Female Trouble

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First and foremost, I found this movie difficult to wrap my head around initially. However, in conjuncture with LeBesco and Butler's pieces, I was able to pick out some themes that relate to the idea of the "normate" of beauty. The idea of "artificiality of the truths we think we know" is evident in how Dawn's character evolves throughout the film. When she auditions for Dashers, they see her as a perfect specimen of beauty, but continue to push the envelope of their definition of what is considered worthy of desire, and Dawn falls for it. The atrocious behavior, over the top makeup and clothing, the acid burns on her face. Ultimately, she becomes a monster and a slave to her superficiality.

I think this relates back to society's idea of what is considered beautiful. The normate of our society is thin, fashionable, and a clear-cut representation of masculine and feminine, in regards to each person's assigned gender, all of which often causes bouts of body dysmorphia, in both genders, trying to recreate what society deems fit. Besides the fact that Dawn is played by the wonderful cross-dresser, Divine, it brings "fat" into what we consider "queer." Society says that no, a person cannot be overweight AND attractive. But who is to say what is beautiful? Only the individual themselves can make that distinction and work it, as Dawn does, to excess.

With that being said, although Waters makes a good effort at guiding the audience to rethink what is and isn't considered beautiful, I feel that the overall message is somewhat executed poorly. Yes, Dawn is "fat," and the Dashers find her breath-taking, but the character is one that is hard to like. With so many negative qualities (and by negative, I mean REALLY negative, more so in personality than appearance), it's hard to see her actual beauty and comes off as a completely repulsive individual.

4 Comments

I agree that Waters did a great job of trying to give audiences the perception that even if you are fat or different, you can still consider yourself beautiful. It really is all about what you believe is beautiful. Even if you are overweight, queer, or look different than what society considers the norm, it does not matter if you are confident in yourself such as Dawn. I mean Dawn took it to an extreme but being confident in who you are is a great thing to have.

I cant get over how awesome your interpretation of subjectivity in defining beauty is. I agree with this in that it is all in the eyes of the viewer as to what they think is beautiful. I also agree that the evolution of Dawns desire is a good example of the artificiality, in that Dawns own definition of beauty and self confidence changes over time while her appearance remains the same(until the acid). Overall this was an insightful post, and again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

I most certainly agree with your idea that beauty is a subjective thing, and it is possible to be fat and attractive. I think you hit the idea of the "artificiality of the truths we think we know" spot on! I agree that Dawn becomes an unlikeable character (if she isn't the whole time), but I think the repulsiveness was intentional. We didn't dislike Dawn because she was fat, we disliked her because she was a psychopath. The extreme personalities in this movie are used to illustrate the excessiveness of our obsession with beauty. It really wouldn't be the same sort of film if the characters were likeable. I think that Dawn's extreme personality perpetuates the idea of being subversive.

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This page contains a single entry by thom3804 published on February 27, 2012 1:01 AM.

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