Yesterday, I attended Hedy’s Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World given by Richard Rhodes. Rhodes is a very accomplished man and author of many successful books. In his speech, Rhodes told the story of the life of Hedy Lamarr, from her childhood to her death. Lamarr had such a fascinating life and throughout his talk and the question and answer period, it was very clear that Rhodes knew almost every single detail about her life.
One part of her life that really stood out to me was that even after living in Hollywood, she did not become changed by the superficiality of the celebrity world. Most people who enter Hollywood rarely come out the same way and usually become more artificial because of the nature of the industry. Lamarr had such incredible dedication and self control; she stayed on a good path and did not become susceptible to the negative consequences of Hollywood.
Another part that stood out was a quote that Rhodes had taken from Lamarr, “I can tell you how to be a star. All you have to do is stand around and look dumb.” When I heard this, I felt so bad for Lamarr. She loved acting but she hated the fact that no one could see past her acting career and her pretty face. If people had paid attention to anything besides her beauty, she could have been even more successful than she already was.
I feel as if these problems that Lamarr encountered is still a problem today. Hollywood is definitely a successful industry but many of the people in it are incredibly phony and lack morals. If they concentrated less on partying, dieting, making themselves look beautiful with extreme methods, or reality TV, the people in Hollywood would not turn out to be as superficial, and as a result, Hollywood would be more efficient and successful. Furthermore, if Hollywood did not place so much importance on looking perfect and the typical actress/model, these people and more specifically, the women, would not feel the pressure to look a certain way. Lamarr was smart enough to know that she was more than just a pretty face, however, the way that Hollywood is today, many actresses think that is all they can and will be. These women do not strive to be better because they think that they are only a pretty face.
Although we have made great leaps in terms of gender equality, the fact that Lamarr had similar issues about 50 years ago just shows that we still have a ways to go. Hopefully, Hollywood will make a turnaround and that we can realize that we need to make a change in the way that people view women.