Well, ladies, it appears that our favorite “Mad Men” star has committed the ultimate sin: acknowledging her own good looks.
The Frisky recently reported that January Jones was quoted in Marie Claire UK as having this to say about her grade school peers: “The bitches in high school were bitches because I was pretty.”
Heaven forbid! Frisky writer Ami Angelowicz responded to Jones’ comment with sarcasm: “Oh my. She’s lovely. And humble. And so warm. I wonder how those bitches in high school ever could have hated her?”
Which, I assume, accurately sums up many people’s knee-jerk reaction: “What a bitch, she thinks she’s so hot.”
But as much as I hate to play the role of Captain Obvious…well, here it is: January Jones, as anyone with even one functioning eye can tell you, is indeed hot. And it’s no secret that girls and women of all ages can be ruthless when they set their mind to it (hello, did anybody see the movie Malèna?).
Sure, it sounds like Jones still holds a childish grudge against the girls in high school. But that aside, in saying that they were mean to her because she was pretty, January Jones may very well be right.
So why does her statement still cause, for some of us, hackles to raise?
Some may suggest that people who hate on Jones are jealous, or insecure, or that they assume that’s how everyone will react and want to be on board with the hate-train.
And all of that may be true. But underneath it all is the fact that beautiful women make us wonder about something we like to ignore: they make us wonder if there is a biological pecking order – a random, unfair and unearned conferring of a certain kind of status and power upon people who have done nothing other than have good genes.
Rather than take a good look at the myriad feelings that female beauty can bring up, though — be they jealousy, appreciation, lust, indifference, confusion — we more often than not ignore our reactions, or twist them into cattiness and dislike.
All of which begs the question: with people’s responses to their very existence being so potentially charged, what is the right way for beautiful women to behave? Should they tow the line and pretend that there’s nothing different about them? Cowtow and demure so no one feels threatened? Does being beautiful mean that you have some sort of extra responsibility to be concerned about the feelings of those less genetically blessed?
And in turn, what is the right way for the rest of us to treat our comely peers?
I suspect the answer to both lies in posing some questions to ourselves: what assumptions do we make about other people’s looks and how they wield them, and how do we ourselves wield (or not wield) our own attractiveness (or lack thereof).
Call me crazy, but I don’t expect that to happen any time soon. In the meantime, though, perhaps we should leave the tarring and feathering out of it.