Paglia on Taylor

I could not care less about Elizabeth Taylor’s life, loves, or death, but I knew Paglia would have something interesting to say about the death of one of her favored icons:

To me, Elizabeth Taylor’s importance as an actress was that she represented a kind of womanliness that is now completely impossible to find on the U.S. or U.K. screen. It was rooted in hormonal reality — the vitality of nature. She was single-handedly a living rebuke to postmodernism and post-structuralism, which maintain that gender is merely a social construct. Let me give you an example. Lisa Cholodenko’s “The Kids Are All Right” is a truly wonderful film, but Julianne Moore and Annette Bening — who is fabulous in it and should have won the Oscar for her portrayal of a prototypical contemporary American career woman — were painfully scrawny to look at on the screen. This is the standard starvation look that is now projected by Hollywood women stars — a skeletal, Pilates-honed, anorexic silhouette, which has nothing to do with females as most of the world understands them. There’s something almost android about the depictions of women currently being projected by Hollywood.

Now, I happen to prefer very slender women, but I am the only one out of all of my friends who do. They used to mock me for it, so I can’t imagine that they feel significantly different than Paglia does on the subject. But the Hollywood push for what she terms android women is little different than its push for multi-racial couples or multi-ethnic parties. And I have never seen a single black man or woman walking around in the real world with the hipster semi-fro that every token black individual appears to be sporting in television advertisements.

However, Paglia’s tribute to Taylor is also demonstrative of the way in which the first great wave of immigration helped wash away the moral norms of the nation. Taylor’s appeal to an adolescent Paglia shows the direct line from Taylor to Girls Gone Wild and the multimedia prostitutes of Vivid.