Today in And This Is Why We Still Need Feminism news, the New York Post is reporting on an interesting casting call from Disney. Disney, as in the Hannah Montana, Jonas Brothers, High School Musical Disney in which we only see clean cut teens who never smoke, cuss or Do It.
Disney is apparently looking for some lassies for the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean movie. According to the post, the casting call reads:
beautiful female fit models. Must be 5ft7in-5ft8in, size 4 or 6, no bigger or smaller. Age 18-25. Must have a lean dancer body. Must have real breasts. Do not submit if you have implants.
Some publications are focusing on the breast issue and applauding them for only using women with real breasts. The UK Times Online reports that the reasoning behind it is implants "move less freely than the real thing during action sequences." To prove the authenticity, there will be a “show and tell” day with costume designers where potential actresses will be expected to run (topless??)
This is more than a little creepy to me. The irony is not lost on me that I am in the middle of reading The Beauty Myth where Naomi Wolf looks at the ways in which a beauty standard was socially constructed and how it has harmed women.
The fact that beauty in our culture is seen as size 4-6, age 18-25, with real, large breasts is saddening. The fact that this is coming from DISNEY who primarily advertises to children is even more heartbreaking.
Keira Knightly, who is almost more famous for her "small boobs" than for her acting ability (shame because I honestly think she's a good actress) has been in the last few Pirate movies and says filmmakers "literally painted in my cleavage."
It took about 45 minutes every day for makeup artists to add shade and volume, and it looked fantastic until it got too hot shooting.
She also wore bodices that made it literally hard to breathe.
She tried alternatives such as a bodice which shrunk her waist to 18 inches. It gave her a tremendous cleavage by squeezing her breasts 'up and out' but also left her with only enough oxygen to breathe for 10 minutes:'after that I started passing out.'”
There is something wrong with this picture, not just this casting call, but the overall picture of how women are judged and what determines beauty. If you go around asking people who are close to you, people you respect and generally have good values, you hear how important "inside" beauty is. We all know a pretty girl can be "ugly" if she's dumb and mean to people. But yet people still keep going to see Megan Fox's movies*. The message we're hearing doesn't match the message we're consuming. And I don't think I feel this way because I'm 26 (close to death in Hollywood years. Until you reach "Cougar" age that is) or that I have small breasts or don't otherwise fit the Hollywood beauty ideal.
Unfortunately, it's not just Hollywood. It's EVERYWHERE. And, based on this book I'm reading, there's actually politics behind the "beauty standard" or as Wolf refers to it, the "beauty myth." That probably sounds boring to most people, but to me it's fascinating, and I'm sure you can expect a lengthy blog post when I finish reading this book. I know you will all be waiting on the edge of your seats. :)
*I don't have anything against Megan Fox. I don't think she's mean or dumb, though I've read "reports" (gossip) of that nature. I just don't think she's a particularly good actress, and I used her as an example to illustrate the point that people will often go see movies if they have a "hot chick" regardless of the quality of the movie. And, you'd be hard pressed to find a movie that stars a woman who isn't considered beautiful by Hollywood standards unless you consider movies like Miss Congeniality, She's All That or Shallow Hal in which a beautiful woman plays an ugly woman who is really a beautiful woman, and just doesn't know it yet. And yes, I realize that the character in Shallow Hal is REALLY fat in the end, but the actress who plays her is REALLY not.