13 November, 2006

A Discredit To Womanliness

I spent the whole day watching the 1995 BBC TV mini series of Pride and Prejudice, with Colin Frith and Jennifer Ehle in the main roles of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet. What a completely silly indulgence this was. And, oh, how I enjoyed it!

What I really enjoyed beyond Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle’s performances, the performances of nearly every other cast member, the costumes, the photography, the sets and locations, the dancing, the music… have I missed anything? What I enjoy beyond all these major artistic merits, is the fact that the only female actor who was a skinny was Mary Bennet a decidedly miserable, unattractive, doomed for spinsterhood, younger sister of Elizabeth. All of the other women in the series were nicely formed and nicely featured… young women possessing womanliness.

I do not want to do Keira Knightly any injustice, but her retched (Freudian slip, I mean wretched) skinniness should have disqualified her for the role of Elizabeth in last year’s movie production. It is as if a producer for historical movie about the famous Ethiopian long distance runners decided to cast Anthony Anderson for the part of Abebe Bikila.

The only women who were so thin in Jane Austin’s time were overworked, grossly undernourished, sick, or dying. No one during those times (and a majority of us in these times) would have found such a skinny person attractive.

When will Hollywood ever get it? If a woman’s rips are showing both from the front as well as the back, if her collar bones can act as ski jumps, if her hands are red from lack of circulation, the woman is not fashionably thin, she is sick and dying. And if she says she eats like a horse, don’t believe her; she’s lying. No matter how good these women are at acting, get them help, but don’t cast them in a role of an intelligent, feisty, womanly woman.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:59 am

    You're incorrect. There were skinny women in Jane Austen's time and some of them were considered attractive. Lady Caroline Lamb is a famous example. Women came in all shapes and sizes back than just as they do today.
    And note that Austen specifically tells us that Lizzy is lighter than both Jane and 16 year old Georgiana.

    Could you post a link to a picture of Keira's ribs showing from behind? I suspect not. This one shows her entire back with not a single visible rib: