Skin deep

What makes you mad?

I was intrigued to discover this week that a lady with remarkable authority and eyebrows was also a remarkable singer, but what got me really thinking was that:

1) I belong to a society where looks are so deeply associated with ability, desirability and innocence that we are genuinely shocked when this view is challenged (thank you Disney);

2) Programmes on both sides of the Atlantic that have auditioned thousands upon thousands of hopeful wannabes rarely meet people like Susan Boyle (is this a first?);

3) In order for Susan to sell music, she may find herself being persuaded to change her hairstyle, clothes, and indeed her entire look.

Must she?

Can’t the duckling choose to remain the way it is? Who says what is beautiful and why do we agree? What if we just wanted to listen to the music? What if we didn’t need our musicians to be beautiful?

Would Beethoven have made it today if he had had the Cowell treatment? Would Mozart have been told to sort his ridiculous hair out and wait a few more years until he was ready for the limelight? Would Churchill ever have won an election if he was born a century later?

I thank my lucky seagulls that I am no swan and therefore do not have to consider the heights and depths of fame, politics or reality television. My looks place me about right to be a twenty-first century stay at home mum and consultant theologian. I would sew elbow patches on, but I don’t have the time or the machine.


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