Friday, January 26, 2007

What exactly is ugly about Betty?!?

This week, I asked readers of New Moon's e-newsletter to share their reactions to the hit TV show, "Ugly Betty." New Moonies love America Ferrera, the star of the show, who spoke as part of a "Being a Girl in Hollywood" panel at the Turn Beauty Inside Out Girls' Leadership Retreat in 2005. When America recently picked up a Golden Globe for best actress in a comedy, she said,

"It's such an honor to play a role that I hear from young girls on a daily basis how it makes them feel worthy and lovable and that they have more to offer the world than they thought."

"Ugly Betty" seems to be resonating with many girls and women. What do YOU think about the show's message? And what about that title? Check out what a few of our friends had to say, then share YOUR opinion by leaving a comment or writing to

"I think it is wonderful how there is a show about a girl who is not perfect and beautiful, but a powerful woman. She is a wonderful actress despite the fact that she is not movie-star thin. It sends a wonderful message and I think this show should go on for a long time." –Emily, 10, Pittsburgh

"Whereas I understand the show, 'Ugly Betty,' turns out to be a positive production for girls, the title just seems offensive to me." –Caren, Massachusetts

"It seems to me that this show actually is reinforcing some arbitrary (Media-driven) notion of an ideal beauty! I guess the message of the show is that a person has value, even if she is ugly? But I still can't figure out what, exactly, is ugly about Betty! Is it because she has glasses and braces? Is she really considered overweight? Maybe it’s the brown curly hair? I think she is actually pretty attractive. I’ll admit that I've only watched the whole show a couple of times, and I can appreciate the intention. Still, I think the concept is ill-conceived and off-target. On another note, I think it's a shame that the content (due to adult themes, etc.) is inappropriate for pre-teens. My daughter is 12, and I don't encourage her to watch. " –Heidi, New Hampshire

"Personally, I am bummed that the title of the show is 'Ugly Betty.' I don't find Betty ugly at all! She is hard-working, kind, generous, warm and funny. I can see where it might be igniting conversation among girls and women, and hopefully among boys and men, too, which is extremely necessary. All good things start with valuable conversation. But there is so much focus on the body that it worries me for our youth. What about Betty's beautiful mind? Are girls able to separate all of this?" –Pam Erickson, Maine (Pam is executive director of Coastal Studies for Girls.)

"I LOVE Ugly Betty! At first I didn't know what to think about the title until I watched the show and really got the message. It's great! We need more shows like this and more actresses who are not the anorexic norm. We want REAL women!" –Rudy Ann Gunneson-Poling, California


Anonymous said...

It's an awesome show about a girl (Betty) who is her own person. The title does not at all offend me, because in our society (let's get real) compared to movie-star women, we would consider her 'ugly'.

New Moon said...

Here's a few more comments from our friends:

"I love, love, love the show Ugly Betty!! And I think the title is perfect. I mean, our society would called Betty ugly ... compared to the skinny, pretty movie stars on television. It also tells us to focus more inward than outward, and it has an awesome plot!"
-Kayla, 13, Ontario, Canada

"The show Ugly Betty has only just come to New Zealand so I haven't seen much of it. Although I agree that it is great to have an 'Ugly' person as the main character in a TV show and it is good for girls to see that they are beautiful inside and all the things that everyone says about this show, I also can't help thinking that this show could be exactly the opposite for some people.
The ads call her 'Ugly' 'Frumpy' and 'Stumpy' among other things because of her braces, frizzy hair and strange fashion sense, so what about all the people in the world with braces or hair that they can't control or that new dress that theey thought was really gorgeous? Are they ugly and frumpy as well?" -Keava McKeogh

Anonymous said...

I am as charmed by Betty as all of her fans. I also think we should not ignore the messages about being human portrayed by characters Wilhemina and Daniel. They both have showed their vulnerability and potential for sensitivity. Just another example of how things are not always as they look.

Anonymous said...

It isnt about the outside.
If she's mean she's ugly.

Nobodie said...

Dear New Moon,
I watched a TV show once where a girl dressed up as an ugly person and walked around selling flyers, and the secret camera caught people looking at her wierd and whispering and pointing at her. The show was to protest against segregation of ugly people in the streets on New York. It was unfair how those beautiful people just trampled over the uglies.

Nobodie said...

I also want to encourage Raven in "That's So Raven". The girl isn't perfectly skinny, and she isn't white and blonde either. I think she's a role model to girls, no matter the skin tone. I TV should let more African Americans and Mexicans and Arabics star on TV. Get inspired.