Monday, January 26, 2009

I'm Beautiful Dammit

Props goes out to Uncanny Alliance for the reference. However, that song has nothing to do with this post.

What I'm really here to discuss is how telling a person how beautiful he/she is in regards to their work is more of a diminishing quality, rather than a compliment.

The internet is a realm in which people from all over the world muster up the courage to say things to others that normally, they would only think to themselves, if they were to stand face to face with a certain figure. For all the women out there drooling over Hollywood dreams such as Brad Pitt, Denzel Washington, Johnny Depp, or Steve Buschemi (refer back to the title of the post), would they ever say to said man's face, "Oh my God! You're so hot!" Probably not. They might squeal, cry, or even take on a slight case of verbal paralysis, but I highly doubt that they would compliment them on their appearances.

The same goes for the male adoration of starletts. Natalie Portman is an astonishingly attractive person (even bald in V for Vendetta), but would I tell her that to her face? No. I would much rather try to have a converstation where she can say more than an uneasy, "Thank you" (read: I get that all the time, thanks for reminding me). Or what about Jessica Alba? Well...maybe all anybody can do is tell her how pretty she is, because she's not winning anything prestigious any time soon (Fantastic Four, anybody?).

These entertainers should be lauded not for their psyichal prowess, but instead for their talents. What made me think about this? It's simple, really. MySpace.

While on MySpace, I tend to stop by the page of an entertainer by the name of Dessa. Dessa is a spoken word poet, a rapper, a singer, a music instructor, and a beautiful person. Regardless of how great her work is, people can't seem to stay on topic. Instead, they tell Dessa how gorgeous she is. When praising a song of her's, "Dessa, you're so beautiful". When she posts writing samples, or links to interviews she has done, "Dessa, you take my breath away. You're such a beautiful soul". Yeah. Don't believe me, go to her page and see what the people are saying in the comments or in her blog.

I am a fan of Dessa's work. Her singing voice is both soothing and melodic. As a rapper, she can put many to shame with her abilities (she can rap in English and Spanish). And as a poet, her words are nothing short of remarkable. Needless to say, she's gifted. But for some odd reason, others can't quite figure out how to compliment her without reverting back to, "Dessa, you're so beautiful". Is it easy to see how the compliment of her physical appearance dwarfs her talents and achievements? When listening to her music, or reading her musings, Dessa's appearance is irrelevant.

Really, how do those kinds of remarks help an artist improve? Try critiquing the work. Artists need to know from their fans what material is effective, as well as what may not work for someone, and why. Parallel this situation to that of a business person. If a worker does a great job on a report, and is told, "You're so gorgeous," as opposed to, "Good job on that," I think that would be constituted as sexual harassment. If Campbell Brown were told that she is attractive after giving an important presentation, I think her response would be a fiery, "Did you pay attention to anything I just said?" No, because I was lost in your beauty. Bleh!

I just want people to think about what it is that they are truly saying, when they speak. The intention may be innocent, but it gets percieved in numerous lights by a plethora of personalities.

For the record, I have spoken to Dessa a few times, both online and in person. She is kind, highly intelligent, and more beautiful in person than in any photo found on the internet. Did I talk to her about any of this? No. There are far too man other things in the world to have conversations about. Honestly, I have no idea how she feels about any of this. As far as i'm concerned, she's just one of the guys.

I'm just saying.

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