This afternoon my two sons and I saw the newly released Fantastic Four. At the risk of sounding plebian, I found that I enjoyed the movie, which had a bit more of a plot than its original. Another surprise was my unexpected fascination with the actress, Jessica Alba. There are some films and some actors that absolutely captivate me. Meryl Streep immediately comes to mind. Her beauty, voice, and inner motivation make her compelling to watch. Jessica Alba is no Meryl. What I found so striking about her was her unrealness. About five minutes into the movie, I turned to my ten-year-old and asked, "Does she look normal to you?" I must admit, his "Huh?" and look of "What are you talking about?" left me a bit concerned. For in today's world, Jessica looked anything but normal. Her blue eyes with visible contact lenses, her blonde hair bleached the color of straw, her endowed breasts perched on top of an extremely slender body all made Barbie look almost human. Yet to my ten-year-old, her appearance left no mark on the landscape, her face just another face in the crowd.

Later I asked my twelve-year-old what he thought about Jessica's appearance. "She looked strange," Sam replied. "How so?" I asked. "Her face wasn't right." We discussed this for a bit and came to the agreement that her eyes in particular kind of freaked us both out. Now I admit, growing up Hispanic in a white neighborhood, I truly envied my blue-eyed, blonde-haired cousins and, yes, I was tempted to try colored contacts when they first arrived. Truth be told, it was more likely my adverse reaction to contact lenses in general than any deeply-held feminist beliefs that kept my brown eyes brown. What saddens me is how little has changed in the last twenty years. It seems that even with all the positive female role models a young woman can choose from, the strong pull to be blonde and blue-eyed remains. I suppose part of it is the fascination with trying something new, becoming a different and maybe slightly better version of yourself. All pontifications aside, what will it take for us to be satisfied with ourselves? Can such a world even exist? After all, it is that human drive within us all that has allowed us to touch the moon, to unravel the mysteries of our bodies, to question. If there is a line to cross, we have surely crossed it, for striving towards perfection has erased our blemishes, turning our very selves into one acceptable model.

So, to the Jessicas out there, I say you are who you are: one sperm, one egg, one you. If that isn't cool, I don't know what is. Enough said, my roots are showing.  

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