Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Who You Calling Ugly?

Not so long ago the American version of Ugly Betty started playing on Greek TV. Mr Zeus hates it as much as the Greek version, saying something along the lines of ugly people on TV hurt his eyes. But I adore Ugly Betty for the same reason that anyone who adores Ugly Betty does: we once were or still are Ugly Betties ourselves!

Ugly Betty was me at high school and through most of university. The bad hair, the awful clothes, even the glasses and the braces that were removed just short of my 20th birthday. Do you know what having braces at university makes you? A freak, that's what!

At high school I was so invisible there was many a time when I was sat in the room and someone would say "Where is Bollybutton?". I used to get hit in the head all the time with footballs and other sport paraphernali, usually followed by someone running up and saying "I'm soooo sorry! I didn't see you there!" Yeah I know, most people don't. Classmates would talk about how ugly I was while I was right there but that wasn't because they didn't see me, it was because they knew I was there. But never mind, that's the sort of thing that makes you try to wing it on personality because you know you can't make it using your looks.

So when I watch Ugly Betty I feel like wow, someone made a programme about people like me! The thing with ugly ducklings is that even if they stop being ugly ducklings; in their minds they still are. As a result of this they keep trying too hard, like Ugly Betty does.

I may have ditched the braces and frizzy hair and bad clothes, of which I was mercifully oblivious to just how bad they were, but if someone on the street makes a comment at me I'll still look around to see who it was directed at. Women know how to twist male attention to their advantage but I don't, it just makes me feel uncomfortable.

I still put my foot in it all the time, say the wrong things and bend over backwards trying to please people, although I did learn how to say no. I don't watch Ugly Betty thinking "My God, what a pushover." I think "Yeah, I know. I would have done exactly that too." Most of all, it makes you realise what an incredibly superficial thing looks are.

Ugly Betty in all its guises put the unspoken subculture of good hearted nerdy girls on TV and for that I love it! Now if they made an Old Betty, TV would start to look a lot more like real life than premayoung and permatanned.



smaro said...

Too true. I think for many of us, secondary school is a place where we all feel a bit awkward and some more outwardly than others. I had glasses from primary school and became quiet and hard-working. Sometimes teachers forgot I was there as well, but there were those rare teachers who saw who I really was and appreciated it. Uni was my chance to blossom a bit, but I don't think it was till my early 20s before I really felt like I was comfortable with me and I had shed the awkward girl

I think Ugly Betty shows that smarts and sass can go a long way in the career world. Every industry has its stereotypes and people are hired based on impressions just as much as talent...its great that smarts and talent wins out!

Sesi said...

I spend most of my life believing that High School was horrible, and that I was a castout, my very own Ugly Betty, and all those dramatic things. I was constantly escorted by my BFF, who was a similar type as I was. About 15 years later, she told me that a kid about 5 years younger than us talked to her while chance meeting her on the street, and inquired about both of us were doing now, and that he clearly remembered us and the fact that we were so popular and so loved at school.
She called me as soon as he was out of sight, to tell me that we were both idiots, having all these complexes and unhappiness, while in reality we were trendsetters and all that stuff at school.
We tend to blow things out of proportions, while teenagers because of hormones going wild, as mature females, because of hormones going wild, as older women, because of hormones going wild.
It took me about 30 years and a very loving husband to learn to love myself, despite that extra Greek hair on my arm, or the little cellulide on my thigh, or my Greek temper. I am special, and so is everyone else, and as soon as you learn to accept that and respect yourself, your life will drastically and dramatically change.
But yes, it is comforting watching Ugly Betty on TV, mostly because it tells you that you -and I- are not alone.

And Bollybutton, happy anniversary and may you live a long and happy life in my country- soon to be yours too!:D

AL said...

The greek version somehow defeats the purpose right? The ugly betty turns into a princess and is not really that ugly in person.... I mean not to say that the American Betty is ugly but she embodies the role that beauty is really not only skin deep. And that normal average people can really be attractive in more than the usual way