All That Glitters Ain’t (Banarasi) Gold

waterredcarpet.jpgApparently the only surprise about Deepa Mehta’s Water losing out on the Best Foreign Film award last night was that the eventual winner wasn’t Pan’s Labyrinth, the consensus favorite, but rather The Lives of Others, by an impossibly tall German director with an impossibly aristocratic Prussian name. So there’s little gnashing of teeth or rending of garments in the Indian press today, simply matter-of-fact recognition that “India’s Oscar jinx” carries on. It’s also apparently a known fact (I never get to the movies, so I’m just repeating what I read) that the entire field for the foreign-film award was extremely strong. So no injustice here any way you cut it.

However, I am rather exercised at the Monday morning snub from the newspaper round-ups of red carpet fashion, which roundly ignore the gorgeous heirloom gold-threaded Banarasi sari in which Mehta graced the ceremony. Los Angeles Times, New York Times — no one paid the slightest notice, positive or negative, to the passage across the red carpet of the Water crew. Even my mellow Hank Stuever in the Washington Post — political, worldly, and queer as the proverbial three-dollar bill — ignored the desi contingent, his confessed ogling of Ryan Gosling affording John Abraham no residual love.

Oh well. Perhaps it’s all for the best that our peoples passed by under the radar, considering the standard-issue snark that’s become de rigueur in such coverage. Or perhaps coverage was the point — body coverage, that is: with so much exposed bosom and leg to take in — let alone Jack Nicholson’s creepily depilated dome — those who took cover in dignified, discreet outfits necessarily condemned themselves to oblivion in the morning news.

deepatoronto.jpg Deepa could have joined the flesh parade, had she wanted to match up against Meryl Streep and Helen Mirren in the “do they still got it?” division, a bit of a rigged fixture for a director against two actresses. The dresses were there for the wearing, but the sista had a much better plan:

They must have been throwing clothes at Mehta once the nominations were announced.

“Yes, they were,” she admits. “Chanel, Armani, Prada etc. … approached me. `No, thank you. I’m wearing my mother’s sari.’ For one thing, I’ll never wear a dress in my life: I’m more blue jeans and cargo pants. It was just a question of what sari.”

Her mother’s sari was part of her trousseau.

“My paternal grandmother gave it to my mom when she got married,” she recalls. “It’s gold but because it is so old (from the ’40s), it’s burnished. It’s very subtle. The gold thread is a weave not done anymore. It’s gorgeous and it’s personal. It’s Mom’s.

“And Bulgari wanted to do my jewellery. But I’ll wear my antique Indian jewellery because it goes with the sari.”

Read the full, friendly feature from the Toronto Star here. As for the Oscars, if you’re feeling the pain of desi exclusion, the Economic Times offers you here a kind of consolation.

196 thoughts on “All That Glitters Ain’t (Banarasi) Gold

  1. Divya(#147), far be it from me to suggest that men and women should be treated with the same decency, or to impinge on your right to pick on your desi sister(or should I say grandmother) for completely inane reasons. I was just shocked by the brutality of some of the comments above, but since the ladies don’t seem to have a problem with it, I will just rejoice in the happy accident that I am male and leave it at that.

  2. Sakshi (# 151)

    Actually some ladies do have a problem with it .At least I do .

    Did you see Spike Lee( whose work I truly admire) and what a sorry figure he cut on the red carpet? I bet ya that nowhere in cyberspace is he being subjected to such vicious attacks as DM has been on this board.

    chick pea ( # 148) It’s not enough to just accept that there is a double standard.Change has to start somewhere

    I am sick and tired of the double standard that women are subjected to . For example: I have yet to see a single article that sensibly analyzes Katie Couric’s switch to evening TV without mnentioning her “perkiness”, “blondeness” or good looks.

  3. I am sick and tired of the double standard that women are subjected to

    i am too, but i don’t see anything happening (in my lifetime anyways). what do you suggest?

    (agree with your katie couric remarks.. same goes for diane sawyer (she won some beauty contest back in her day))..

  4. Sakshi – You’re going to have to trust that I’m not a complete idiot who’s indifferent about the fact that women are often humiliated. I was simply responding to the undercurrent in many of the comments here that women’s looks and clothes ought to matter as little as men’s. This is the only issue I am addressing. Womens’ appearances are way more exciting than mens’ and it is not surprising more time is spent discussing (and expecting more of) women than men in this regard. This is about the world of glamour, as many people have pointed out, so let us not lose sight of the context. I personally would die if I had to sit through an analysis of George Lucas’ outfit. I do not see it as being sexist or having double standards in the hypocritical sense. That’s just the way it is. I do see something wrong with the attitude that smart, self-respecting women need not care about beauty and clothes. If the comments were too cruel that’s another matter, but as a public figure she’s officially fair game. And to the extent she’s repping some of us, she could have taken the responsibility more seriously.

    Similarly, I don’t agree with the sentiment that the desi contingent ought to have been given more recognition. They’re in the global arena and simply do not have the megawattage it takes to generate even a flicker of interest. Can’t insist on equality when they clearly don’t measure up.

    As for Katie Couric – imo, she’s a bimbo if ever there was one and I’m not surprised she gets treated like one.

  5. Chick pea, ( Have’nt yet figured out how to incorporate specific comments in my reply – I am a blog virgin)

    For starters: Not letting the double standard go unchallenged ever.

    It really saddens me that women themselves contribute to this. All that I want to see is a level playing field.If Anderosn Cooper’s contributions to journalism can be analyzed without referencing his looks , so should Katie Couric’s.By all means criticize her performance – just don’t drag her looks and clothes into every analysis. If I remember rightly, some moronic journalist actually asked her what she planned to wear for her first appearance on evening TV.If she were a man, she would never have been asked such a patronizing question.

    Anyway that’s just me venting.Like desishiksa ,I sometimes think that I live in an alternate universe where this discussion would be moot

  6. If I remember rightly, some moronic journalist actually asked her what she planned to wear for her first appearance on evening TV.If she were a man, she would never have been asked such a patronizing question

    I don’t think people like Daljit Dhaliwal (or some of the other women journalists at PBS) would get asked this type of question so I’m dubious about the theory that it has something to do with being a woman rather than the fact that she’s actually a bimbo. Btw, I think Anderson Cooper is referred to as sexy. And since this is the age of the metrosexual, once Al Roker retires I’ll bet his replacement will be all cute and ripped.

  7. By all means criticize her performance – just don’t drag her looks and clothes into every analysis

    Absolutely – there have been other threads in which the film was discussed with no mention of appearance, because it isn’t relevant to whether she’s a good filmmaker or not. But don’t be surprised that people discuss her appearance when the original post is about “the Monday morning snub from the newspaper round-ups of red carpet fashion, which roundly ignore the gorgeous heirloom gold-threaded Banarasi sari in which Mehta graced the ceremony.” And fashions are a part of the whole Oscars tamasha, which is why the question came up. True, journos probably wouldn’t have asked a man what he was planning to wear on the red carpet, and if Mehta thought it an unfair question, she should have said “what I wear is not important” rather than speaking in numerous interviews about her jewellry and sari.

    At this point I think Sakshi is probably right to say that the main reason the Water crew weren’t noticed was that the film wasn’t a big enough deal and they weren’t big shots. Perhaps the presentation didn’t matter after all.

  8. There’s a dress code for the office, the swimming pool and even some restaurants. Imo DM had an obligation to make herself as presentable as she possibly could for the occasion.

    For crying out loud, it’s not like she showed up wearing a gunny sack. She was wearing a Benarasi sari!!! In what way was she not presentable???

  9. If Anderosn Cooper’s contributions to journalism can be analyzed without referencing his looks , so should Katie Couric’s.

    Anderson Cooper’s contributions to journalism ARE analyzed WITH reference to his looks. Google it.

  10. For crying out loud, it’s not like she showed up wearing a gunny sack. She was wearing a Benarasi sari!!! In what way was she not presentable???

    For crying out loud, where did I make a judgment on DM’s appearance? My entire post where you pulled this out of talks about the principle of the thing. Some people (including it seems DM) are implying precisely that it doesn’t matter if you show up in a gunny sack. It’s this attitude I am challenging whether it comes from DM herself or the commenters.

  11. Ok .If you want to quibble,

    I withdraw the “Anderon Cooper” bit and substitute “Tim Russert “.My contention is simply this: Judge professionals as professionals, not as men or women and try to apply the same yardstick to both.

    I have gone through this crap my entire professional life – in India and here – and enough already!

    Desishiksa , The cardinal sin that DM committed is not wearing lipstick evidently

  12. Some people (including it seems DM) are implying precisely that it doesn’t matter if you show up in a gunny sack. It’s this attitude I am challenging whether it comes from DM herself or the commenters.

    I guess I just don’t understand why everyone thinks she doesn’t care about her appearance. The referenced newspaper article goes into great depth about her outfit, which she clearly thinks is special and took the trouble to bring all the way from India. I don’t think she was implying, either by the way she was dressed, or by anything she said, that she doesn’t care about how she looks. All she said was she didn’t like lipstick, which everyone is assuming is a stand against makeup, but could very well just be a personal preference. But apparently it’s inappropriate not to wear lipstick.

    As someone who loves clothes I am a fan of wearing the right outfit for the right occasion. I just don’t get why her outfit is the wrong one. I’m not in love with it, but I thought it was appropriate.

  13. Sakshi

    Why do you carry a female name on this board? Are you not some guy? I find that very offensive to women. Please change it.

  14. I think what DM lacked was critical meta-awareness of the Oscars and their function….and that’s fine her films are not studio backed…she doesn’t really have to play the game to the hilt. So she chose not to. She did her own thing.

    Siddhartha..post 121 was priceless! I dug out my copy of Edutainment just to remember a time when hip-hop had weight :(

  15. Actually some ladies do have a problem with it .At least I do .

    Runa, thanks. I just realized the points I made had already been made by you and Desishiksa.

    SP:

    But your point about women being easy targets for their appearance is well taken. It’s easy to slip into – mea culpa.

    Sorry I missed your comment earlier. Peace.

    Divya, personally I will never countenance the kind of brutal scrutiny DM has been subjected to on this thread if I can help it and I find it in extremely bad taste. I also don’t think I have a duty to look good for the aesthetic pleasure of others, beyond being presentable and not smelling of garlic. You seem to think that’s okay for a guy but the rules are different for women. Maybe, maybe not, I don’t know. However, thats an issue of how women treat each other and does not concern me directly, so I am bowing out of this thread.

  16. Fashion Artist:

    Sakshi Why do you carry a female name on this board? Are you not some guy? I find that very offensive to women. Please change it.

    Well, Sakshi is a name both for girls and boys. It means “Observer/Witness” to translate it roughly. I am not sure why you are anyone would find it offensive to women!

  17. Thanks, musical :) .

    Well, I picked the name sakshi because I happened to have lying around a book of Kabir’s poems, which are called sakshi in hindi, around the time I typed in my first comment on SM. I’ve seen a lot of extremely clever names on SM, but nothing else came to mind just then, and I guess I am stuck now :( .

  18. Runa (#155):

    Like desishiksa ,I sometimes think that I live in an alternate universe where this discussion would be moot

    ¡¡¡BOY HOWDY!!!

    Right on desishiksa, sakshi, and Runa.

  19. I can see now why online debates spiral out of control – everyone picks up on something that someone said in their own way. Fair enough. As I was the one who raised the issue of lipstick, let me clarify the sense in which I mentioned it – it was in the context of a discussion on why the press hadn’t paid attention to DM/why she hadn’t shown up in Oscars fashion photos given her nice antique sari and careful vintage look and so on. I felt she and the crew didn’t play to the cameras enough, didn’t think about what would be photogenic, and part of it was the strange imbalance in DM’s makeup (which she was wearing!) that made her lips disappear because she refused to wear lipstick. I also found it ironic that she chose to take a stand against lipstick when she had no problem with the other elements of dress-up. Desishiksa is quite right to say that it’s not like DM didn’t care about how she looked – she clearly put a lot of thought and effort into her appearance. But it didn’t quite “work.” Oh well. Lisa Ray was actually photographed by herself in a more classically fashion-y pose, but that didn’t get much coverage either, as I later found out, so perhaps self-presentation didn’t make any difference at the end after all.

    In the larger debates about women and makeup and sexism, I’d lean more towards the feminist side and certainly don’t wear makeup on a daily basis. Can’t say I see DM in this case as a poster-child for staking out an anti-lookist position or something, however.

  20. Ugh, I just read some of the earlier comments. They really put the ASS in assumption and serve to demonstrate why the navel-gazing spectacle of the Oscars just needs to roll over and DIE.

    It’s supposed to be about FILM, people! GOOD FILM!

    Just because some people don’t perform the spectacle of the red crapet blingfest doesn’t make a bloody difference to whether or not their film was good, bad, or deserving of an Oscar. What, so just because Deepa Mehta didn’t wear lipstick this time around means an Indian film won’t be nominated for the next ten years???

    Psst… don’t tell anyone, but I heard the reason the industry is still so white male-dominated is because Halle Berry didn’t show enough cleavage when she won best actress…

  21. Ok, lotsa people to address on lotsa points…..

    Divya(#147), far be it from me to suggest that men and women should be treated with the same decency, or to impinge on your right to pick on your desi sister(or should I say grandmother) for completely inane reasons. I was just shocked by the brutality of some of the comments above, but since the ladies don’t seem to have a problem with it, I will just rejoice in the happy accident that I am male and leave it at that.
    Sakshi (# 151) Actually some ladies do have a problem with it .At least I do .

    Sakshi, you got one more here. I’ve been strenuously avoiding this thread, but lest anyone else is confused about this sista on sista violence, please know that not all women subscribe to the gendering of propriety that you see in many of the above comments. Like Runa, I must also “live in an alternate universe where this discussion would be moot”. I should count my blessings.

    SP, your last comment is well taken, but on this point:

    In the larger debates about women and makeup and sexism, I’d lean more towards the feminist side and certainly don’t wear makeup on a daily basis.

    I hope the feminist in you can see that despite what you really meant with your comments, the discussion took an ugly (pun intended) direction that needs to be called out. I realize that showing up at the Oscars makes you fodder for this kind of bashing, but one should also realize that what one says about the subject reflects a lot about oneself too. The only thing NOT painfully trivial about most of these comments is their subtext, which implies subscriptions to the decadent expectations of Hollywood and/or sexism. (If I actually gave a shit about celebrity clothes and makeup, my thoughts on this would be along the lines of desishiksa’s comments, bless her sensibility.)

    What really pisses me off are misogynistic generalizations that come from women themselves (I know why it happens, but it still pisses me off). I can concede to the “When in Rome…” argument, but I damn near had a conniption after reading this one by JOAT: “very few women especially Mehta, look good natural”. Dear JOAT, I’m sorry you were indoctrinated with such a bullshit notion (and sorry yet if it was your own genius idea), but FFS, please don’t declare it like it’s some kind of universal truth about women.

    On a more elevated kind of essentialization… Divya:

    First, why must women and men have the same standards for everything? Men have their own constraints and pressures (and they’re not entirely exempt from being judged on their looks either). But the truth is that women just happen to be more into beauty and clothes. While I agree this can be over the top at times, it seems equally stifling to expect women not to be into beauty and clothes.
    Sakshi – You’re going to have to trust that I’m not a complete idiot who’s indifferent about the fact that women are often humiliated. I was simply responding to the undercurrent in many of the comments here that women’s looks and clothes ought to matter as little as men’s. This is the only issue I am addressing. Womens’ appearances are way more exciting than mens’ and it is not surprising more time is spent discussing (and expecting more of) women than men in this regard. This is about the world of glamour, as many people have pointed out, so let us not lose sight of the context.

    You should take your own advice about the context. You actually invoke some pretty interesting theories (i.e. agency within gender constraints), but then you don’t see them through, and instead you end up making arguments that are almost as shallow and obtuse as JOAT’s. I mean, WHY are women more into beauty and clothes?? The discussion is annoying in the first place, but if you wanted to take it in a more productive direction, then that should have been your question. That, and WHY is it stifling to expect women not to be into beauty and clothes? WHY do we find women’s appearences more “exciting” than men’s? etc. Nothing “just happens” to exist in the way that it does. If you leave it at “just happens” you reinforce the notion that superficiality and frivolous materialism is natural in women.

  22. Sorry if that ^^ was unnecessarily shrill or crude… I’m sleepy and listening to “Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya (na ki jo)”, so I’m cranky…

  23. Shruti

    I actually had a short paragraph which might have alleviated your concerns, but then had to go so I just deleted it instead of sending out something incoherent. Your point that I left the job unfinished is well taken.

    Much respect to the feminists for all their pioneering work. The plight women were in at the time probably prevented them from setting their sights on anything beyond equality with men. But in so doing they neglected the fact that women are actually way superior to men in many ways – their empathy, sense of family responsibility, better endurance under pressure, etc. Men have their own strengths of course. I think it’s important to note these differences instead of straitjacketing both sexes together in all aspects.

    Secondly, the feminist discourse today is such that there is a tacit acceptance of the fact that the standard to aim for is the standard set by men. This is the part that gets to me more than anything else and the only reason I came in here in the first place.

    What’ s worse is that feminism is no longer the radical, pure phenomenon it used to be. It is a deeply-entrenched, dogmatic, political ideology that does more harm than good. Consider the lynching Larry Summers received for daring to suggest that women were less inclined towards math and science. Note he did not say they were worse at math and science. How can we ever get to answer the why of anything if this is the attitude? Having said that, I think the why question is only important if you’re seeking to remedy something. Otherwise, even an Aristotle would rest with the conclusion that this is the way things just are (and vive la difference).

  24. Consider the lynching Larry Summers received for daring to suggest that women were less inclined towards math and science. Note he did not say they were worse at math and science.

    Actually, Summers did suggest that differences in intrinsic aptitude are responsible, in part, for the dearth of women in the sciences. What he said was more complicated than just ‘women are dumber than men,’ though – he suggested that men exhibit more variability in certain cognitive skills than women, so there may be more men than women on both the high and low ends of the spectrum.

  25. What’ s worse is that feminism is no longer the radical, pure phenomenon it used to be. It is a deeply-entrenched, dogmatic, political ideology that does more harm than good.

    Not at all. Feminism is like rock and roll — it is half a century old, and by now has many branches, styles, flows, beats, rhythms, degrees of depth and coherence, interpreters and critics, as well as numerous internal dissensions and beefs. As is true of virtually any broad-based cultural movement as it evolves over the years. It is, in fact, not dogmatic at all, even if some of its individual theorists and practitioners may have dogmatic impulses. Unlike, say, Catholicism, in which there exists a central authority that promulgates dogma, and which is therefore much easier to characterize with confidence, even if it too houses disagreements and at least a little bit of eclecticism. Show me a “dogmatic, political, ideological feminist” and I’ll show you another who profoundly disagrees with her or him on some important matters of theory, public policy, or ethical conduct.

    The elements of critique you raise in your previous paragraphs, Divya, are very useful ones – indeed they capture some of the debate that exists among people who identify as feminists. It’s too bad that you feel the need to move from that kind of thoughtful raising of issues to taking down a straw (wo)man, which is what someone less thoughtful and with less grasp on the issues might have done.

  26. I should add that calling feminism “the radical, pure phenomenon it used to be” is romanticizing. Its roots were political and in struggle and contradition, thus really not pure at all, especially in the pragmatic American varieties. But even European feminism could scarcely be considered to have “pure” roots, considering for instance the personal life of Simone de Beauvoir, or the conditions prevailing for female academics at the time (and still in some respects today).

  27. Feminism is like rock and roll — it is half a century old, and by now has many branches, styles, flows, beats, rhythms, degrees of depth and coherence, interpreters and critics, as well as numerous internal dissensions and beefs.

    I’d say I’m guilty of romanticizing – I got a lot from the feminists of the past. But look at the above! Downright seductive.

    By pure I guess I just meant that the fight was a good fight. Unlike today. Larry Summers was axed simply for trying to find out why things were the way they were. I do agree that there are a broad variety of feminists. We may live our personal lives in relative freedom but we’re not the one’s who set the political agenda.

  28. Feminism … is half a century old… ”

    While femminism might be but 50 (slightly younger than Mehta) the presence of matrilineal societies and cultures goes back. Ladies have been doing it for themselves for a while now, with or without lipstick.

  29. Shruti – the feminist in me definitely winced at some of the comments, though I think that sort of thing is hard to avoid in discussing fashion, and I agree with a lot of what you say above.

    I think there are two elements of your critique here that are conflated and that I’d like to separate and partially disagree with, however. One is the argument that women and men are held to different standards for appearance and that is wrong – that I agree with wholeheartedly. The other part about lookism in general and subscribing to the “decadent expectations of Hollywood,” I’m less sure about, because a) I don’t think human beings can ever completely avoid making aesthetic judgements about other human beings and being attracted to them on the basis of appearance (I say this as someone who objectifies men – mmm, Clooney – regularly), it’s the rare person who has never prettified themselves for a special occasion, and I think all of us have judged others on the basis of appearance at some point, so it’s tricky to be all pious about lookism much as we might have ethical concerns about its wider implications; and b) I think DM made a conscious choice to subscribe to the expectations of Hollywood/mass film audiences with her decision to cast pretty faces (Lisa Ray and John Abraham are really just glorified models) in her film, and I think it would be a bit hypocritical to pretend that she was some sort of poor innocent arty filmmaker staking out an honest position in the midst of all the faux glitz. That’s probably what irked me and got me going on a bit of a rant.

    I really disagree with the essentialisation of male-female difference in some of the other comments, though, and particularly the typically desi “we’re not equal, we’re better” argument as a way of pretending sexism doesn’t exist, or categorising all existing inequalities as essential and harmless isn’t a huge problem.

  30. Saira,

    This is off-topic, but I would like this to operate as my official plea for you to start a fashion/style/insider-make-up-tips blog. Now. Seriously. We need you.

    ~SemiDesiMasala

  31. Shruti (# 173)

    Thank you, Thank you ! Applause! Don’t apologize ..you said it all and very well !

    Vivek ( # 170) Thanks for the validation !

  32. I don’t see DM as that much of a principled outsider arty-filmmaker type, though. I mean, one wants to, she fits the mould sometimes, but with this movie I felt she really was focused on marketing and particularly marketing to the West, with the prettification of actors/scenery, random colourful Holi scene that showed up on all the promos, the bookend dramatic quotes, etc. And I almost felt like she was trying to play up the retro-chic bit with the interviews about her grandmother’s sari and antique jewellry and all that.

    I agree. I couldn’t stand “Water” because as far as I’m concerned it just re-glorified women as defined by romance and men. You know, to me, it would have been a far better movie if the Lisa Ray character had decided to stay in the widow’s ashram to be with Chuyia, at least until the kid is a bit older. Being a sister is fully as important, and sometimes more so, than being a wife. I saw her leaving as a really terrible abandonment. I must admit though, I’m a bit hazy about whether she had to leave to escape being forced to be a prostitute; if that was the case, ok, fair enough. Go you must, although escaping into the arms of a man isn’t my idea of a radical feminist statement.

    And yes, I agree that this movie was very Western-audience conscious. As a movie, “Water” seemed to derive much of its meaning by its context –the protests, the self-consciousness of an Indian “issue” movie — more than what it in itself had to offer.

  33. SemiDesiMasala: blush, but I’ll defer my fashion rants & raves in favour of yuor checking out JaneofallTrades’s blog, as she is quite on the money with her fashion insights as well…her’s is one of the very few blogs that speaks from the inside out. Not to mention, she’s such a hottie to look at.

  34. I’ll defer my fashion rants & raves in favour of yuor checking out JaneofallTrades’s blog, as she is quite on the money with her fashion insights as well

    worry not, I’m a regular reader of JOAT’s blog… you just sound like you have a lot of fab tips to contribute :)

  35. I am a regular fan as well, but many thanks for the compliment. I just work in LA and see the styles from the inside out. Maybe we should all ban together on JOAT’s blog to demand what we really want to read: the truth behind gloss!

  36. Natasha, you have said beautifully what most Indians feel about DM and her movies.

  37. Natasha – yeah, it was kind of Cinderella/Pretty Woman-ish in a sense, wasn’t it? The tragically beautiful one being saved and redeemed by the handsome elite Gandhian. Not that you’d imagine a nice-looking prostituted widow and a highminded but still red-blooded male to do any different, I suppose. The film might not have attracted as wide of a viewership if she had stuck to a more classic art-house aesthetic and format and kept it gritty, and I suppose that’s the point, she was trying to bridge audiences. It was very much a form of Chicken Soup for the Middlebrow PBS-Watching Soul. Better than melodramatic unsubtle stuff like Mtrityudand, but not at all at the same level as a Khamosh Paani.

  38. Okay, I think I finally figured out what exactly was bothering me about this whole thing if anyone’s still reading. Speaking of Cinderalla, remember how all the fairy-tales, and many of the time-honored myths somehow manage to equate beauty with goodness? And a bad character with ugliness? That’s no longer the case but I think something of the reverse has happened. At least judging from the simplistic way some of us have been characterized. By no means did I bear the brunt of it but I nevertheless feel I was forced to flaunt my feminist credentials in order to prove that I wasn’t some sort of a shallow person. So Shruti, to answer one of your questions, that’s what is so stifling. We should be able to freely hold forth on the relative merits of the natural vs. the painted look on Oscar night without being deemed to be intellectually and morally as low as Cinderalla’s step sisters. None of us really falls for the gimmicky names and actually believes that lipstick is the way to Nirvana. So wherever this backlash came from, I don’t think it’s a good place to be and is definitely pandering to something or the other (men perhaps?)

  39. thank you, huey, for reminding us to talk about Noureen Dewulf. Talk about A) hot B) talented!! and she was the lead in oscar winning West Bank Story!

    Here is her myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/noureendewulf and her imdb profile: http://imdb.com/name/nm1715275/.

    I loved West Bank story. And how awesome was it that the director spoke about peace between Israel and Palestine when he accepted the award. The only reason it might seem like a bollywood musical is because it is a musical. There is nothing else in common between West Bank Story and bollywood. So Ardy, you might want to watch again–considering how well it did at film festivals (including sundance) you might be alone in your opinion that it is “cheesy”.

  40. Shruti, I realize it’s been a few days since I saw this thread and didn’t realize an off the cuff comment would piss you off so much because you took bits and pieces of what I wrote and missed the whole point and I don’t want to hash it out. I haven’t unfortunately been able to completely understand you between the quotes and unquotes where they should be so forgive me if I’m being redundant.

    You are entitled to your opinion which I’m not going to call bullshit like you called mine. I was simply calling out the women that seem to think natural always is such a great thing when infact you need SPF protection at the least these days and natural can very well age you and make you look like hell. Some women enjoy it, most don’t. Yes I’ll go on a limb and make that assumption. And yeah a lot of women hold up the natural cause like it’s a war sign that they are untouchable. Really it is purely superficial I don’t know why you’d think that it isn’t a valid viewpoint just because it’s superficial.

    No one in their right mind would imply makeup should replace and change you who are or alter you completely for that matter. However I’m not going to go down that route. It’s a thread about the film industry for crying out loud really how much more damn superficial can it get than that?

    SDM & Saira, My gosh ladies. Seriously I’m a fan of the gems Saira so rarely graces us with and she needs her own blog. She’s in the thick of it, the pro. I’m just an amateur at this shit.

  41. natural can very well age you and make you look like hell

    While I agree that it’s all superficial (and I think being superficial in the right context), I think you’re missing the point that it’s just your opinion, but you said it like it was a universal truth when you originally said that very few women look good natural. I don’t think you’re one of those people who thinks they are only beautiful with makeup on, but I kind of feel bad for people who do, and I think it just reinforces that feeling in them when they hear stuff like that from someone attractive. For example, I get up 15 minutes early (and let me tell you, it’s a bitch when you get up before dawn every day to begin with ) every morning to blow dry my wavy hair straight. I like it better that way, but I like it better for me, not everyone else. If I said something like “very few wavy haired women look good with their hair natural”, that might make a lot of wavy haired women feel bad, don’t you think? It was the implication in your words that I and others objected to.

  42. but you said it like it was a universal truth when you originally said that very few women look good natural

    It was a personal opinion of course not the universal truth. Most of the banter here is opinion isnt it while we are on the superficialities of the topic; but your point is well taken. Most was a bad word. I take it back. I should have used a clearer term when I was actually thinking of those women who use it as a badge of beauty but could really use a little bit of help to look their best and I tried to clarify but I suppose it got lost.