When Maria sang "I Feel Pretty" in West Side Story, debuting in 1957 on Broadway, women were expected to be pretty. That was their main function, besides bearing children and keeping the house clean. Likewise, "I Enjoy Being a Girl" was about the Asian American woman from the 1958 musical, Flower Drum Song.
Yet when you hear people like Donald Trump criticizing another celebrity — one that didn't have a father's legacy to help find success in life — instead of attacking her as an equal, as a man, he calls her "a fat slob," an "animal" and a "big, fat pig."
Donald Trump doesn't need to look at himself in the mirror. He's that self-assured. He has money and money makes him attractive. He has had three beautiful wives. If he did look in the mirror, he'd see someone who is overweight and not particularly good looking. Yet do you think The Donald talks about male opponents as "fat slobs"?
Rosie O'Donnell isn't a slob as far as we know from her public persona. It's more likely that Donald Trump just fell back on the cliche that an overweight person must be a slob. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans are overweight.
There is something creepy about an older man like Donald Trump who practices serial monogamy, marrying former beauty queens and divorcing them, owning the Miss Universe Organization, which includes Miss USA and Miss Teen USA. This is made even creepier by Trump's public mulling over an offer by Playboy magazine.
Perhaps Trump feels that Playboy is in line with the ideals of Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen — women should be pretty and be willing to be put on display for the fantasies of men.
Likewise, I find Jay Leno's comments about Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, focused on his perception of her unattractiveness. So the late Diana, Princess of Wales, was a better consort or princess because she photographed well? Would we laugh if Jay Leno made the same remarks about a man who wasn't good looking? Or is it that men aren't expected to be beautiful?
Would Rosie O'Donnell be a better person or a better comic if she was thin and beautiful? Or would she be a bitch unless she smiled and made men happy?
Beauty pageants, no matter what their name or what scholarships they offer, are basically just that — a means of pointing out what pleases a man's eye and not who achieves worthy goals without wearing heels, short skirts, or a bathing suit. I've heard the same sort of remarks in my workplace, an Internet company. Men talking about a female executive who was leaving the company only remarked about her looks and not about how brilliant she must be to make so much more money than them. Similar remarks about attractiveness weren't made about the male executives leaving in the same time frame. Instead, they talked about their character and personalities.
Yet life shouldn't be a professional beauty pageant and women should be judged on their competence or worth, not by their attractiveness. Being pretty shouldn't be a vocation or an aspiration for a girl or a woman. Achieving one's full potential as a human being should, using one's intellect and skills. Women have come a long way since suffrage and the women's movement but we obviously still have a long way to go.
I feel pretty and I enjoy being a girl, but I also like being respected as an intelligent human being with skills that prove that I'm not just a pretty face.