Friday, March 21, 2008

Anti-Curl Makeovers

I've almost finished with the evil to-do list, and now it's occurred to me that it's a holiday weekend for a lot of people and most of the rest of the things I have left to do involve sending e-mails that may get buried if people aren't in the office. I know that, theoretically, the beauty and joy of e-mail is that it isn't time-dependent. You can send it when it's convenient to you and they read and deal with it when it's convenient to them. However, I don't like the idea of sending something when I know it will be days before the person can deal with it, just to get it off my plate. Then again, some of these are e-mails I've been procrastinating big-time about, for whatever odd reason I really don't understand, and this could be yet another form of avoidance. So, do I just deal with them today so I can cross them off my list, even if I know I'm likely to get "out of the office" messages, or do I put them on my first-thing Monday list? I guess I could write them today, put them in drafts, then send on Monday.

I finally sat down last night and watched my Enchanted DVD. I still love it and giggle myself silly in places. I also still find the title somewhat disconcerting when I see it out of context, since that's my shorthand for the first book in my series. Signing the credit card slip at the store when I bought it, for instance, I saw just the word "Enchanted" and it immediately made me think it was about my book. However, I did notice one thing that kind of bugged me -- we have yet another straight hair makeover. Giselle goes through the whole movie with long, curly hair, then she shows up at the ball for her big "Gasp! Wow!" moment with flat, stick-straight hair. It's not quite on a par with The Princess Diaries with the "curly=ugly; straight=pretty" makeover, since Giselle was always considered gorgeous, and I suspect this makeover was meant to make her look like a woman who could possibly fit into the hero's modern life, but still, can't she at least have wavy hair and be beautiful and fit into his world?

Not that straight hair is bad. It's just that I can think of only one big transformation wow moment where the "after" involved curly hair, and that was in Grease, where the heroine turned into a slut with a bad perm, so I don't think that counts. Even though people do get perms and curl their hair in real life, so curls can't be all bad, in fiction, curly hair is usually presented as a negative and something that is corrected when the character transforms. We do have Hermione Granger as a curly-haired heroine, but her hair is always referred to in negative terms with words like "bushy," and when she fixes herself up for the ball, to the point she becomes so pretty the others don't recognize her, the book implies that it's because her hair has been temporarily straightened (it doesn't show up so much that way in the movie because her hair isn't curly in the movies). On The Office, curly-haired Pam's hair gets straightened when she starts having confidence about herself, and straight hair is part of the frumpy-to-pretty transformation (and that's actually a curly-haired actress who straightens her hair for public appearances). Amy Irving may be the only curly-haired actress I can think of where I can't recall her appearing in real life or on screen with straight hair.

Adding to the negative undercurrent is the fact that the curly hair in question is often associated with an ethnic identity, like being Greek or Jewish, and it's only through shedding that identity by straightening the hair that the character becomes attractive. I'm not really in that boat, as my curls come from the Norwegian side of the family, but still that thought rankles me. We need some curly-haired heroines who stay curly and whose remarkable transformation maybe involves taming the frizz and getting good curls instead of losing them. I've avoided writing curly-haired characters in the past because I was afraid of being accused of my characters being based on myself, but the book I just finished had a curly-haired heroine, and I think I'm going to do more, just to balance things out a bit better and strike a blow for the curly girls. I think we're more underrepresented or misrepresented than any other group.

Next week, I may rant about glasses as depicted in fiction/film/television. That one's been building up for a while.

In entirely unrelated news, only two more weeks until new Battlestar Galactica. In honor of that, we have the cast (in character -- mostly) presenting the top ten list with David Letterman. (The mostly involves Jamie Bamber doing some technobabble in character as Lee, with American accent, then dropping the accent and being very British while admitting he has no idea what he was just talking about -- but considering the part about having no idea was on the thing they put on the screen, I'm suspecting that was planned.) And if you need to catch up on what's been going on, here's an 8-minute, accurate, but highly tongue-in-cheek, recap of the series so far. Yes, that was officially produced by the Sci Fi Channel. Someone has a sense of humor. Gotta love it.

Now I have to figure out how to spend my day off. I'm reading my way through the Nebula ballot, and now it looks like I'm going to have to get to work on the Hugo ballot, since there's only one book that's on both ballots, and it's one I've already read. It's a lovely day, so as long as the saw doesn't fire up again, I may spend the day on the patio, reading.

1 comment:

Carradee said...

I think that might be from the fact that a lot of curly-haired people long for straight hair.

That cliché does seem rather strange, though, considering a lot of RL people curl their hair…

Maybe it has something to do with the demographic of who writes that stuff. Writers already tend to talk to themselves and be a little nutty…

Oh, and I've found it to be a handy excuse, too. If someone thinks me crazy. I just reply that I'm a writer—I'm supposed to be!