Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Ugly Duckling Turned Swan

Ugh, i don't know how to remove the line underneath my text, sorry!

So, I'm sure most if not all of you can recognize all of the images above. These are all examples of female characters who have undergone major makeovers (purely physically) to win the man of their dreams. In She's All That, the popular Zack Siler has to ask the dorky, artsy Laney Boggs to the prom because of a bet. He eventually starts to realize that she's an interesting person but it's not until she undergoes an extensive transformation (aka cut her hair and ditched the glasses) that he falls for her. One of the last scenes shows them making out and slow dancing.

Then, there's Miss Congeniality in which FBI agent Gracie Hart must enter a beauty pageant in order to track down a terrorist. Even though they make her over into a hot, vavavavoom beauty contestant for work related reasons, she still ends up getting her man by winning over co-agent, Eric Matthews.

Lastly, in Princess Diaries, Mia Thermopolis is a 15 year old girl who finds out that she is the next crown princess of the fictional country, Genovia. Because a princess must be presentable and is constantly being photographed, Mia's grandmother hires a team of makeup artists to transform her frizzy mane into sleek, straight hair, abandon the eyeglasses, and wax her unibrow. Oh, and of course, she ends up winning the heart of her guy friend.

So what? Are these depictions offensive? Well, all of these examples exemplify the emphasis on physical beauty for young girls and women (especially high schoolers) and that the only way to win that guy over or become noticed and successful is to be physically beautiful. Why is it that glasses are seen as dorky and unattractive anyways?

Can y'all think of any movies that have the guys undergoing makeovers? Would it have been any different if She's All That had Freddy Prince Jr. as the geeky guy who gets glamified?


  1. Ooh i Love makeover scenes! I definitely think that this enforces our ideology of what women are supposed to look like in society but these movies would be a LOT less exciting to watch if there were no makeover scenes, I mean they are pretty much the substance of the films which is kind of sad.

    Hm.. in 17 again, Zac Effron kind of has a makeover. But yeah there are definitely a lack of male makeovers!!

  2. There are also the movies that feature "nerdy" guys (think Michael Cera or Jonah Hill), who don't get a makeover but end up getting the "hot girl" in the end. Films like these tend to reaffirm movies that feature the female character as an "ugly duckling to a swan"

  3. In the 80's classic Can't Buy Me Love, Patrick Dempsey (McDreamy at 17) gets a makeover, which, hilariously, involves ripping his shirt sleeves off and moussing his hair.

  4. what about Bridget Jones? She never got a make over and still go the man of her dreams (though I did spend the whole movie(s) wishing she would)