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Susan Boyle

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Apr. 16th, 2009 | 07:33 pm
posted by: tree_spirits in kissmyassvogue




See her in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9lp0IWv8QZY (Really, go now. I'll wait.)


Is Susan Boyle ugly? Or are we? On Saturday night she stood on the stage in Britain's Got Talent; small and rather chubby, with a squashed face, unruly teeth and unkempt hair. She wore a gold lace dress, which made her look like a piece of pork sitting on a doily. Interviewed by Ant and Dec beforehand, she told them that she is unemployed, single, lives with a cat called Pebbles and has never been kissed. Susan then walked out to chatter, giggling, and a long and unpleasant wolf whistle.

Why are we so shocked when "ugly" women can do things, rather than sitting at home weeping and wishing they were somebody else? Men are allowed to be ugly and talented. Alan Sugar looks like a burst bag of flour. Gordon Ramsay has a dried-up riverbed for a face. Justin Lee Collins looks like Cousin It from The Addams Family. Graham Norton is a baboon in mascara. I could go on. But a woman has to have the bright, empty beauty of a toy - or get off the screen. We don't want to look at you. Except on the news, where you can weep because some awful personal tragedy has befallen you.

Simon Cowell, now buffed to the sheen of an ornamental pebble, asked this strange creature, this alien, how old she was. "I'm nearly 47," she said. Simon rolled his eyes until they threatened to roll out of his head, down the aisle and out into street. "But that's only one side of me," Susan added, and wiggled her hips. The camera cut to the other male judge, Piers Morgan, who winced. Didn't Susan know she was not supposed to be sexual? The audience's reaction was equally disgusting. They giggled with embarrassment, and when Susan said she wanted to be a professional singer, the camera spun to a young girl, who seemed to be at least half mascara.

She gave an "As if!" squeak and smirked. Amanda Holden, the female judge, a woman with improbably raised eyebrows and snail trails of Botox over her perfectly smooth face, chose neutrality. And then Susan sang. She stood with her feet apart, like a Scottish Edith Piaf, and very slowly began to sing Les Miserables' I Dreamed A Dream. It was wonderful.

The judges were astonished. They gasped, they gaped, they clapped. They looked almost ashamed. I was briefly worried that Simon might stab himself with a pencil, and mutter, "Et tu, Piers, for we have wronged Susan in thinking that because she is a munter, she is entirely useless." How could they have misjudged her, they gesticulated. But how could they not? No makeup? Bad teeth? Funny hair? Is she insane, this sad little Scottish spinster, beloved only of Pebbles the Cat?

When Susan had finished singing, and Piers had finished gasping, he said this. It was a comment of incredible spite. "When you stood there with that cheeky grin and said, 'I want to be like Elaine Paige', everyone was laughing at you. No one is laughing now." And it was over to Amanda Holden, a woman most notable for playing a psychotic hairdresser in the Manchester hair-extensions saga Cutting It. "I am so thrilled," said Amanda, "because I know that everybody was against you." "Everybody was against you," she said, as if Susan might have been hanged for her presumption. Why? Can't "ugly" people dream, you flat-packed, hair-ironed, over-plucked monstrous fool?

I know what you will say. You will say that Paul Potts, the fat opera singer with the equally squashed face who won Britain's Got Talent in 2007, had just as hard a time at his first audition. I looked it up on YouTube. He did not. "I wasn't expecting that," said Simon to Paul. "Neither was I," said Amanda. "You have an incredible voice," said Piers. And that was it. No laughter, or invitations to paranoia, or mocking wolf-whistles, or smirking, or derision.

We see this all the time in popular culture. Do you ever stare at the TV and wonder where the next generation of Judi Denchs and Juliet Stevensons have gone? Have they fallen down a Rada wormhole? Yes. They're not there, because they aren't pretty enough to get airtime. This lust for homogeneity in female beauty means that when someone who doesn't resemble a diagram in a plastic surgeon's office steps up to the microphone, people fall about and treat us to despicable sub-John Gielgud gestures of amazement.

Susan will probably win Britain's Got Talent. She will be the little munter that could sing, served up for the British public every Saturday night. Look! It's "ugly"! It sings! And I know that we think that this will make us better people. But Susan Boyle will be the freakish exception that makes the rule. By raising this Susan up, we will forgive ourselves for grinding every other Susan into the dust. It will be a very partial and poisoned redemption. Because Britain's Got Malice. Sing, Susan, sing - to an ugly crowd that doesn't deserve you.

source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/apr/16/britains-got-talent-susan-boyle

 

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Comments {9}

kostika

(no subject)

from: kostika
date: Apr. 17th, 2009 01:23 am (UTC)
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And Tanya Gold is a very ugly woman for writing that. She shows how ugly and judgemental she really is and is no defender of Susan Boyle.

I've seen Susan sing. I was surprised and amazed and totally in love. But I wasn't surprised because I thought Susan was ugly, just that that singing voice wasn't what I expected after hearing her speak. To assume that everyone thought her an ugly hog is callous and terrible.

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Billie

(no subject)

from: chiaradiluna
date: Apr. 17th, 2009 01:27 am (UTC)
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Ah, the good old halo effect.

It states that percibibly, we judge people these ways depending on their outer appearance:

percivably "attractive" = good
Percivably "ugly" = bad

The media doesn't surprise me though. People have always been this judgemental and shallow. This woman clearly has something that is special, but people would rather mock her.

What a shame.

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(no subject)

from: devi42
date: Apr. 17th, 2009 02:01 am (UTC)
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I'm not sure if I like the article (it actually seems as mean spirited as the women in the audience shots)

I do however, love the video. Thank you so much for posting (I actually cried).

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(no subject)

from: devi42
date: Apr. 17th, 2009 02:07 am (UTC)
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I hope you don't mind, but this was just too beautiful not to link to (gave you and the community credit, of course).

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BrandyC

(no subject)

from: brandyc
date: Apr. 17th, 2009 02:29 am (UTC)
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I thought the article was GREAT. It was perfect-absolutely right on.
Thank you.

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Billie

(no subject)

from: chiaradiluna
date: Apr. 17th, 2009 03:20 am (UTC)
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might I add that I LOVE everyone's nasty looks in the audience as she says she wants to be a professional singer, and then the amazement on everyone's faces when she blows them all out of the water.

HAHAHAHAHHAAH.

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Beehner

(no subject)

from: delitescent
date: Apr. 17th, 2009 09:35 am (UTC)
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I'm wary about programmes like this. Having seen how they are put together, and how they are edited, I couldn't be certain that the audience reactions were even from when Susan was actually on. The producers tend to pick isolated reactions from over the night which will go with the "story" they are creating. And while those girls could indeed have been reacting that way to Susan, it doesn't mean everyone else in the audience was, too.

That isn't to say that I believe this kind of attitude isn't prevalent in our society, just that I wouldn't trust the portrayal of it from this show and start condemning everyone in the audience for it.

I wouldn't trust the reactions of the judges, either. They are informed about each act well before they come on. They are part of the story being created, and are in on it. Simon Cowell especially has been in the business long enough to know that supposed physical beauty has no effect whatsoever on whether or not a person can sing. He is playing an act. They are trying to get the biggest reaction possible from the viewer, and the underdog story always works extremely well for that.

The whole thing is set up to make us have the exact reaction that has been spreading like wildfire over the internet.

Something about it all makes me incredibly sad, and I can't quite put my finger on why. I'm mostly sad for Susan Boyle, because I think they're using and manipulating her as much as anyone, under the guise of giving her her "big chance". I don't know. Something about it doesn't feel right.

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Caroline

(no subject)

from: miriyaayanne
date: Apr. 17th, 2009 10:37 am (UTC)
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I just think she's adorable :D

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iam_ketosis

(no subject)

from: iam_ketosis
date: Apr. 30th, 2009 04:09 pm (UTC)
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they milk it while they can, don't they?!

she's cute :3

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