Sunday, February 11, 2007

Anna Nicole Smith and Kim Nowak

I have to weigh in on the media frenzy surrounding these two women. I can't hold my tongue any longer, so, fair warning -- rant on the way.

I am very disappointed in the number of people who seem to take great pleasure in ridiculing these two women. The really disappointing part is that many of the people who are taking part in this are supposedly respectable people. I would have thought that part of respectability would have included compassion, but perhaps I should now go find the definition for "respectable", because I certainly don't see much evidence of compassion in the things I've read about Anna Nicole Smith and Kim Nowak (astronaut).

Naturally, their behavior has been less than exemplary, at least in the good sense. If anything, they both serve as cautionary tales for women for different reasons. Anna Nicole seemed to lack any kind of moral barometer; Ms. Nowak seemed to lack a sense of propriety.

My take on Anna Nicole is that she had the idea that she was worth no more than what she could parlay with her body. Yes, she was pretty, but that prettiness came with a heavy (no pun intended) price tag -- she had to maintain it. It's one thing when you're in your late teens to early twenties, but quite another when you're over 30 - 35 and not quite as lithe or juvenile-looking as you were a decade or so ago. She had a lot of help with her delusional self-image -- many men and probably more than a few women certainly gave her the idea that all she had to do was look & act pretty and the world would be her oyster. But then reality set in -- she gained weight. We all know that's the worst thing a woman can do if she wants to be considered pretty. (I certainly hope you pick up on the semi-sarcastic tone here.) The media and people in general took great pleasure in her becoming heavier, as though this was something she "deserved".

As a woman who has battled weight issues since childhood, I know what it's like to be discounted and overlooked based on the way my body looks. In my case, the biggest problem was probably that people at times grossly underestimated my intelligence and abilities. I always felt like an outsider, a geek, a person who was unworthy, and not as "good" as other girls. To this very day I still find myself feeling a little intimidated around new people, especially people I admire and want to like me, and most especially if they are "pretty" women. Make that, "normal" women. I admitted this the other day to a friend, and learned that she always felt out of place herself, but because people assumed that she was just another pretty face, a piece of meat. Flip sides of the same coin, don't you think? Now, I've come a long way toward self-acceptance, and, frankly, I've lost 30 lbs since October. Guess how I did that? By INCREASING the amount I eat daily. Apparently, I have been eating too few calories to even allow weight loss in the false belief that not eating much would lead to weight loss. It was metabolic testing at the hands of an Endocrinologist that began helping me unravel the complex diet/weight history I've acquired. If only I'd been educated long ago -- or maybe if only my parents had been educated long ago...I don't know. Bottom line, I have better info now and I'm putting it to good use. But enough about me....

Kim Nowak, on the other hand, seemed like a woman who had it "all". She was an astronaut who actually walked in space. She was a wife, a mother, and who knows what all else. But for some reason, that wasn't enough. She developed a love rivalry around another astronaut, and made the dangerous decision to try to eliminate her "rival". Clearly, she'd thought through her intentions, but definitely not the consequences. Why did this intelligent, accomplished, heroic woman feel it necessary to act in a manner best suited for a high school gym? Why wasn't it ENOUGH to be who she was already? Why did she feel it necessary to be MORE than Superwoman? Now all anyone can focus on about this amazing woman is the fact that she (ingeniously) wore a diaper on her cross-country drive to enable her to avoid as many stops as possible.

I saw where someone wrote that they wondered where Ms. Nowak's girlfriends were who could have told her not to follow through with her idiotic and very ill-conceived ideas about revenge. I think they were where Anna Nicole's friends were -- non-existent.

Here's what I'm sayin' -- what does it say about our society that these things happen, and then that people seem to delight in the misfortunes of those who CLEARLY HAVE EMOTIONAL PROBLEMS??? What don't we understand about compromised mental health, whether by the choice of taking/abusing substances or by just plain bad luck with brain chemistry? Does no one remember that both of these women left CHILDREN in their wake? What about them? What will they feel when they read the nasty snide things people say about their Moms??? They didn't get a choice in that, but they will pay the price for their mothers' mistakes for the rest of their lives. They can't escape it.

I guess I'm still aching from so many family deaths in this last year -- if we can make it till February 19 without another passing, then we can say we only lost 6 people in our family this year. Six people that are mourned, warts and all. Six people who meant something to me, to my family. I'm probably being overly-sensitive, but I just find myself sad for these women and their utter confusion about their worth.

And, I just think it's wrong to make fun of people, public figures or not. Anna Nicole Smith and Kim Nowak were real people with real families and friends and feelings, just like all of us. I just wish we could all have a little more compassion, a little more consideration, a little more walking in the shoes of the current laughing stock on the news. A wise man once said "That which you do to the least of these, you do to me..." Makes you think....



RunAwayImagination said...

When events like these become national headlines, it gives us a chance to examine our national psyche.

I often wonder why fallen celebrities fascinate us so. A glance at the supermarket checkout magazines reveals nothing but celebrity infidelity, weight gain and drug addiction. It's as if their popularity makes us hate them at the same time we love them. Or hate them BECAUSE we love them.

Our priorities are out of line. I wonder if we'd have come to our senses sooner about Irag if we'd paid more attention to uncovering the administration's lies than watching "Survivor?"

These two women were troubled and badly needed help. I believe that life sends us messages if we will only listen to them. Maybe the lesson in these tragedies is to be more compassionate and less judgemental. Maybe it should teach us to concentrate on the important things in life and not just what sells products.

Genevieve said...

Wow, 30 pounds, Suzanne. What an accomplishment! I feel badly about those two women too. Such a tragedy that both have ended up in the way they have. I'm so tired of watching the media drool as they milk these stories for all they're worth, particularly Anna Nicole Smith.

christa said...

It really is sad that the media is having such a field day with these two ladies. It makes me sick to see all the different headlines, a new one every hour it seems, about Anna Nicole. A lot of them are disrespectful and they are unavoidable if you watch tv or are online at all throughout the day.

Anonymous said...

guess what? I live in a bubble now because I am too busy to do anything but school stuff, so I barely knew anything about either case. All together I've heard maybe 5 minutes about both cases, so I don't really have anything to contribute, besides people are stupid and I hate 'em.

Off to go take a shower to wipe dead man stink off of me (today we did the abdominal section and our dude totally had all sorts of crazy cancer inside of him). Then I am going to study anatomy for the next several hours. Gee whiz, I'm fun.

Sorry I don't have more to contribute. Great blog entry.


Anonymous said...

Bravo!!! This post was so great to read. Thank you for writing it. You said exactly how I feel about so many of the issues involved. I discovered you via my friend Graciel (you are linked to her blog - Evenstar Art.

I'm launching my own blog soon and I'll definitely be adding you to my blogroll.