[Beauty Overheard] Well, that Didn’t Last Long.

Emma Watson Long HairEmma Watson Short Hair

Hey, remember this post, where we talked about how Emma Watson was so psyched to ditch the Hermione school girl hair for her adorable pixie cut?

And we voted and pretty much all unanimously agreed that she was better off this way?

Well someone lost the ballot box. Because Jezebel reports that Emma is already growing her hair back out:

“If I want to keep acting then it’s more flexible for me to have it longer for different roles, it’s quite a specific cut. I’m kind of looking forward to getting to a cute little bob stage.”

And this is making me think. Yesterday, when I was mulling this whole DIPE thing, it seemed like actresses being straightforward about how hard they work to maintain a frankly impossible standard of sexy-young-thinness was the best of some not great options. Better we all be aware that these women are working damn hard to look the way they do, and that it’s a necessary cost of doing business for them, so we can all just be grateful that we don’t have to succumb to that kind of pressure. (Not that we don’t feel said pressure — like I said on Never Say Diet, of course we do. But I get to sit on my flat butt in the privacy of my office all day, while wanna-be actresses/models/hip-hop stars get paid to look the way they do.)

However. Hearing that someone as fetching and, more importantly, as talented as Emma can’t get work just because she has a “specific cut” is making me grouchy. I can understand why you can’t play certain characters with short hair (period dramas, biopics), but as Jezebel notes, we’ve got wigs and extensions galore. I can also understand why really extreme appearance-related decisions might not be so smart, especially if you’re new to the acting game (which, 95 Harry Potter movies later, Emma Watson sure is not). One of my actor friends decided to forego a huge back tattoo a few years ago, because she didn’t want casting directors to be like, “does she think camouflage makeup grows on trees?”

What I’m worried about is where we draw that line. Not only do stringent Hollywood beauty standards trickle down in not so pretty ways to the rest of us mere mortals, they also seem to wreak a fair amount of havoc on the lives of the women trying to work in that industry. And it’s a little easy to shrug that off with a “hey, that’s the price of fame!” defense. Because for every highly paid actress or model who maintains her perfect body thanks to a devoted and highly trained staff of personal chefs, trainers and on-call hair stylists, there are hundreds of women (and young girls) working to break into this world and maintain the beauty standard without that kind of support. But with plenty of black market butt injections, diet pills, and other seriously health-threatening strategies.

Okay, yes, male actors and models face similar pressures — but I think it’s pretty clear (ahem, Seth Rogen) that a double standard exists. And where it doesn’t, we’ve closed the gap by making the standards more impossible and oppressive for everyone. Which hardly feels like the solution.

Thoughts? Is it fair that Hollywood actresses and models have to face such extreme appearance pressures? Or does it just make the whole beauty thing that much harder for everyone?

[Photos: Emma Watson as Hermione from ursulakm’s photostream, and Emma Watson, post-Hermione, from El_Enigma’s photostream.]



Filed under Beauty Labor, Beauty Overheard, beauty standards

5 responses to “[Beauty Overheard] Well, that Didn’t Last Long.

  1. Kate

    I fall all over the spectrum on this one. But I do think it’s unrealistic to have a career that’s so blatantly tied to your appearance and not expect your appearance to have some impact on your career. Although I will say that Natalie Portman has had her hair in some kind of pixie cut for a great deal of her career and that doesn’t seem to have harmed her job prospects in any way.

  2. J

    She’s so pretty, should could basically look great with just about any hairstyle. I have noticed something though; it seems like every woman I know agrees that her pixie cut so So. CUTE. but every man that I know (who knows who Emma Watson is, at least) is either “meh.” or outright “I don’t like it, she looks like a boy.” Weirdness!

  3. Pingback: Pretty Price Check (02.18.11) | Beauty Schooled

  4. Kate

    As someone who has done theatre before (more specifically technical theatre) I understand where Emma Watson is coming from. It’s true that when working with hair for a play, movie, etc it is easier to work with longer hair. That being said I do think she needs to realize that she has a career in front of her regardless how long her hair is

  5. I think she looks great with short hair, though I have a clear preference for natural, tousled styling (vs. the gel-ed into place look I saw her sporting recently). Having experiences in stage theater I would have thought that short hair is actually better for an actress because it’s easier to hide under a wig (I always had problems with this because I have waist-length hair!), therefore easier to completely change the hairstyle according to any particular role – and after all the beauty industry is advanced enough to make really naturally-looking wigs. Yep, and that double standard for male vs. female actors is really, really annoying. How nice would it be if aging actresses were still perceived as attractive, or if scars and weathered skin on an actress were able to signify adventure and experience the way they do with male actors.

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