The dumbing down of beauty

It's a depressing world, we live in. The new series of Britain's Next Top Model is imminent, but with the catchy tagline 'It takes one to find one' and has subsequently got an actual supermodel, Elle MacPherson, to host. No, I don't know how either. 
All the same, I'm not expecting much. To date, BNTM's most famous export is still Abbey Clancy, the Northern, blonde, leggy WAG-in-waiting. I despair. 
And it doesn't end there. As World Cup Season dawns, and the assault on the tabloids of the new generation re-launched smarter WAGs (let's face it, they're still all just slappers with better hair extensions), it has come to my attention even more that this modern world is at a loss for decent role models. Or rather, for variety in role models. By and large, the British public votes Cheryl Cole as Best Dressed/Sexiest Woman and is verbally abusive about Agyness Deyn. God knows what they're saying about my beloved Freja. 
Yup, no-one's interested in alternative beauty these days. Just glance at LivingTV, which tonight showed the season finale of Australia's Next Top Model, which has turned into an even greater farce by allowing the public to vote for their favourite. Is this a farce? Is the modelling world and the world of fashion being dumbed down like the music industry before it, or is this a canny move by the advertisers and designers as they are aware that the public will buy a magazine or a dress from a girl they voted for? We'll never know. All we will know is that the public, predictably, love a cutesy kid with a story. Demelza, the winner, is 16. Cue huge waving paychecks, adoring public rooting for the surf-chick underdog. She looks like Bambi and Mischa Barton mixed together with a hint of Amanda Seyfried. She's so cute it makes me gag. Terry Richardson must be fitting. 
The runner-up was the less youthful, more 'edgy' (as opposed to Demelza's looks, which to paraphrase one of the judges are the girl-next-door looks everyone wants) Alex. 
Here she is, out of her logical, cliche-assigned comfort zone in a cutesy dress. But this picture actually fittingly sums up the dilemma facing the female face today. Beauty has never been more diverse; as the world is brought together by travel, and by the media, there are more role models out there than ever before. But still, the vast majority of us desire to look cute, to look a certain way, believing that this hair colour will make us popular, this skintone will make us sexier, this figure will make us employable. Like Alex, everyone must wear this pink dress. It's just not all of us look good in it. If fashion is now more diverse than ever, why are the doors of high fashion left so smally ajar that only the age-old stereotypes with bigger designer labels are able to escape?

1 comment:

  1. I think I know which cute surfie chick you're on about - although I agree with you completely, I think that another factor in her winning is that she has a very 'true blue Aussie' look about her - some of the willowy, more 'English Rose' types in that series would have appealed less to the voter demographic of (i'm guessing) mostly Sydneysiders and Brisbane folk, ie. people who go to Bondi Beach or live on the Gold Coast.


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