Rather be a Victoria’s Secret Angel or You?
Playboy wanted to know how average-looking Lena Dunham, the award-winning producer, director, writer and star of HBO’s Girls, would feel if she woke up in the body of a Victoria’s Secret Angel.
Not so great, said Dunham, who frequently appears nude on her show.
I don’t think I’d like it very much. There would be all kinds of weird challenges to deal with that I don’t have to deal with now. I don’t want to go through life wondering if people are talking to me because I have a big rack. Not being the babest person in the world creates a nice barrier. The people who talk to you are the people who are interested in you. It must be a big burden in some ways to look that way and be in public.
Looking like a Victoria’s Secret Angel instead of me. I can see the upside. Women are hugely judged by their looks so in an Angel-body I’d land at the top of the pack. How nice. And I could have any guy.
But studies show a downside. Plain women are more likely to get a job interview, for instance. Maybe they seem less sex objecty and more brainy. The beautiful are also believed to be more conforming and self-promoting.
Or, therapist, Mary Pipher wrote in her bestselling Reviving Ophelia that,
Girls who are too attractive are seen primarily as sex objects. Their appearance overdetermines their identity. They know that boys like to be seen with them, but they doubt that they are liked for reasons other than their packaging.
Michael Kimmel, a sociology professor who studies men, says some guys are more interested in bragging to other guys that they nailed a beautiful girl than in having sex with her. Other guys entirely miss seeing the girl because they’re obsessed with her body.
Meanwhile, girls who are too plain are ignored and miss a lot of experiences. Pipher continues:
The luckiest girls are neither too plain or too beautiful. They’ll be more likely to date boys who genuinely like them. They’ll have an identity based on other factors, such as sense of humor, intelligence or strength of character.
And then there’s this: A lot of guys thought Dunham’s response was B.S. But in a Slate comment thread one woman wrote,
You think you’d be happier if you were better-looking, but would you feel the same way if you were in prison? You don’t associate being attractive with any sort of threat, but for women it can be.
On a more mundane note, it’d also take a lot of time, work, starvation and calorie-counting to keep up that body when you could be doing other stuff. Healthy is good, “perfect” takes too much time and surgery.