Boyle, Susan Boyle, Beauty and… Oprah?

May 25, 2009 | Beauty and Style, On Motherhood, Pop Culture/Politics | 26 comments

I stumbled upon this. Apparently I live under a rock and am the last person to hear this story. Sure, I am probably way behind for lack of T.V. but it was news to me. Wonderful and disturbing as it was.

Susan Boyle.

Susan Boyle is a lovely lady who recently auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent. England’s version of a similar American program (ours is hosted by the sarcastic, brutal and hilarious Piers Morgan, the tacky, embarrassing Sharon Osborne and Germany’s favorite cheeseburger loving Eurogod; David Hasslehof.) Britan’s show is hosted by Simon Cowell, Piers Morgan (I’ve seen enough T.V. in the last couple years to know that I love both of them for their frank British pith and honesty) and some gorgeous blond Amanda Holden who SURELY could not have been born with those features. 

These shows seem to all have the same purpose; to ridicule those “wrongly” seeking fame and recognition and to further the worship of youth, sexiness and self. I am probably not being fair but hey, neither are the judges half the time.

Enter Susan Boyle from “po-dunk” Scotland. By all earthly standards frumpy, frizzy and naive. I am sure the producers saw this “poor soul” in the lobby waiting for her audition. They summed up the eagerness, age and “need of a makeover” and thought, now this will make great television! 

Well, I’ll let you experience 7 soul-searching minutes before I proceed…

Click here, sorry they wont let me post the video. So watch it and come right back.

 Now, I don’t know about you but at the risk of revealing what a sap I am – when she opened her mouth to sing I screamed “OH MY GOSH!” so loud that I woke my sleeping husband and then I simply cried. 

 It was the combination of the song selection, the sweetness of Susan and my disgust with our youth worshiping world. The way the people is the audience mocked her before she “proved herself” to them was gross. I suppose the judges have seen enough to be pretty jaded but even they should not assume the worst simply based on appearances either. Why is it that we look at someone with 30 or 40 extra pounds and frizzy unkempt hair and completely write them off as a…(and allow me to use one of my favorite expressions)…no talent clown?

And where is the line? I’ve been pondering this all morning cause I am an outward appearance kind of a girl. I care about how I look; I believe we should all make some sort of consorted effort. Joel and I were just talking about this the other day. We watched a group of teen girls walk by our house and it looked as if they were going out of their way to look as bad as they could. Stringy hair, flip flops (sorry, I hate flip flops, at least when they are worn 24 freakin 7) bellies hanging out over jeans that were way too tight – we conversed about the difference between French teens who go out of their way to look comfortably stylish, even when hanging out on the corner with their friends…anyways. Even adult women. Ugh. I mean, where we live you will find more women in big butt sweatpants at any given moment than anywhere on earth, I swear! One comes across as self-loathing and the other as self respect. But it’s just the exterior of a person so where is the line? 

 I have concluded that it has to be in the value we place on each other based on appearances. As a former makeup artist and someone who is constantly processing on how EVERYTHING can look better from gardens to people I can’t bring myself to think that that is in itself a bad thing. But when I attack someone’s value, even if its with my silent thoughts about them, then surely it is a sin. An artist’s eye never stops but I must remember that Christ looks at the heart. And He is looking at mine!

I read, after watching this You Tube clip this morning that Susan went on the talk show circuit and ended up on Oprah to get a makeover. That made me want to puke but on the other hand it was probably pretty fun for her. I suppose if she wanted a Harpo makeover that’s great and they most likely pulled out all the stops but my heart ached at the thought of her maybe thinking she was a nobody before all this happened.

 It’s a bit to still sort out I suppose. Even my own value can fluctuate in my mind on days where I let myself go, or if I am carrying a few extra pounds…and that is just stupid. But ya know what?  I wash my hair, get my lip gloss on and work out for 5 days in a row and I do feel better. More clear. Faster and mentally efficient. Not as hard on myself.

 All I can say is it’s going to be a challenge to teach my daughter how valuable she is in my eyes and God’s no matter what she looks like and at the same time give her the proper tools and knowledge to take care of her physical appearance. There has got to be a line. Stories like Susan’s remind me of that.


 Your thoughts?


 PS: This would be a great time to recommend a movie along these lines. If you have not seen the movie Little Voice I HIGHLY recommend it. It has many elements that I love: British humor, great music, and of course Ewan my heart, my heart, McGregor. It’s a very sentimental movie for me as she sings the music I love to sing and has a chance at fame that I would have killed for in years past – it also touches on a father/daughter note that moves me on account of my own father/daughter story.

If you are not good with heavy English accents than I would suggest setting your DVD player to the subtitles option as the accents are THICK but so is the humor. You wouldn’t want to miss one line!!! 

It’s one of my favorite movies and I STILL don’t own it. What is up with THAT! Anyways, Let me know what you think. And lest I forget, Praise God for all the men and women who gave up their lives so I could sit here and enjoy this day off in Freedom with my family!


  1. Amanda @ Serenity Now

    I just saw that video for the first time a few days ago, and I too had tears in my eyes. I was so angry with the people in the audience for making fun of her and I cheered when she began singing–loved the expression on Simon’s face! 🙂 Maybe it has something to do with where you live, but the teens I see in my area of Virginia seem to go out of their way to wear the latest styles, and most wear them well. I tend to “look on the outside” myself sometimes, so seeing Susan was a great wake-up call. 🙂

  2. Farmgirl Cyn

    I saw this weeks ago, the day after her 1st performance. I cried.
    She just made the semi-finals yesterday, I think, so will be back on the show next week to compete for the title, or whatever they call it. Is she not incredible???

  3. Joy

    You are so right on about the youth culture–I told my husband, nobody on TV is ‘normal’ anymore—they all have perfect teeth (blinding white!!!) and perfect looks and bodies. (Yawn) it’s not the real world. You are right, God looks at our hearts…

  4. Anne Marie

    where to begin dear friend….
    of course, I agree with everything you said, and can trump it with being a very traditional minded individual with skirts for women…nothing feels more feminine to ME as a skirt…long and flowing…like an everyday ballgown…laziness has crept into our society like a slithering snake…tempting us all to forget ourselves- and to ignore the beautiful bodies that Our Lord has blessed us with. To throw on the most available ‘leaf’ to cover ‘our loins’ than to listen to Him….We are temples of the holy ghost and sorry, but sweats don’t do Him justice.

  5. RobinfromCA

    Susan Boyle is so tremendous! When I saw her first performance my reaction was like yours. It is awful how an audience assumes but then, considering the parade of human debris we see so often on TV, they set us up to be skeptical. Which is the bigger crime? That they set us up or that we fall for it? What is really offensive to me is that the always arrogant Oprahma has horned in on the whole phenomenon that is Susan Boyle and, in a sense, affirmed the ignorance of public opinion that Susan didn’t look good enough for her talent.

    As for your daughter, the most important thing is to teach her that she is a child of God. That’s where her self esteem will come from. Being clean, neat, and eating right along with exercise will teach her to be healthy and take care of the body that is the gift God gave her. Not because she’ll “look” better but because she will be healthy and respectful to God.

    Those teenagers who dress so inappropriately are probably the kids of the sweat pants ladies. If Mom doesn’t care what she looks like herself then where does the daughter go for direction? Your daughter is so fortunate that you aren’t that kind of parent and that you are willing to be the mom and not spend precious teaching time trying to be the best friend instead. Kudos to you for thinking about this now!

  6. Aunt Julee

    Oh sooooo much to say on this topic. I have a piece 1/2 done, but this has inspired me to finish it. It’s either as RobinfromCA states in her last paragraph or those teens may be rebelling against how much their mom cares about her own outward appearance. Or both.

    PS. Seems you read ’bout as often as Meliss or did you just miss this on my journal?
    April 22

  7. Berlin Deluxxe

    Hearing her sing for the first time brought tears to my eyes. Seeing the amazement on all those who were snickering at first made me proud for this songbird.

  8. à la parisienne

    I have SO many things to say regarding all of the deep issues that you have brought to surface in this post. I will try to remember everything and keep it short! First of all, Susan Boyle is way TOO GOOD for this self-centered, manipulative, deceitful,exploitive, propaganda-driven media that is now interested in her. It’s amazing that the moment they realized that she would make them look good, that they then showed an interest. And about our country’s outward appearance…I believe the bottom line is that we’ve become TOO CASUAL about everything…Not just the big butt sweat pants, but also the lack of modesty. Everything is for sharing now days. I am so disgusted when I go to the grocery store with my daughter and see everyone’s everything hanging out. NO MODESTY WHATSOEVER! The outward appearance (lack of modesty) really does give us a glimpse of the inward appearance – no self-control! Well, I have probably offended someone for having a passionate and disapproving opinion about our society. But I am sick of being silent. Thank you for this post. You always have very thought provoking and meaningful ideas to share.

  9. à la parisienne

    I enjoyed reading the other comments, especially those of Anne Marie and Robin.

  10. Bonjour Madame

    She definitely has talent. I hope I don’t get flamed here, but what I don’t like about her voice is that wobbly thing she does when she holds a note. I don’t know what it’s called, but it is a style of singing that some have that I don’t care for. She’s good at how she sings, but it’s just not my preference. It’s not just her, it’s anyone who sings like this. And of course I realize coming from me who cannot carry a tune, this does not hold much weight.

    On the other topic, not only teens, but other women here are sloppy. It seems to be the dress code these days. I see a marked difference in how the women in Baton Rouge dress (lovely, pulled together, and showing effort) as opposed to how the majority of the women in New Orleans dress (flip flops, ratty t-shirts and a bit over the top bohemian). Not all of them of course, but it’s accepted here and it makes others think it’s ok to be sloppy too and it seems to spread.

    Maybe I can start a one woman movement to up the bar one outfit at a time?

  11. Parisienne Farmgirl

    Bonjour Madame,
    The wobbly thing is called vibrato and she surely has more of a “show tunes” style – I like vibrato but I like it when the vocalist holds the note tight for a bit and then lets the vibrato grow as the note grows. Especially on the longer ones. I do think she is nervous and when you are nervous you can loose control and let in more vibrato than you mean to.

    I tell you, I think the sweat pant and flip flop thing is an epidemic. And I LOVE to be comfortable so I know the need for comfort. But I think there is this undercurrent attitude that says something like,

    “If I make an effort than it shows I care, it shows I have respect for myself and others, it shows I care what they think and you know what? I don’t give a rip.”

    I am of course making generalities any time I write on this subject but one can NOT deny the lack of respect in this culture and lack of care of self.

  12. Berlin Deluxxe

    My sweet beautiful friend,
    I have yet to paint my furniture. Looking at it today among all the boxes made me so tired just to think about getting around to doing it.
    Unfortunately, there are no layovers in Chicago. I wish there was though! I’d love to peek in awe at you and your gorgeous home!
    Maybe someday you’ll visit me in my little city by the beach, no?
    Or visit us a summer in Italy, we could take the ferry to Capri!!! I can imagine your babies loving the water and eats 🙂
    I promise you pictures and some wedding favors.

  13. Bonjour Madame

    Vibrato, that’s the word I knew existed but did not know what it meant 🙂 Thanks!

    Susan sure does have confidence though. And that I admire a lot.

  14. abby jenkins

    no talent ass clowns? my thoughts exactly!

    Bravo Susan…what a superstar. Her light will burn bright for a long time to come. A great example of pure self confidence for everyone out there.

  15. English Cottage in Georgia

    AGREE on all points!
    However as Christian and a middle age woman, sometimes it is difficult to figure out the fine balance of vanity on one side and acceptance and being our best to the glory of God.

  16. Tracie~MyPetiteMaison

    Hi Angela,
    I love Susan Boyle’s voice and that song from Les Miserables… she couldn’t have picked a better song. I watched it with my husband (the first time) and looked over and he had tears rolling. I agree, we judge people by their outward appearances. I want to say I do not, but catch myself at times and feel ashamed. I hope we all try to remember this and think before we judge. When I go out walking in the morning, I’ve got my old jeans, T-shirt and tennies (even sometimes my crocks), what must people be thinking of me before I shower and wash my hair? Hmmm, something to take to heart. I agree about the teens – it’s the same here, not just where you live. Gee, I’m going to write a book this evening.
    As far as movies, I love About a Boy with Hugh Grant, it’s a few years old but a good one.

  17. Bonjour Madame

    I wanted to let you know I just linked your blog on mine with the “lovely blog award”. You don’t have to pass it on or post about it at all. It’s just a shout out to your blog and how fantastic I think it is. Thanks for always providing interesting and fun topics!


  18. Thistle Cove Farm

    ‘The meek shall inherit the earth.’
    She has a beautiful voice matched only by her beautiful personality. I didn’t see her on O but saw her last month when she won the contest in England. I bet she’s the kind of friend material that really matters in this frosty world.
    BTW, Thistle Cove Farm is in Country Magazine; I’m over the moon happy!

  19. manila rentals

    i just love when she began to sang.. i was really amazed by her.. never under estimate a person because how the way she dressed and by age..

  20. Sand Flat Farm

    Amen to Susan Boyle. I saw it live on the show, and I cried for her. I cried for the beauty of her soul that came out when she sang, the beauty of the song itself, and for the REAL person that she is. The underdog, the frumpy, frizzy, pudgy woman with the WONDERFUL, CONFIDENT and STRONG attitude that just didn’t care what anyone thought. She had her chance and she took it! She is inspiring and it encourages all of us other frumps to shoot for the stars and never look back! I boohooed from the sheer beauty of the moment. It’s rare to get to experience those moments! She touched my soul.

  21. Auckland Jobs

    Shes simply unique.. i like her, very confident in performing..


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