Gaby Hoffman has something very important to say — about body hair.
In an interview with the New York Observer, the "Crystal Fairy" star sounded off on the frustrating expectations people have about how Hollywood actresses should look:
People are obsessed with actresses being hairless, fatless Barbie dolls. They can’t imagine that people would want to be anything other than that. When they are, it’s looked at as almost a political statement. Look at Lena Dunham. She is a gorgeous woman and people can’t stop talking about how brave she is to show herself naked, which I find totally condescending and ridiculous. If Angelina Jolie was naked onscreen no one would say she was brave. The implication is that Lena’s brave because she doesn’t look the way she’s supposed to look. I think that’s a shame.
Well said, Ms. Hoffman. There’s a reason we’ve loved you since "Now And Then."
Doesn’t really matter where you stand on the subject of Lena Dunham specifically, because Hoffman has a point.
If a conventionally lovely woman poses nude on the screen or in a magazine, no one bats an eyelash at it. She’s kind of shrugged off and people move on. She’s seen as an unremarkable dime-a-dozen.
But if a woman who is not conventionally lovely poses nude, she’s generally viewed as being courageous, bold, refreshing, and awesome.
However, this is where it falls apart.
Many will be VERY quick to point out that slim pretty women are still “real women” when propped up next to a woman who is not as slim or as pretty as per the requirement of current trends — and that’s true. They are still real women. No one said they weren’t, or even implied it. The difference between “real” vs. “unreal” seems to stem from the comparison of those women who are Hollywood starlets and those who are not.
One of these is “living a dream,” and the other is putting up with the rent, a crappy job, and jury duty.
After all, the rest of us down here are, in essence, peasants. We have a better chance of mingling and meeting among ourselves than running into, say, Taylor Swift, Catherine Zeta-Jones, or the aforementioned Angelina Jolie.
Real vs. unreal.
It’s less about whether or not something actually exists or is valid, and more about accessibility.
But having said this, I AM going to mention something I’ve harbored suspicions about for a while.
Whenever someone brings up that skinny pretty women are “real women,” too, they seem to do so more out of spite than out of a desire to contribute to the conversation being had. It’s an extraordinarily fine line.
I’m not one for getting into the whole fat vs. skinny debacle, because I have better things to do with my time, but I am going to say this.
Yes, skinny women are real. Pretty women are real. Attractive women are real.
So are fat women, curvy women, big women, and strong women.
We’re all frigging real.
We all have hearts, we all have dreams, we all have strengths, we all have insecurities.
We’re not as different underneath as we appear on the surface.
But of these — as far as society is concerned — one set is viewed as acceptable, desirable, and normal, and the other is viewed as unusual, unhealthy, and unwanted.
I belong to the latter of these, and I would be lying if I said I have not struggled to come to terms with myself on account of how media suggested it was wrong to be the way I was — or that I sometimes fail to see why slender people complain about how they look.
Nonetheless, it’s not something I’m going to wallow in self-pity over, and it is DEFINITELY not something that will rule my life.
But my recommendation is this.
If you, for any reason, find yourself in a position to remind others that a woman — regardless of her body — is real, do us all a favor.
Speak with grace, and speak with compassion.
No matter which side you speak for, be gentle.
Because you have no way of knowing who will see your words.
It’s bad enough we’re so often bombarded by the hairless fatless Barbies churned out for us by the mainstream as Hoffman said.
We don’t need to compound the issue with our own viciousness.