Society's preoccupation with beauty puts extra pressure on young people who are already busy trying to build a good career and enjoy life. Society says we have to be beautiful and slim if we want to be happy and successful. But do we? Does a pretty face and a good-looking body make you a better person? Better at your job? More important than someone who got hit with the ugly stick at birth and could afford to lose some weight? A hit TV show is certainly questioning our obsession with beauty. Ugly Betty, an American sitcom, is generating plenty of buzz with viewers around the world, not only because it is smart, funny, and easy for viewers to identify with, but also because it highlights the problems with society's obsession with beauty, all in an easy to digest and amusing TV show.
Betty Suarez (America Ferrera), the star of the show, has just graduated from college and is looking for a job. With good qualifications and references, intelligence, a warm personality, and low expectations, she should easily be able to find a good position in her chosen industry - magazine publishing. But after knocking on every door, she still can't find a job. When she finally lands a job interview at Mode - the most important fashion magazine in the country, she is practically thrown out because her appearance doesn't cut it. However, through a unique turn of events, she is eventually hired by owner Bradford Meade to be his son's assistant, purely due to the fact that she is unattractive - Bradford Meade knows his son certainly won't make any moves on her, so he might finally get some work done.
Betty suffers all of the usual problems many of us suffer when starting a new job - working out how to fit in with her co-workers, trying to dress appropriately, and trying to make some new friends. However Betty's situation is exacerbated by the fact that almost all of her coworkers only care about appearances. With Betty's poor dress sense and "ugliness", she becomes the laughing stock of the company, as well as a target for mean pranks and nasty jokes.
Somehow, Betty manages to walk with her head held high and focus on what she's there to do - help her boss run the magazine, while also managing to foil attempts by her co-workers to make him fail so they can take over. Betty's confidence comes from deep in her heart - she has loving family members who care much more about looking after each other and focusing on the positive things in their life rather than worrying about superficial things such as appearance. It's this support from her family that helps her through her most difficult times.
While reluctant to have such an "ugly" assistant at first, Daniel Meade slowly starts to realise that he can't survive without Betty. New to the job himself, and with others in the company waiting gleefully for him to fail, Daniel needs all the help he can get, and Betty has great ideas and knows how to get things done. While she may not be beautiful to look at, Betty certainly is useful around the office.
Ugly Betty challenges us to look at ourselves and realise that beauty is not the most important thing in the world. While it's easy to laugh at the jokes and entertaining to see what Betty's co-workers are capable of, you'll quickly find yourself reflecting on the show's message long after you have turned off the TV. While many of the characters may be exaggerated, it sometimes takes an extreme portrayal to recognise elements of these same issues in society. In one scene, Betty walks into the company cafeteria, and we see tables of stick-thin girls eating tiny amounts of food and looking very serious and depressed - it looks like a form of self-torture: they are starving themselves thin. Between these thin-obsessed co-workers, it becomes almost a competitive sport to see who can consume the least amount of food. At Betty's table, we see everyone happily talking and laughing and each enjoying their meal - normal-sized portions of food - completely oblivious to the competitive weight-loss happening around them. Without the stress of worrying about how much weight they are going to put on just from eating lunch, Betty and her like-minded co-workers are able to enjoy their lunch break.
While ultimately we each decide what's important in life, the media certainly plays a huge role in shaping our opinions and producing role-models to whom we should aspire. So it's great to see such an entertaining show as Ugly Betty which has a positive underlying message and a great role model like Betty. But the media certainly can be a fickle-minded beast - on the heels of the recent Esquire magazine poll ranking the sexiest women alive, comes Maxim magazine's "unsexiest women" poll. At the top of this list of "unsexiest" women was none other than Sarah Jessica Parker, star of long-running hit show and upcoming movie Sex and the City. Rounding out the top five were singer Amy Winehouse, Grey's Anatomy's Sandra Oh, Madonna and Britney Spears. Even if these women are ugly (which many would contest), they certainly are successful and most likely don't pay attention to such pathetic polls. They are probably too busy with their fabulous careers, or looking after their children, or enjoying life, because ugly or not, they are all successful women.
In many ways, the publishing of this poll highlights society's sad obsession with beauty - the fact that we can take five successful women and try and make them feel bad because they are "ugly", instead of highlighting their great achievements. Also, why is there only an "unsexiest women" poll? Why not "unsexiest men"? Is it only women who have to be beautiful to be successful? Alternately, we can look at this poll as highlighting the fact that no matter how "ugly" you are, you can still be successful and famous and star on a hit TV show! Who wouldn't want to be as famous as Sarah Jessica Parker and star in one of TV's most popular shows, not to mention have her great wardrobe of clothes?
At different periods in history and in different parts of the world, beauty does not have the same definition - because beauty is subjective. Even from one person to the next, we do not all agree on who is beautiful. So why should we chase after an ideal that is constantly changing? It is the luck of our genes that we are born the way we are, and it's our responsibility to make the most of the opportunities that come our way. Being born "beautiful" is simply luck - there are about 20 supermodels in the whole world and over 6 billion of us "non-supermodels", so the chances of being born a true "beauty" are pretty slim. But the chances of being successful at what you want to do are much higher, and certainly don't rely on whether you are beautiful or not.
There are many sayings about beauty such as "beauty is only skin deep" and "beautiful on the inside" which help to remind us that being beautiful is really a state of mind. Don't let society's narrow definition of beauty fool you - you are beautiful, you just need to believe it and keep telling yourself so. Now that you know you are beautiful, that's one less thing to worry about, so relax!
2011-01-12 13:18 编辑：kuaileyingyu