Day 16–Popular…it’s all about popular

I LOVE the musical Wicked.  If you live in Tucson and you haven’t seen this musical it’s coming soon and I highly recommend it.  It’s a great story of friendship and overcoming the evil establishment who oppresses the outcasts.  The music is exceptional and it’s hilarious, too.  On my darkest days I imagine that I’m Elphaba singing, “I’m defying gravity!” at the top of my lungs.  In my imagination I’m awesome.

One of the songs in Wicked  is named Popular.  Galinda (the good witch) does a makeover of sorts on the green skinned wicked witch of the west, Elphaba.  In the song she promises to make Elphaba popular by showing her “what shoes to wear, how to fix her hair, everything that really counts to be popular.”  Elphaba isn’t so sure about this much needed change in her life.  She’s actually pretty secure with herself.  But no matter.  Galinda reminds her of a fundamental truth when she sings:  “When I see depressing creatures, with unprepossessing features, I remind them on their own behalf to – think – of celebrated heads of state, or specially great communicators!  Did they have brains or knowledge?  Don’t make me laugh! They were POPULAR! Please! it’s all about popular. It’s not about aptitude, it’s the way you’re viewed, so it’s very shrewd to be, very very popular like ME!”  Ok…better yet follow this link and watch 2 minutes of the song on youtube–

Is there some truth to what Galinda sings?  It’s not about aptitude…it’s the way you’re viewed so its very shrewd to be popular.  What makes us popular?  It’s our appearance….the shoes we wear, how we fix our hair. How attractive we are to other people.    That’s what counts in this world.  I’m purposefully not doing any internet research to prove this point.  But I bet I wouldn’t have to look very long and hard at all before I found a number of studies that shows how “attractive” people are more successful, make more money, and hold higher positions at work than people who are considered unattractive.  This leads me to wonder if I’m considered more “attractive” to the world with make up on than without makeup.  It also leads me to think about bucking the system and never wearing makeup again because in a perfect world we would be considered for our character and not our appearance.  (Hmmmm…that’s not an original thought…thank you Dr. King).  What are the ways we show preference to people we consider beautiful or attractive?  Do we buy into the myth that being attractive makes someone more competent or do we allow people to show us who they are through their actions?  Let’s all do our best to buck the system and recognize that, although it sounds cliche, truly being attractive is about our developed character.

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