Monday, July 19, 2010

The epiphany of the swan dress

I was reading a story recently on titled: Charice Pempengco, 18, Gets Skin Tightened and Botox for 'Glee' Role. Somehow, coming across this article reminded me of Icelandic artist Bjork. You may remember the infamous swan dress she wore at the 2001 Oscars. Let me refresh your memory:

I know, I know. Your first reaction might be: WTF is she wearing!? and, who is this strange dame? I had the good fortune of being introduced to Bjork's music years before this picture was taken. I was later astounded by her acting abilities in Dancer in the Dark for which, I believe, she received an Oscar nomination for best song which led to the above-stated red carpet moment. Bjork should have also been on the nomination list for best actress. Dancer in the Dark is easily one of the best, most profound and moving films I've ever seen. 

Predictably, everyone and their dog jumped all over this dress, and she was ridiculed far and wide. So it's not your typical, "glamorous" Oscar dress. It is however, original, just like Bjork. She looks like no one else, she sounds like no one else and she aspires to be no one but herself. I was quite upset at the time that no one commented on her immense talent as an artist. So she doesn't fit the Hollywood mold - she could easily out-act most leading ladies today who are, more often than not, barely distinguishable from each other.

I guess that brings me back to this 18-year-old Filipino singer who professes to be "very proud" to be Asian but underwent a procedure to "narrow" her naturally round face and help her look "fresh" for the cameras. What is wrong with a round face? If I'm not mistaken, Glee spent at least one episode in Season 1 expounding the virtues of being yourself. 

Articles such as this trouble me deeply. If an 18-year-old feels the need to cosmetically enhance herself to fit some American TV image, it reflects our overall Western values which apparently are based solely on conformity and regurgitation of tired bullshit that's been done already. 

So when a true original like Bjork shows up on the scene, she is completely misunderstood and scorned. Which leads me to this passage I'd like to share with you. I wish I could attribute it to someone but I don't know who wrote it. I hope it inspires you as much as it does me.

The man who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd.
The man who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been before.

Creativity in living is not without its attendant difficulties, for peculiarity breeds contempt.
And the unfortunate thing about being ahead of your time is that when people finally realize you were right, they'll say it was obvious all along.

You have two choices in life: you can dissolve into the mainstream, or you can be distinct.
To be distinct, you must be different. To be different, you must strive to be what no one else but you can be...


Miss Nikki said...

I like this post. I like those words at the bottom. I'm often laughed at or pointed at because I'm different. Often my husband asks me to change before going out, then I tell him that's how I am. He always ends up telling me how he loves the funky in me (after a a few cocktails of course) Anybody who thinks going against the current is wrong doesn't know jack about the best fish (salmon). Cheers to originality!

Sassy Stylings said...

I hear ya Miss Nikki! In a high school-wide poll, I came in third place in the categories "Strangest person" and "Person who should have been born in the sixties".

Those who placed first and second in both categories were friends of mine. That was back in the early nineties. I hope nothing's changed...


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