I am not writing about Gwyneth again but this story starts with her. Simon Doonan (perhaps you’ll recall his hilarious book Gay Men Don’t Get Fat) took issue with People calling Gwyneth the most beautiful woman in the world or “MBWITW” and it’s not because he doesn’t think she’s beautiful. Rather, Doonan suggests, via Slate, that efforts to improve your looks actually detract from beauty.
Her strenuous efforts to achieve perfection—thrashing around a gym morning noon and night with Tracy Anderson and eating nothing but plankton and kale juice—leave us all shrieking, “What would she look like if you took away her battery of Pilates gurus and aura cleansers?
I’ll answer Doonan’s question, she’d still look great. Or let’s ask Doonan how he’d look without a shower, haircut or the great looks he puts together for Barney’s. Perhaps when women discuss their regimes, something I applaud, it takes away from the mystique but even if it doesn’t involve kale or exercise, most women have beauty rituals. Even Liz Taylor and Catherine Deneuve who Doonan feel were worthy of MBWITH status didn’t roll out of bed looking like that, please.
I’d argue that in order to be crowned the most beautiful woman in the world, you should be living your life full-throttle rather than tormenting yourself with some deranged, ascetic self-maintenance regimen. Non?
Part of me can see where Doonan is going with this. There is nothing more beautiful that someone, seemingly carefree, enjoying their life. However, why is it assumed that exercise involves torment? Personally, I feel more deranged when I’m off my “regimen” than on it. Is Doonan talking about his image of an ideal woman? It doesn’t seem he’s talking about real women, that’s for sure.
And Doonan doesn’t stop, for someone who feels beauty should be effortless, he sure has a lot of prerequisites. After fashion week he remarked:
But the most beautiful woman in the world should also have a cheeky demeanor and a decent rack. Sadly, these two attributes were in short supply.
The Slate article closes with Doonan’s request for entries into his MBWITW contest. I wish I was capable of illustration because the woman Doonan describes is a cartoon character with a rack and a smile, living her life full throttle. She’s not just beautiful but “the most beautiful” and achieving this status is effortless. She’s accepting the “pat on the head” and “goody bag” Doonan is offering as MBWITW. I don’t know about you but all of this makes me want to go out for a run and if that makes me ugly and ascetic- awesome.
What do you think makes a woman beautiful? Why do you think exercise and food regimes, to the uninitiated, seem torturous? Do you think most women, even if they don't discuss it, have beauty or food systems?