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 Post subject: Re: Mary Lou and Archaeology
PostPosted: 24 Jun 2017, 00:08 
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It is interesting that three of EBD's more beautiful characters - Sybil, Margot and Beth Chester - are each described as being the most beautiful member of her particular family

When is Margot described as beautiful? I thought the triplets looked more or less alike, other than their colouring, and Con being slightly shorter and more slender and Margot taller and more sturdily built. I think they were pretty and attractive looking, rather than beautiful, weren't they?

I think there were gradations of beauty, with Wanda, Sybil etc at the top, down through the pretty girls to those who were attractive and good looking such as Daisy and Mary Lou, to those who were nice looking but quite plain, such as Bride.

Some of the pretty girls were also clever, like the triplets, but I don't recall many of the outright beauties having brains too. Beth Chester did. Marie von E. was a nice girl but specifically stated not to be clever.


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 Post subject: Re: Mary Lou and Archaeology
PostPosted: 24 Jun 2017, 00:36 
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Alison H wrote:
Very few of the men are ever described as being good-looking, though ...


I just did a search among men in the series and it's interesting. Those who are described as good-looking in some way are:

Prince Cosimo (Princess)
Friedel von Gluck (Head Girl)
Elisaveta's father (Camp)
Wolfram von Eschenau (New)
Julian Lucy (Exile, Does It Again)
Karl Linders (Goes To It)
Prince Raphael (Lavender)
Peregrine Culver (Gay)

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 Post subject: Re: Mary Lou and Archaeology
PostPosted: 25 Jun 2017, 00:55 
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There's a definite hierarchy of beauty.

At the top are the exquisitely beautiful girls with poetical descriptions (eyes like wood violets, face tinted like a wild rose, etc). Here we have people like Wanda and Len.

Then there are the "pretty but" girls - like Sybil, or Diana Skelton, or Joyce Linton or Margot, who are extremely beautiful, but flawed. When their looks are described there's always a "but", and then it's explained that they are spoiled or quick tempered or snobbish.

Then we have the more usually pretty girls - described as very pretty, but without the poetic flights of fancy.

Then the girls who are good looking but not beautiful. This includes descriptors "very handsome", "charming" or "attractive",

Then the girls who are described in a way that sounds nice, but is not explicitly pretty - "cheeky faced", "piquant face", "bright faced", "saintly", "quiet looking", etc.

Then "pleasant faced" or "ordinary looking", or "not pretty, but a vivid/striking face".

Then the "not pretty but" girls - so girls who are not attractive, but have nice personalities. So things like "plain face, but with character/good-natured" or "puckish" or an aside about their beautiful eyes or other redeeming features.

Finally, the unattractive girls who have bad or bland personalities, and get described as "heavy, dull", "fat podge", "sulky faced", "clumsily built".

All three of the triplets are very good looking - "all three were extremely good looking girls". Con is described as "an attractive young thing", "very handsome girl ... delicately-cut features .. complexion of cream and roses". Margot is "regarded as the best looking ... sort of complexion to be found in beauty advertisements", "most showy looks in the family". Although it's very clear that Margot may be prettier, but discerning people prefer Len's looks.

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 Post subject: Re: Mary Lou and Archaeology
PostPosted: 25 Jun 2017, 07:46 
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All the second generation girls are pretty! Cecil's supposed to be going to be the prettiest of the Maynards. Josette and Ailie aren't as pretty as Sybil but "aren't exactly plain": Josette in particular is very pretty. Bride doesn't start off pretty but improves, and the other Bettany girls are all very pretty, as are Daisy and Primula. Not bad considering that only one (Mollie) of the older generation is described as good-looking.

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 Post subject: Re: Mary Lou and Archaeology
PostPosted: 25 Jun 2017, 09:44 
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Vintagejazz wrote:
I don't think prettiness is a main critieria in attracting someone or entering into a meaningful relationship. I was wondering if EBD thought that way, given the contradiction between Rosalie being contented to remain single, and her surprise that someone as pretty as Beth wasn't married.
Almost certainly, I'd say - it's one of the most frequently found misunderstandings, apart from the fact that women can have very different ideas of what actually constitutes female prettiness than men do. As Gottfried so helpfully pointed out
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as for the idea that a woman is not pretty enough to attract a man, well that's nonsense. Things I have found attractive about women include intelligence, sense of humour, smoking and swearing.


And yet EMBD does show at least one successful relationship - Simone and André - which is described outright (by Simone) as them having been friends first, and I think far fewer people would make friends with someone based on their looks. I have known one, and it made her very unhappy, unsurprisingly...


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 Post subject: Re: Mary Lou and Archaeology
PostPosted: 25 Jun 2017, 11:14 
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jennifer wrote:
There's a definite hierarchy of beauty.

At the top are the exquisitely beautiful girls with poetical descriptions (eyes like wood violets, face tinted like a wild rose, etc). Here we have people like Wanda and Len. Then there are the "pretty but" girls - like Sybil, or Diana Skelton, or Joyce Linton or Margot, who are extremely beautiful, but flawed. When their looks are described there's always a "but", and then it's explained that they are spoiled or quick tempered or snobbish.

Then we have the more usually pretty girls - described as very pretty, but without the poetic flights of fancy.

Then the girls who are good looking but not beautiful. This includes descriptors "very handsome", "charming" or "attractive",

Then the girls who are described in a way that sounds nice, but is not explicitly pretty - "cheeky faced", "piquant face", "bright faced", "saintly", "quiet looking", etc.

Then "pleasant faced" or "ordinary looking", or "not pretty, but a vivid/striking face".

Then the "not pretty but" girls - so girls who are not attractive, but have nice personalities. So things like "plain face, but with character/good-natured" or "puckish" or an aside about their beautiful eyes or other redeeming features.

Finally, the unattractive girls who have bad or bland personalities, and get described as "heavy, dull", "fat podge", "sulky faced", "clumsily built".

All three of the triplets are very good looking - "all three were extremely good looking girls". Con is described as "an attractive young thing", "very handsome girl ... delicately-cut features .. complexion of cream and roses". Margot is "regarded as the best looking ... sort of complexion to be found in beauty advertisements", "most showy looks in the family". Although it's very clear that Margot may be prettier, but discerning people prefer Len's looks.


I never got the impression that Len was one of the great beauties of the CS, or anywhere near the same league as Wanda, Marie, Robin, Sybil or Joyce.

I think Margot was meant to be very pretty, and Con and Len pretty in a very non spectacular, clean cut way.


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 Post subject: Re: Mary Lou and Archaeology
PostPosted: 25 Jun 2017, 11:24 
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I think the comparison between Len and Margot is similar to Madge v Mollie Bettany. Margot/Mollie have the 'showy' good looks but Len/Madge have the real beauty for the discerning observer. Most of the girls and staff are at least good-looking. The descriptions of Jo with eyes like pools of ink, regular features, sensitive mouth, slender feet, abundant hair, graceful carriage and French flair with clothes should make her stunning - but she's not, according to EBD


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 Post subject: Re: Mary Lou and Archaeology
PostPosted: 25 Jun 2017, 11:26 
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I hope I didn't overstep the mark! I just wanted to point out that it isn't necessary to be pretty and there are many things which might make a woman attractive to a man. Swearing and smoking aren't/weren't prerequisites for me, they were just two things, in my single days in the 1970s, which indicated that a woman was less inclined to be bound by what was then the idea of conventional behaviour. I'll stop there before I get into more trouble....


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 Post subject: Re: Mary Lou and Archaeology
PostPosted: 25 Jun 2017, 11:59 
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I like to think that Madge appealed to Jem because she was a bit different. As a doctor, and one who clearly had a lot of "private" money, he must have attracted attention from plenty of young women - maybe friends' sisters - whose only aim in life was to bag a husband. Someone who ran her own business and rescued people from burning trains must have seemed quite a contrast!

ETA - towards the end of the series, there's an Austen-esque obsession with potential husbands' financial prospects. Reg's finances are discussed with all and sundry, Josette tells Len that Jem says Bride's fiance will do well, and Janie writes to Joey about Vanna's new husband's "private income"!

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 Post subject: Re: Mary Lou and Archaeology
PostPosted: 25 Jun 2017, 12:22 
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Gottfried wrote:
I hope I didn't overstep the mark! I just wanted to point out that it isn't necessary to be pretty and there are many things which might make a woman attractive to a man. Swearing and smoking aren't/weren't prerequisites for me, they were just two things, in my single days in the 1970s, which indicated that a woman was less inclined to be bound by what was then the idea of conventional behaviour. I'll stop there before I get into more trouble....
Not in trouble at all, Gottfried - I meant it when I said you'd been helpful with that comment about attractiveness, and I only wish I'd realised the truth of the matter sooner in my life. Unfortunately, there now seems to be ever more pressure on even the youngest girls to be pretty...


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 Post subject: Re: Mary Lou and Archaeology
PostPosted: 25 Jun 2017, 13:21 
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Noreen wrote:
I only wish I'd realised the truth of the matter sooner in my life.


There's a long list of the things which I wish I had realised sooner in my life!


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 Post subject: Re: Mary Lou and Archaeology
PostPosted: 25 Jun 2017, 13:42 
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Mel wrote:
I think the comparison between Len and Margot is similar to Madge v Mollie Bettany. Margot/Mollie have the 'showy' good looks but Len/Madge have the real beauty for the discerning observer. Most of the girls and staff are at least good-looking. The descriptions of Jo with eyes like pools of ink, regular features, sensitive mouth, slender feet, abundant hair, graceful carriage and French flair with clothes should make her stunning - but she's not, according to EBD


Yes, Jo always sounds like she should be very attractive looking. I think maybe EBD regretted, later in the series, making it clear that Jo wasn't particularly pretty or good looking, and just described her as if she was.

In the earlier books she usually had messy hair, looked a bit washed out at times, and came across as a bit gangly and unladylike. By the later books she was all graceful and big eyes and musical voiced.


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 Post subject: Re: Mary Lou and Archaeology
PostPosted: 25 Jun 2017, 13:42 
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Vintagejazz wrote:
Mel wrote:
I think the comparison between Len and Margot is similar to Madge v Mollie Bettany. Margot/Mollie have the 'showy' good looks but Len/Madge have the real beauty for the discerning observer. Most of the girls and staff are at least good-looking. The descriptions of Jo with eyes like pools of ink, regular features, sensitive mouth, slender feet, abundant hair, graceful carriage and French flair with clothes should make her stunning - but she's not, according to EBD




Yes, adult Jo always sounds like she should be very attractive looking. I think maybe EBD regretted, later in the series, making it clear that Jo wasn't particularly pretty or good looking, and just described her as if she was.

In the earlier books she usually had messy hair, looked a bit washed out at times, and came across as a bit gangly and unladylike. By the later books she was all graceful and big eyes and musical voiced


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 Post subject: Re: Mary Lou and Archaeology
PostPosted: 25 Jun 2017, 14:17 
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I think it was poor health contributing to Jo's plain looks in the early books, wasn't it? White face, and so on. Then she grew quite quickly, and didn't take care of her appearance even well after she left school - in Exile, Robin has to tell her to go and smarten herself up a bit before lunch.

As an adult, I think she finds a style that works for her and sticks to it. Possibly Madge had a word after she was married and told her that what was OK for young Miss Bettany wouldn't do for Mrs Maynard. She can be dignified when she has to be. And we're told at one point that she's put on a bit of weight and it suits her.


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 Post subject: Re: Mary Lou and Archaeology
PostPosted: 25 Jun 2017, 16:04 
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JayB wrote:
Quote:
It is interesting that three of EBD's more beautiful characters - Sybil, Margot and Beth Chester - are each described as being the most beautiful member of her particular family

When is Margot described as beautiful? I thought the triplets looked more or less alike, other than their colouring, and Con being slightly shorter and more slender and Margot taller and more sturdily built. I think they were pretty and attractive looking, rather than beautiful, weren't they?

I think there were gradations of beauty, with Wanda, Sybil etc at the top, down through the pretty girls to those who were attractive and good looking such as Daisy and Mary Lou, to those who were nice looking but quite plain, such as Bride.

Some of the pretty girls were also clever, like the triplets, but I don't recall many of the outright beauties having brains too. Beth Chester did. Marie von E. was a nice girl but specifically stated not to be clever.


Margot is not described as beautiful but as Beth and Sybil were it seemed the best adjective to cover all three when the other two went beyond being merely pretty. It would have been getting complicated to start splitting up different adjectives for different people and just seemed easier.

On the other hand Len is certainly described as "pretty" (Joey & Co) as is Con (Reunion) so as we are told in Reunion that most people would consider Margot the best looking of the three maybe she actually was beautiful but really as said at the beginning merely a case of ease of writing when Sybil and Beth certainly were.

Edited to add - Also Margot is described by me as most beautiful member of her family as opposed to just being beautiful. She could be quite ugly but still the most beautiful membet of her family and vice versa! All hair splitting.


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 Post subject: Re: Mary Lou and Archaeology
PostPosted: 25 Jun 2017, 16:23 
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Sorry for spreeing but I agree with others who say that prettiness should not be the most important attribute for any girl any more than being good looking should be for a male. Lots of other stuff are far more important.

The pressure on girls nowadays to conform is ridiculous. They have all got to be the same and that includes drinking huge amounts of alcohol and all 'going out on the town'. No individuality.


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 Post subject: Re: Mary Lou and Archaeology
PostPosted: 25 Jun 2017, 16:29 
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.... and again, someone not being like all the other girls was always a big hit with me, as Mrs. Gottfried will confirm.


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 Post subject: Re: Mary Lou and Archaeology
PostPosted: 25 Jun 2017, 19:16 
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And surely, beauty is in the eye of the beholder? A person doesn't have to be "classically beautiful" to yet be beautiful to those who love that person...


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 Post subject: Re: Mary Lou and Archaeology
PostPosted: 26 Jun 2017, 05:37 
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Caroline wrote:
And surely, beauty is in the eye of the beholder? A person doesn't have to be "classically beautiful" to yet be beautiful to those who love that person...


Very true. :)

Regarding Joey's looks, I think the picture of her and the triplets on the front cover of Reunion has them all to perfection. The triplets are pretty and look exactly as described in the books. Jo looks like them but is not pretty although she is appealing.


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 Post subject: Re: Mary Lou and Archaeology
PostPosted: 26 Jun 2017, 10:09 
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Audrey25 wrote:
Sorry for spreeing but I agree with others who say that prettiness should not be the most important attribute for any girl any more than being good looking should be for a male. Lots of other stuff are far more important.

The pressure on girls nowadays to conform is ridiculous. They have all got to be the same and that includes drinking huge amounts of alcohol and all 'going out on the town'. No individuality.


I totally agree. There seems to be a really generic look for young girls nowadays - dyed blonde straightened hair and fake tan or heavy make up. When I was young there was far more variety in looks and style amongst a group of young girls. Now they all look the same.


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