Sunday, April 19, 2009

Beauty Is Talent; Talent, Beauty: Susan Boyle says, "You Have To Take Yourself Seriously"

UPDATED! below to address Rosie O'Donnell's dehumanizing comments.

Like so many people, I watched the YouTube clip of Susan Boyle’s singing performance (thanks, Imelda, for the link!). I thought she was fabulous: tremendously talented and very dignified as she refused to take any guff from the judges.

It’s the after-interviews that are troubling me. Miss Boyle has remained her dignified self through them, but I feel that some of the so-called compliments in these interviews are worse than the early insults.

Take the Early Show, for instance. The female interviewer remarked to Miss Boyle that before she sang, the crowd was “laughing at you, not taking you seriously.”

Did she expect Miss Boyle to agree, to say, “Yes, my physical presence renders me unworthy of respect”? Did she expect Miss Boyle to have no self-esteem, to gladly concur that her physicality deserved a mocking?

Miss Boyle silenced the interviewer by saying, “You have to take yourself seriously.”

Indeed.

What troubles me is that there’s a spoken assumption that Miss Boyle should have been short on confidence because of the way she looks. And the interviewers seem to want Miss Boyle to agree that she should have been initially deemed unworthy.

“You have to take yourself seriously,” she said. And I wish that the interviewers would stop trying to lower her self-esteem by planting ideas in her mind that she does not meet society’s (wildly unattainable) standards of beauty.

Susan Boyle takes herself seriously. Everyone else should too.

UPDATE: And now Rosie O'Donnell is using this event to applaud Simon Cowell. Boyle's performance, she says, "humanized" Cowell; he was able to demonstrate his humanity in appreciating both the performance and its singer.

The problem is that O'Donnell dehumanized Boyle to make her point, calling her a "freaky miss, a fat, ugly girl, like Shrek comes to life." Boyle is hardly monstrous, a Shrek-like ogre, but O'Donnell made her so to praise Cowell, as well as to "compliment" Boyle on her performance, in an utterly backhanded swipe.

8 comments:

K.Line said...

I take exception to the whole thing - it's so truly offensive. Ms. Boyle is very dignified in the face of being insulted for who she is (or is not) but I wonder why she would have subjected herself to such scrutiny in the first place. Just because she's "provincial" doesn't mean she's living under a rock. She must have know this would be the outcome. She's a phenomenal performer. I just hope that it isn't completely eclipsed by the hideousness of modern media attention.

Belle de Ville said...

I deplore the way that the entertainment and fashion media must make everyone homogenized by their appearance.
How refreshing to see a susan Boyle's talent stand out rather than her appearance.
Aside from her singing, she's plucky and I like that.

Imelda Matt - The Despotic Queen of Shoes said...

I'm disgusted that Rosie would call Susan "freaky miss, a fat, ugly girl, like Shrek comes to life." Rosie - POT..KETTLE...BLACK!

La Belette Rouge said...

I do wish ( and wow this is a "I want world peace" kind of wish) that moments like this would make people question their looksism. Jeeze, are Cowell and Rosey saying that only perfect people have talent? I think that is what they are saying. Shocking and yet not. Perhaps this will inspire a new show called "Ugly people can surprise you and have beauty".

desertwind said...

This "ugly" business is ugly, isn't it. Because... she's not ugly in any way.

And, what if she were?

She's really proved herself in more recent interviews: deflecting questions about her love life with "oh, that's personal. I don't have much time. Do you have any other questions?"; and revealing that she knows the nature of these kinds of shows & "you've just got to get on with it."

She's gonna be alright if Shark Simon treats her properly. (pray she gets a manager outside of his grinding, cynical machine.)

Rosie is an ass.

God knows what her interview with Oprah will be like... especially if she gets into her "make the subject cry" mode. Ugh. Showbiz.

*gemmifer* said...

Thanks for posting about this, Miss Cavendish!

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. How many people in the world would meet with Hollywood's and the media's beauty requirements? It's what's inside a person that's most important.

As has been shown by all of the coverage of Ms. Boyle's performance, beauty on the outside doesn't always mean beauty on the inside.

And I totally agree with Imelda Matt... Rosie ain't winning any beauty contests herself and should keep her piehole shut. How many shots have been made at her appearance over the years? I'm sure she can remember how those hurt her!

miss cavendish said...

Indeed: Rosie's comments are particularly insensitive because she has certainly been hurt by less harsh words. Remember when Donny Osmond called her fat? And she put him in a dog suit and had him serenade her with "Puppy Love"? She might do some apologetic singing for Miss Boyle . . .

Thumbelina Fashionista said...

I had to suppress a gaffaw when I read Rosie's comments. Imelda nailed it.

I'm also tired of hearing about the surprise from interviewers/judges/etc. What--only physically gorgeous people can sing?! How ridiculous!