Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Maybe being 'It' ..... isn't


“A sex symbol is a heavy load to carry when one is tired, hurt and bewildered,” Bow wrote once."

Can I get a freakin' WITNESS.

Not that I'm a sex symbol. Only a woman -- once having to try to meet expectations of all-things-to-all-guys-cotton-candy-instant-gratification-please-the-man-file-yer-nails-do-yer-hair-yadda-yadda, because men are visual, and like 'em young, and ....

... And deciding that, after all, it's a GIGANTIC WASTE OF TIME.

I truly do worry about humanity, sometimes. I mean, if all guys measure forward progression by is the availability of Babes ... ?


Charles Henry said...

The writer of that article gets a few facts wrong about Bow's film career. For one thing, she was a star before "It", in fact it was because she was a star that she was cast in "It" in the first place; that film was a big deal at the time, and wouldn't have been given to an unknown actress.

And many of these supposed "sexcapades" were made-up tabloid trash to sell newspapers.

Petty complaints, I suppose, but I can't help rising to her defense... I went through a big crush on Clara Bow when I was younger, saw many of her films (in a theater, he adds proudly)... she was beautiful, but not so much as a sex object, to me it was a beauty through happiness, if that makes sense; she just seemed so happy to be alive. You would see her on screen, and just smile at the sight of her, it was that infectuous. (or so it was for me..!)

It was a monumental shock to read her biography, and learn about fatherly abuse and the other painful trials she had to live through.

Her quote about being a sex object should probably be taken in a context weighted with the rather callous way that many Hollywood higher-ups tended to treat actresses in those days. Paramount treated her with little more than contempt, mostly because she was a woman.

I think it's true that men are naturally visually-oriented, far more so than women, but I hope you will believe me when I suggest that not all of us only value youthful looks and physical appearance... it is a natural tendency that we are supposed to wean ourselves away from, with age and maturity. Doing a quick mental survey, I can honestly say that my male friends who are married are like me, in that we married because we wanted families as much as we wanted a wife; we thought about what kind of mother our wife would become, looking for additional qualities much removed from mere personal appearance.

Without more good role models to learn from, I agree with you: current generations of males will never approach the more gentlemanly standards of behavior expected in earlier times. That's a serious problem.

Eowyn said...

Truly, Charles Henry, my frustration is with maturity, rather than sexuality.

As you correctly point out, humans must master their basic instincts in order to progress. With men, it's the basic attraction; with women, it's the guarantee of material security.

I appreciate your pointing out discrepancies in Clara Bow's biography. Like you, I'm a fan of her as well :)

"Her quote about being a sex object should probably be taken in a context weighted with the rather callous way that many Hollywood higher-ups tended to treat actresses in those days." Just so. And well into the 1970s, in fact.

It does seem to me that one of humanity's biggest obstacles to moving up is the willingness to resort to primitive drives, rather than THINK ... and, seeing today's popular culture, one does have to sigh. I would have hoped that the mentality surrounding Clara Bow's fame would have changed by now.

Charles Henry said...

She was one of the first movie celebrities who became a movie celebrity because she wanted to become a movie celebrity.

Before the 1920s, actresses like Gloria Swanson, Lilian Gish and Mary Pickford were children "discovered" by some movie impressario and drafted into a career in film. Children like Clara grew up watching these stars during and immediately after World War I, and decided that this is what they wanted to be when they grew up: a "famous" movie star... and that had not really happened before, there was no real precedents to prepare or learn from. Movie star fame was an immeasurably more personal connection between fan and star than theatrical fame had ever been. I think she discovered too late that she had made a rather regrettable trade-off: fame and success in exchange for personal happiness.

That's probably why she devoted as much time as she did later to being a Big Sister for the later "sex goddesses" like Jean Harlow and Marilyn Monroe, when she sensed they were heading for the same pain that she went through.

It seems so often the case that someone has to go first and make mistakes, go the wrong route.. then the person coming along afterwards can, if they're observant enough, learn from this experience. This is what is really broken today, I feel, in that bad choices are being masked as good choices, terrible consequences are being dismissed as irrelevant consequences, and a host of other lies are blanketing truths. How will the next person coming around the corner learn, if they're being told an accident is in fact the rendezvous...

I guess that's always been the case (after all, Harlow and Monroe pretty much ignored Clara's advice); maybe it just feels more common today than ever before.

It seems that the value in learning from experience is something we have to keep re-learning from experience..!