Linds Lets Loose: ‘Why am I not enough as I am?’

Lindsay Kriz

About a week ago, I decided to pay a visit to my childhood in the form of an old movie favorite of mine: “She’s All That.”

Amidst the understanding of all the dirty jokes and pop culture references I’d somehow missed when I was a child, I also picked up on some social issues the film touched upon, either purposefully or accidentally.

The premise of the movie is that the most popular guy in school, Zack Siler made a bet with his friends that he could take the least popular girl in school and make her prom queen within the next few weeks. After deliberation over a few choice ladies, Siler and his friends decide on Laney Boggs, the resident art nerd.

Aside from her glasses and paint-splattered clothes, Boggs, played by Rachael Leigh Cook, looks like a typical high school teenager. Boggs, however, must undergo a transformation of the most “insane” kind — she basically puts in contacts and has her hair cut — in order to be seen around the most popular guy in school.

Re-watching this movie helped me to remember the double standard that exists in Hollywood movies, one that shows that women must change who they are in order to be with the guy, while women considered attractive are expected to accept the lovable, perhaps not-so-cute geek for who he is.

Of course it is completely possible for a woman deemed gorgeous by society’s standards to fall for a man who is less so and to not acknowledge that would not be fair. It is completely possible for a person to fall in love with personality as opposed to looks, or even to fall in love with the looks of someone who doesn’t fit society’s standards of beauty.

My issue, in this case, lies particularly with Hollywood. Disney is okay with hinting at bestiality in the classic retelling of “Beauty and the Beast,” but horrific Laney Boggs with her glasses (oh no!) and her long hair and paint splotches (don’t let it be so!) must change her own personal style in order to be with the boy.

For my entire young adult life, I’ve wanted to find a boyfriend of my own, or even a boy who would notice me and think I was funny, smart and pretty. A few times I thought I’d been lucky, but it always fell through. Each and every time I would mention this to either of my parents or any of my relatives, one phrase was always echoed back to me: “Lose weight, wear prettier clothes and put on some makeup, and somebody will notice you.”

I know that many in our society hold certain expectations, and I have noticed that my thinner friends have had more romantic success than I can ever hope to emulate. I know I can be very bitter about my own romantic experiences and of those around me. “Why am I not enough as I am?” I ask myself each time I feel discouraged. “Surely someone out there will finally look past all of that and see only as I want to be seen?”

I never understood the need to constantly wear makeup and fancy clothes in order to attract someone. Of course, I am not opposed to dressing up and looking good in order to impress someone I like. I’ve done it before, and I will almost certainly do it again.

But in the end, I know that I’m okay with it because I chose to do it on my own terms, and it makes me feel better about myself with or without the attention of the guy I’m attempting to impress. If he happens to notice, then good for him.

This is why I find the Hollywood attitude toward women changing their appearance for men so troubling. By showing women that they may not be good enough to attract the one they want because of their physical appearance, Hollywood is ensuring that self confidence is a bigger commodity in the world than the latest Hermes bag.