Monday, December 21, 2009

Another Hollywood Casualty

There's no way around this one - it's posted all over the gossip-scape. 32-year-old actress Brittany Murphy died of cardiac arrest. Another Hollywood casualty. It's really no mystery. Young girl comes to La-La-Land with big dreams of stardom, gets a breakout role in a popular movie, then decides she needs to be skinny and blond in order for her career to continue its ascension. 

What's truly sad is that Brittany's death is a symptom of the commodification of young women in Hollywood. They are not actresses but walking advertisements, displaying some impossible ideal of female beauty, getting us regular folk to buy shit we don't need by making us feel inadequate.

Never underestimate the Hollywood selling machine. Sure, only we can let other people make us feel less than perfect. But when you're a young, impressionable teenager, those messages are incredibly difficult to ignore, and even more challenging to shake off as an adult who's been programmed to believe in those ideals. 

There's no concrete info on exactly why Brittany suffered a cardiac arrest at such a young age but I'd hazard a few guesses: eating disorder, drugs, obsession about her position on the Hollywood food chain. Apparently, friends of hers are claiming Brittany had major body image issues. No shit Sherlock. 

Can you blame her? If I was living in L.A., trying to fight my way as an actress into the film industry, I'd probably be voluntarily tossing my breakfast, downing the Joe like I'd stumbled upon a desert oasis and popping pills that made me forget I had an appetite. 

The tragedy here is that women simply accept these standards, without question; standards that weren't by any means determined by them. The result is a sea of bland, homogeneous, skinny blondes with issues, forfeiting talent for that "perfect" look. 


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