Why Do We Care More About An Actor’s Looks That Their Talent?

by bdhesse

Today my partner and I were talking about actors. Not in general, just the Hollywood kind. We were discussing how people have favorite actors and they’ll watch every movie that that actor has been in, but they tend not to care too much if the acting, or story is bad. How often do you hear “the movie was terrible, but I just watched it because [insert famous actor] was in it”?

We began our discussion talking about books. It’s not the same for writers as it is for actors. One bad book can lose an author their audience. People don’t tend to say “I didn’t really like the second book, but the rest were good.” If book number 2 was terrible, then why would the reader bother with number 3? 

But actors are given more leeway. This may be because actors aren’t creating a story, they’re bringing one of its characters to life. But I think it’s because we care more about what they look like than we do about their talent. I’ve heard “they suck at acting, but they’re really hot” too many times to think otherwise. And I think this is a problem. It perpetuates stereotypes. I’d rather see people who are good actors and represent all aspects of humanity than see the same beauty standards shoved down own throats in every movie. As such, I have decided that if one of my future books ever gets turned into a movie, I will only allow it if they are willing to use actors who represent everyday people. If a character is trans, then the actor should be too. If the character is chubby, or short, then so too should the actor be. Everybody should be able to see themselves represented in film. Everybody should be made to feel that they can be an actor too, if they work for it. And everybody should be made to feel that their life is worth being made into a movie.

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