Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Susan Boyle-Dowdy Diva!

My Dearest Darlings, Susan Boyle has been unceremoniously catapulted onto a world stage, in case you haven't heard of this woman here is a brief summary: Britain's Got Talent is the sort of show you all love, it gives the socially redundant a route to super-stardom; yet another 'reality' show which promises moments of fame for the talentless, this show offers you a stage to procure your 'abilities' to an audience ready to laugh and mock. From animal trainers to fire eaters from acrobats to synchronised dancers, all manner of the desperate traipse in front of the ubiquitous judging panel for assessment. Most of course are deluded to say the least with various acts promising that they will be bigger than some super group or other, nearly all are sadly mistaken. Susan Boyle apparently fitted this stereotype perfectly, a dumpy unkempt ruddy faced woman walked onto the stage humbly proclaiming her desire to have a career similar to Elaine Paige. The audience made up of Jeremy Kyle rejects laughed and pointed, baying for yet more humiliation of the few deranged enough to believe that they could impress.

Miraculously this rather homely woman did manage to impress the audience, shock struck the crowd. Like a Mexican wave they rose to their feet to applaud the 'dulcet' tones of this women who had apparently a life filled with tragedy. A “never been kissed forty something virgin” who had put her own life on hold to care for her dying mother is yet another tabloid feel good story made in Red Top heaven. In a Jade free world the sense of frenzy is an almost culpable stench in the air as the 'Hello's' and OK's trample up to the small village in Scotland where Ms Boyle lives, the locals rush to witness the consumption of yet another innocent on the sacrificial table of contemporary culture.

The judges efficiently feigned surprise and emotion for the cameras as each announced their esteem for Ms Boyle's performance. She rather bewildered could have had no idea what would proceed as the clip of this 'miracle' performance fuelled by Twitter, Facebook and You-Tube raced around cyberspace, within days the clip had received millions of hits and this women's story was making global headlines! Oprah Winfrey, Larry King and the like began to request interviews and assurances that she would win this British TV competition flooded in from all corners of the world.

This says much about the current power of the internet and it's various sites though what of course is most interesting is the position of this woman at the centre of the story. In a world of sanitised and airbrushed images of women, here is presented a natural woman who steps outside of the apparent norm. Ms Boyle is no more homely looking than you are, her hair resembles wire wool, her cheeks are plump and rosy, and her figure is far from svelte. Though somehow you have forgotten that she is you and you are her. She has not been airbrushed, or tweaked by surgeons, even her brow is untouched by tweezer! You have become so used to seeing augmented versions of femininity that when you see a real life woman you become deranged!

For some reason you are so impressed that a woman who looks 'normal' can do anything other than clean, cook or care for you that you want to preserve her in aspic as some kind of side show freak. The most troubling element of this tale is that it has been reported that Simon Cowell believes that Ms Boyle should remain as she is, she should not have a make-over as this would compromise her 'brand'. Of course Mr Cowell has resisted the temptation to update his look, his hedgehog hair and high wasted trouser have become a uniform, his outfit is instantly recognisable, a brand, an Icon of sorts. Mr Cowell has acted as Svengali to a multitude of singers some more successfully than others. Though that is his decision one informed by years of experience, he is for some reason happy to be a fashion free zone. Ms Boyle is at the mercy of a media machine ready to brand and package her as a Dowdy Diva.

A similar yet less controversial previous winner of this TV 'talentless' show was Paul Potts an overweight toothless 'opera' singer who went on to sell countless records across the world. Obviously in your deeply misogynistic culture much less was made of this portly man and his appearance. Your perception of women is so ridiculously narrow that it is only the beautiful diva that is 'allowed' to exist, if another version comes along she must either be transformed into a beautiful goddess or frozen in time as “farmers wife Icon”.

I believe that Ms Boyle deserves to make the most of herself, to embrace cosmetics and fashion and hopefully a pair of tweezers, though not because she should or must but because she wants to become a more attractive version of herself. Not a carbon copy of Leona Lewis but a perfectly acceptable and attractive fuller figured older women. I for one wish her well, she seems delightful, though the novelty of a perfectly passable voice exiting such a plain and apparently tragic package may eventually wear off, just as quickly as your prurient interest in her does.

With Love The Fabulous Ms Coco LaVerne X