Monday, April 28, 2008

Ugly Pretty Girl

The "Ugly Pretty Girl" is an enduring cliche' used in entertainment and will probably never fade away due to the formulaic nature of what passes for popular entertainment. The Pygmalion plot is an easy way to create drama and sympathy in an audience or reader, who, truth be told, can usually identify in some way with the trials of the character. In most of these stories the female character simply gets a makeover and is suddenly transformed from ugly duckling into a swan. This is usually done with no regard in the story to those personality traits or esteem issues that led to her hiding her assets to the detriment of her own happiness in the first place. Countless men over the ages have overlooked the obvious pitfalls of caring only for the surface beauty to discover that the object of their desire is a crazy gold-digging psycho not their one, true soul-mate.

For the male gender in stories like this the usual approach is that they remain essentially the same in appearance but have a special value that makes them stand out and then become more desirable. As an example the nerdy mathematicians in the television show Numb3rs manage to land incredibly hot, complex women because of their unique abilities and talents that distract the opposite sex from their looks and Go-Bots collections, things that would normally ensure they die alone and virgins. This plays into the perception that women are valued more for their appearance and men for their skills.

The story The Missing Key in Romantic Story #33 (August 1956) is a typical example of the "Ugly Pretty Girl" tale, including the familiar ending where after the protagonist realizes she abused the power of her new found social status only to find love in the quiet dork who pined for her when she was "unattractive" prior to her transformation.

6 comments:

  1. omfg.......

    "I wouldn't have thought that Eve's few deft toucbes could have made so much difference! My next date was with DICK STRONG..."

    Of course it was... hilarious :)

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  2. http://omelete.com.br/images/galerias/eloperdido/eloperdido_01.jpg
    http://omelete.com.br/cine/100012343/O_Elo_Perdido.aspx

    land of lost!!!!

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  3. Did anybody notice that, in the beginning, Eve's boyfriend is Bill Smith, but every subsequent time he is "Bob"? Just wondering.

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  4. I have a KICK-ASS Go-Bot collection. Almost as big as my Transformers collection. Wanna make something of it? Oh, how very alone I am...

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  5. Ha! What a great story! Fred, who swears that he is not a "gay blade", seems to be obsessed with being "refreshed"! And Eve sort of left Dick hanging out to dry, so to speak. No "happy ending" to the story of that couple!

    I did apost that talked about similar issues in the representation of women in the media - "Media Clichés: Men Seldom Make Passes at Girls Who Wear Glasses".

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