The more I thought about her, the more disturbed I became. Why is the audience so mean? Because she's not thin, young and pretty? Why are the judges so stunned? Because a plain person isn't supposed to be talented? It's such a surprise to hear her voice come out of her "frumpy" face? Is this what we've come to that we are so surprised when beauty comes in a plain package? UGH. She would never have caused such hype if she came in a young and pretty package. Instead, the media has decided to latch on to her looks, her virginity, her inept social skills (hip wiggle and inability to remember the word "village") and sell it to us as some hugely incongruous and odd package and we are eating it up! We should be ashamed of ourselves!
The message of the show seems to be that older, frumpy women with bushy eyebrows deserve to be ridiculed unless by some amazing chance they happen to be able to sing.
2 thought provoking articles from the Huffington Post:
Like millions of viewers, I was thrilled and moved when 47-year-old Susan Boyle wowed the judges and audience on Britain's Got Talent with her superb singing. As everyone knows by now, the unmarried, "never been kissed" woman from a small village was greeted by both the audience and the talent show's judges with derision when she first took the stage. Looking matronly in her somewhat frumpy dress and unkempt hair, her appearance initially elicited smug, condescending and even cruel smirks, smiles and chuckles. What could this "un-cool," plain-spoken woman have to offer? What right did she have to share the stage with all those young, pretty, talented people?
What would the judges and the audience have thought, and said, had her voice been a creaky rasp, or an out-of-tune shriek? Would she still possess that "inner beauty?" Would we still acknowledge that the derisive treatment she received before performing was callous, insensitive and cruel?
The unspoken message of this whole episode is that, since Susan Boyle has a wonderful talent, we were wrong to judge her based on her looks and demeanor. Meaning what? That if she couldn't sing so well, we were correct to judge her on that basis? That demeaning someone whose looks don't match our impossible, media-reinforced standards of beauty is perfectly okay, unless some mitigating circumstance makes us re-think our opinion?
But I have no doubt that, had she performed poorly, Simon Cowell would be rolling his eyes still. And the audience would have hooted and booed with the relish of Roman spectators at the Colosseum. And that Susan Boyle's appearance on the show would still be on YouTube, but as an object of derision and ridicule.
So let's not be too quick to congratulate ourselves for taking her so fully to our hearts. We should've done that anyway, as we should all those we encounter who fall outside the standards of youth and beauty as promulgated by fashion magazines, gossip sites, and hit TV shows.
And from Mark Blakenship's article "2 Reasons Susan Boyle Means So Much To Us":
But as fabricated as it is, her on-camera arc is undeniably moving.
Susan Boyle has a lovely, amateur's voice. It's hard to tell though, with all the emotional, heart string tugging edits on the show. For comparison's sake, here is Ruthie Henshall singing the same song. I think she blows Susan Boyle out of the water, but since we are not "set up" by the editing and TV-land reality show manipulations, it's hard to differentiate.