March 22, 2010 § 6 Comments
Hands up if you like your heroines with warty noses, cottage cheese thighs and lank, oily hair? Yeah, me neither. My inner feminist may rail against this, but I’d say that typically, one of the most highly sought after characteristics in a heroine in any mode of fiction is physical beauty. It’s a brave thing indeed when an author/filmmaker sets out to disparage this idealistic and somewhat naive way of representing a strong woman, but traditionally those author’s stories end with the redemptive make-over scene or the overall agreement that she was in fact pretty, she just didn’t realise it.
At the end of ‘Penelope’, our heroine’s pig nose is charmed back to a human one, and the moral of the tale becomes not that it doesn’t matter what one looks like on the outside, but that if you’re kind enough, sweet enough, and manage to have someone love you despite your looks, then you will be magically transformed into a beautiful person on the outside. Bridget Jones’ was apparently ‘unattractive’ according to her own self-effacement but really she was quite beautiful on the outside all along, it just took a handsome Mr. Darcy knockoff to show her. Even ‘Ugly Betty’ isn’t ugly, underneath those glasses, braces, curtain like wardrobe and flat hair is America Ferrara, and that in itself holds redemptive qualities.