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|Written by Frederick Hidell|
|Tuesday, 03 February 2009 08:06|
The biggest problem with the CW’s remake of the seminal ‘90s teen hit Beverly Hills 90210 isn’t uninspired writing or poor direction (the original show got along just fine with both for over a decade). It is, rather, the unremarkable nature of the series’ cast, and in particular, the leading actresses indistinguishable appearances. Their similarity is so striking that I actually had difficulty following the narrative of the pilot episode because I was totally unable to distinguish the female characters from one another.
Unlike Blucas and Fillion, the girls of 90210 don’t necessarily share hair colour and facial features. What they do share are rail-thin bodies. Us Weekly recently suggested the combined weight of 90210 lead actresses Jessica Stroup and Shenae Grimes totals less than 200 pounds.
Approaching the issue from a purely aesthetic perspective (ignoring arguments concerning health risks or the ‘influence’ images of skinny women may have on young girls), 90210 is endemic of a Hollywood-wide move towards the homogenization of female beauty.
These 90210 starlets have surgically removed and dieted away any and all distinguishing features to the point where the casual viewer can no longer tell them apart. In their quest for perfection an entire generation of young
In an interview, goth rocker Marilyn Manson was once asked what he considers beautiful, and his response, “A crooked tooth, a broken nail,” (while hardly enacted in his actual choice of partner at the time, Rose McGowan) spoke to a specific need for a distinct deviation from the norm that captivating beauty absolutely requires.
Today’s actresses have taken sandpaper to the rough edges that made them unique and visually interesting individuals. One of the few female breakout stars in recent years, Tina Fey, has a large scar across her cheek, but you will find no such scar on any number of up-and-comers, like say, Meagan Fox, whose recent Maxim cover rendered her unrecognizable as the young star of Transformers.
Incidentally, gossip experts suggest Fox’s breast implants took her from an A cup to a B cup. Long gone are they days when actresses got boob jobs so that they could have massive Pamela Anderson-style DD jugs. Today, actresses like Fox get implants because, in their emaciated state, they otherwise wouldn’t have any tits at all.
The problem with all these actresses looking like concentration camp victims is that concentration camp victims all look exactly the same. Starve any two people long enough and they will start to look more and more alike. In order for an audience to empathize with a character, they need to be able to recognize that character and distinguish her from the other supporting cast filling the screen.
Perfection doesn’t make a character or an actress unique. It is our flaws that define who we are. The future of beauty on television and movie screens cannot be 90-pounds waifs who all look identical because beauty stops being beauty when it looks the exact same as everything else.
Art by Nina Charest and Véronique Emmell