stuff. She didn’t just encourage me(us) to think for ourselves, she insisted on it! I did do the ‘pretty girl’ thing until I was about 17, partly due to peer pressure but also I think as a way of rebelling, I loved to see the look of horror on her face when I dressed up and put makeup on! I also grew up in a house hold where there was no demarcation between what my Mum and Dad did. It was totally normal for me to see my Dad washing/cooking/ironing/cleaning etc (GayDads, everyone should have one) and to see my Mum mending something or rushing out the door to a meeting.
    I must admit at times I do resent it. On the rare occasions I look at ‘Women’s magazines’ or read ‘Girl’s books’ or watch a chick flic I do feel out of sorts with what it seems like most of the female population are like. It’s very rare that I come across a fictional female character that I can relate to (Faith is probably the closest to me in my younger days although I’ve never been so overtly sexual).
    And it really doesn’t have much to do with Getting A Guy, although apparently it doesn’t hurt in that regard, either.
    The whole ‘dressing up to get a guy’ thing’s really weird to me. Pretty much every guy I’ve been out with has been a friend before hand. I know that they were with me because of who I am not because of how I look. I can’t imagine the pressure it must be to feel you have to ‘look good’ to get a man and keep him. I’ve never really seen the point and the times I’ve spent ‘without a man’ have been through choice not because I don’t dress up and look pretty.
    Interesting how far we’ve come and how many miles we’ve got to go ;o)

  4. neshaffer July 16, 2003 at 4:02 pm #

    Re: You’re right, we are twins :o)
    I also grew up in a house hold where there was no demarcation between what my Mum and Dad did. It was totally normal for me to see my Dad washing/cooking/ironing/cleaning etc (GayDads, everyone should have one) and to see my Mum mending something or rushing out the door to a meeting.
    This is how it was in my house, only I called Dad “the house-husband”. When I was about eight, Mom ditched the house-wife routine to go to law school and at that point both parents did work both inside and outside the home. Dad was actually much better at cooking and house work than Mom because my Mom was actually rebellious against the whole idea of housework while Dad is finicky about things being clean (plus he was a cook in the National Guard).
    Mom and Dad are reversed-stereotyped when it comes to personality traits, too. My mom is rather bossy and take-charge while my dad is more retiring and somewhat manipulative.
    Looking back in retrospect, I come from a long line (on my mother’s side) of women who are intelligent and critical thinkers and can’t really be bothered worrying too much about their appearance or the appearance of their homes. Not that we’re slobs or anything. Just never bought the whole Home-and-Gardens/Fashion magazine approach to the world. Who has the time?

  5. rahael July 16, 2003 at 4:44 pm #

    This is going to be a long reply!
    Actually I was thinking about this, because there’s this ad that’s running on British tv where a girl is chased by her friends, held down and forced to have a bikini wax. Wow, that made me furious and determined never to ever use any product by that company.
    But I do spend quite a bit of time on my appearance. I’ve never had a facial, or a manicure, I chew my nails and wear things that don’t flatter my figure simply because I think it’s an interesting look. But my attention to my appearance is a very conscious decision.
    There was a time when I didn’t pay much attention to my appearance, which roughly coincided with the years that were my most miserable – when I first came to London. I wore anything my father or my aunt gave me, or saved up my £5 weekly bus money to spend on second hand clothes (mostly mens shirts and cord trousers). I wore NHS specs (really, really ugly ones. I also used to cut my own hair. I don’t think I ever felt any pride in who I was, or paid any attention to myself. I also skipped school/college, drank a lot, and went to lots of parties where I did things I didn’t really want to do and felt crappy about.
    Actually, paying attention to my appearance was round the time when I really started being more comfortable with myself, but also more alone in terms of romantic relationships. I can’t explain why, but it helped me keep a distance from the world. It kind of asserted my pride, my arrogance, my detachment. No more days of backboneless peer pressure, trying to make myself fit into what I thought my peers regarded as normal. If I can’t belong, then I’ll belong to myself.
    There’s also a sense in which my early experience in England really traumatised me, (on top of everything else, too!). I was really really poor for the first time. I didn’t have a grandmother or a mother taking me to dressmakers and having cute dresses made for me. No one checked whether I had clean clothes. No one made sure that my clothes fitted, or were untorn. Not only was I poor, but I was an immigrant, someone whose status was uncertain. There was a lot of shame bound up in it. But I don’t want to be self effacing any more.
    People tend to pity me, in a “I’m glad I’m not her” kind of way. I like to give them as little reason to think this as possible. Plus you know, a person like me needs as much frivolity in my life as possible.
    Oh, and as for comfort? If I were still back home, I’d be wearing saris in the swealtering heat day after day (trousers are unladylike). So I count my blessings!

  6. neshaffer July 16, 2003 at 6:03 pm #

    Re: This is going to be a long reply!
    I think it’s a matter of personal preference–in clothes, in the time a person wants to spend putting effort into their appearance. I think I take an adequate amount of time on my appearance, but I simply don’t enjoy fussing. I hate shopping. I’d rather spend my morning fussing over a chapter of my novel than my hair or my clothes.
    I’ve never like wearing dresses or much make-up. Nice slacks and a blouse is more my style.
    So I guess the issue for me is the amount of time and the degree of effort some women go to, where it becomes a life-style, and not just a desire to put your best face forward.

  7. deevalish July 17, 2003 at 8:36 am #

    On another side note Masq, didn’t you have a wish list over at Amazon? I was just, you know, wondering.

  8. neshaffer July 17, 2003 at 8:56 am #

    Sure, you can see all the TV DVDs I want and can’t afford!
    PS: I’m getting ready to start watching my Season 3 QAF tapes. When I’m done, you can borrow them!

  9. buffyannotater July 17, 2003 at 11:18 am #

    You ever want to see Reese Witherspoon…
    …in something a bit more meaningful, I’d recommend you check out Election and Freeway, both of them very different but similarly darkly satirical and cynical. Although I enjoyed her in the Legally Blonde films as more fluffy performances, I think you’d probably more see why OnM, myself, and others are so entranced by her. Of course, if you’re in the market for just fluff at the moment (and that’s perfectly okay, dammit! ;o) ), may not be the best time for these movies. But someday, give them a look!

  10. neshaffer July 17, 2003 at 11:28 am #

    Fluff mode
    Oh yeah, I’m in fluff mode. I was going to do a Vincent Kartheiser-a-thon this summer, but all his movies are so dark, I haven’t been able to get myself to rent them.
    Well, except “All I Wanna Do”, which is really more part of my current Kirsten Dunst-a-thon (I finally saw “Bring it On”, and I also saw “The Virgin Suicides”, both on cable while in AZ. The latter movie was depressing!) “AIWD” supposedly has a Vinnie cameo in it. Another Kirsten/Vinnie movie which I rented and returned unwatched is “Lucky Town”–again, depressing!)
    It’s almost too weird for me to see AtS/BtVS stars in other movies/TV shows. I liked Eliza when she first showed up in the movie BIO because she was in tough-girl mode. The minute she put on that cheerleading outfit (no offense) my brain kind of did flip-flops. She’ll always be Faith to me….

  11. buffyannotater July 17, 2003 at 12:12 pm #

    Re: Fluff mode
    Vincent K was also GREAT in “Crime and Punishment in Suburbia,” which is the first thing I’d seen him in (thus my enormous excitement when I recognized him on AtS), but again, it’s a pretty dark, depressing movie. But worth it, when you’re out of fluff-mode. ;o)
    And hey, yeah, ED was in a cheerleader outfit, but I still love the movie, because she’s so hot…and I liked her transformation from “what the hell am I doing here?” to kind of enjoying herself, despite herself, but still with her regular ‘tude. Okay, she was a bit nicer than Faith in that film. Recently, I saw “Wrong Turn.” She was kick-ass in that, but it was so gory and gruesome, I was nauseous through almost the whole film. Something about being lost in the woods, surrounded by cannibals with weapons made out of barbed wire scared the hell out of me. It was a great horror movie, in that it scared the crap out of me, but I would never see it again.

  12. neshaffer July 17, 2003 at 12:23 pm #

    Re: Fluff mode
    I have all of Vinnie’s movies, including “Crime and Punishmen” in my netflix queue. I just have to get out of fluff-mode, which isn’t looking to be any time soon! : )
    The only other AtS/BtVS actor I’ve Ever seen in anything other than AtS/BtVS is Alexis Denisof in an episode of Highlander, and Anthony Stewart Head in a different episode of Highlander and Julie Benz in Roswell (I have really, truly never seen any of the movies with SMG, Seth Green, Alyson Hannigan, or David B. in them!)

  13. buffyannotater July 17, 2003 at 12:29 pm #

    ME Actors in Movies
    SMG–Some time, rent “Cruel Intentions.” SMG gives quite the jaw-dropping performance. Not a trace of Buffy at all, which is really impressive. None of her other movies are really worth your time.
    Ally–Her performance in the 2 “American Pie” movies is definitely worth seeing, particularly because she takes a broad parody of a Willow-like character (but with none of the depth) and totally turns it on its head near the end with a surprise twist that makes it one of the best dumb-comedy movie perfromances ever, I think.
    You can skip all of Seth Green and David Boreanaz’s films, and still be able to live with yourself. Turst me. ;o)

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