Inner vs. Outer

I caught a movie on the Lifetime Network tonight (I was just surfing and it came up…I swear!), called “Queen Sized.” It was one of those feel-good movies where the fat loser high school girl stands up to the bullies, rallies the geeks, and proves to everyone (especially herself!) that she is more than meets the eye. You know: your typical moral wrapped in a high school drama wrapped in a lifelong lesson wrapped in a candy bar…mmm, candy.

Anyway, as body image movies go, it was one of the better ones. I liked that the pretty popular girls weren’t all bad (because in real life, not all of them are bitches…damn them). And I liked how they portrayed Maggie’s inner monologue – that constant paranoia that people with low self-esteem have, where they think everything anyone says to them is an insult about their character or their body. People can misconstrue good intentions with that paranoia, and it seemed pretty accurate to me.

But that wasn’t what I found interesting…rather, it was the ads during the commercial break, and one ad in particular. You might know that Ellen DeGeneres is the new face of CoverGirl, which I think is pretty cool…but when I saw this commercial during the break of this particular movie, I was a little shocked. Listen to the first line she says:

“Inner beauty is important, but not nearly as important as outer beauty.”

Ok, I get that I’m probably late to the game on this one (I don’t watch a lot of TV). I also get that Ellen is a comedienne, and that this was supposed to be a joke. But it was still a little surprising coming from her! Frankly, it was really poorly delivered (or edited), because it comes off as completely serious. I wouldn’t want that line coming out of my mouth in public…there’s just too many ways for someone who doesn’t know her personality to misconstrue the message. (See how I brought it back to the lessons from the Lifetime movie? Huh, huh?) Especially when it only reinforces a negative stereotype that thin, pretty blondes value looks above all else.

Honestly, I don’t think I would have been shocked if it was just some typical bland model…but Ellen? She seems so down-to-earth, so atypical…and she’s faced prejudice herself in life. So it surprised me a little that she would let them portray her – even mockingly – as a beauty monger. Not really something I expected from one of the most beloved women of our era.

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