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By Titania on Lionel Shriver on obesity and the surplus of attractive characters in fiction: "The solution is to get a grip and put human beauty in perspective"

"Beauty also gives characters a power to ply, which can come in handy in explaining motivation (say, why another character would give this perfect stranger a ride home) or advancing the plot. Would Sam Spade have taken on the dodgy case of the sultry “Miss Wonderly” in The Maltese Falcon if she weighed 300 pounds?"

I think this gets at, in a practical sense, why so many of our fictional characters are beautiful--because it allows for a more simplistic narrative, in addition to indulging our collective fascination with beautiful people. Which is not to say that fat or unattractive people don't live exciting and varied lives, but as a writer it's got to be simpler to send a supermodel-lookalike into a scene if you want your character to get whisked away on a private jet to Europe rather than building out layers of character and charm and sex appeal that would justify it another way.

Posted on August 12, 2013 at 1:18 pm 4

By pollypeachum on Lionel Shriver on obesity and the surplus of attractive characters in fiction: "The solution is to get a grip and put human beauty in perspective"

@themegnapkin "Not Having To Stress About Grades: The Natural Beautifier"

Posted on August 12, 2013 at 12:43 pm 7

By queenofbithynia on Lionel Shriver on obesity and the surplus of attractive characters in fiction: "The solution is to get a grip and put human beauty in perspective"

The conclusion: "Besides, as I get older, I grow less involved with feeling beautiful than with finding beauty. I am happy to inhabit the eye of the beholder. I spot a young woman strolling down Broadway, smooth, lithe, bronzed from the summer sun, clad simply in a skirt that suits her, and I want to call out, “You will never look better than you do right now!”"

Chilling! Except is this intentionally chilling? this is really I think what a (if not this) whole essay should be about: how much of the vaunted "confidence" of female middle age is about arrogating to oneself the postures that men take with regard to young women and trying them on as a new and infinitely satisfying form of role-play. You hit adolescence and you're a piece of visual culture to be assessed, but it's ok because you just have to wait and wait and wait for twenty, thirty, forty years, and suddenly you're free, you fall off the stage and you get to be a heckler instead of a performer. You get to tell the new batch of beautiful objects how they rank and how well they please you, you get to be amused and detached because since because you no longer have the power to please, you're finally allowed to rank them on how well they please you. You are finally, as a woman, equal to a man, because just like men, you can be a consumer of the public spectacle that is young womanhood.

I completely can't tell if Lionel Shriver is underlining this because she understands how monstrously gross it is or if she's just trying to write a wry closing line, though.

also: the older I get, the more good-looking and the less attractive I become. the thing she says about beauty needing/requiring an audience is more or less true, too, so it's unsettling as it feels not quite real. not unpleasant, though.

Posted on August 12, 2013 at 12:06 pm 26

By harebell on 10 Scariest Excerpts from "The Opt-Out Generation Wants Back In"

@tactfactory
I feel like I'm with one. We don't have children, but we do periodically live for extended (1-2 month) periods with his semi-elderly mother, who has a physical disability and some aphasia and dementia, so while not the same, there is a similar sort of relationship-testing. He does more cleaning than I do and is super-consistent about caring for his mom (even when the dementia makes her behave in quite angry/aggressive ways unlike her previous normal self). There are good guys out there!

(To state the obvious) it helps if they've lived on their own for extended periods & done their own cooking/cleaning.

Posted on August 8, 2013 at 3:21 am 1

By chevyvan on Danielle Steel on being asked if she's "still" writing: "I think it is something that only men do to only women, and not just to me"

@Alli525 Still - would anyone ask Stephen King if he's still writing? He could live off his royalties for sure.

Posted on August 7, 2013 at 12:24 pm 5

By commanderbanana on "I don’t want her to wear her good nature like a gemstone, her body like an ornament"

I thought this a great blog post - Gavin de Becker's Protecting the Gift makes some really great points about passivity and being taught to be 'nice' and 'respectful.' One of his very valid points is that society expects children, especially girls, to be nice and polite and respectful to adults, and then blames them when predators victimize them for not speaking up or standing up for themselves.
I don't think Catherine is teaching her daughter to be rude so much as her daughter has an introverted and assertive personality and she's not trying to shove her into something else.

Introverts, unite...in separate rooms.

Posted on August 5, 2013 at 12:53 pm 13

By franceschances on Sex and the Dystopia

I think my favorite thing about SATC, and the reason I will always defend it, is just how ANGRY it makes men that a woman they deem unfuckable was the star of a show. There's a certain kind of man who just cannot help himself from shouting "HORSEFACE" when Sarah Jessica Parker is mentioned. It makes them so angry that no one consulted their penis! How dare it be ignored? And for ignoring these dicks, I will always love SATC.

Posted on July 23, 2013 at 2:28 pm 53

By Judith Slutler on Manly Me

@harebell I would definitely say (as a young woman in a field where the generation before me has battered the shit out of the glass ceilings, but mine is also still fighting)... don't be afraid to plant that seed. Even if you have to cloak it in anecdotes about the "bad old days" or pointing out that those things in novels are hard to understand if you've never been there, but that at the time the novels were written, it was extremely important for authors to write them down.

I got myself into an internship where my concerns and the concerns of my female supervisor literally were not addressed until I CRIED about them. Plus, I caught a senior partner yelling at our cleaning lady in that "you will understand this foreign language better if I scream at you" type of way, calmly called him out on it, and got ignored by him for a week. And suddenly a lightbulb went off in my head - "oh that's what my professor was trying to say when she talked about entrenched power structures and used a powerpoint of famous white male architects Making Decisions as her visual aid." I didn't opt to renew my contract at that internship.

Posted on July 19, 2013 at 8:17 am 6

By Betsy Murgatroyd on The Evolution of Playgirl: Reviewing Three Decades of Covers

How do you not know about Simon and Simon? I had such a huge crush on Jameson Parker and then recently there is this: http://video.adultswim.com/the-greatest-event-in-television-history/ It is great.

Posted on July 9, 2013 at 4:01 pm 2

By Inkling on Just Your Average Barbie

@Citizen Christy
"Who wants to play with a short, stubby Barbie?" uh idk anyone who's not currently using her as a sword or polearm?

Posted on July 3, 2013 at 11:07 am 23