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.