Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Ugly Truth

Pic of Xena from ~ ~

The Ugly Truth

By Pat Cunningham

I really meant to write a funny story. C’mon, look at the plot: a werewolf enters herself in a dog show as a joke, and wins. How can you take that seriously?

But a funny thing happened, and it wasn’t the story. I started exploring my werewolf’s motives. In order to enter a dog show, she’d have to look more dog than wolf. And if she didn’t look that much like a wolf, what did the other wolves think of her? We all know how the reindeer felt about Rudolph, and all he had was the nose.

That’s when I realized: far from being the mischievous, let’s-stick-it-to-the-monkeys shifter I’d been planning to write about, Adele Chase was an insecure young woman with low self-esteem and serious body-image issues, so desperate for others’ approval she was willing to trot around a show ring on the end of a leash for the sake of human applause. If her own kind wouldn’t give her what she craved, she’d go find it elsewhere. Even, as the plot turned out, risk her life to get it.

It must be hell, growing up as a girl these days. Not that it was ever easy, but geez. All that advertising, TV and magazines and now on the Net, bombarding girls with images of unattainable physical perfection. I know Tyra Banks is out there telling viewers her looks are the result of make-up, lighting, professional stylists and a healthy dose of the airbrush, but is anybody listening to her? Or do they just look at the pictures? Their attitudes are shaped by what they see all around them, and what those images tell them. I thought the women’s movement was supposed to free us from the idea that a girl’s worth depends on her appearance. The statistics on teenage eating disorders, depression and even suicide tend to say otherwise. Don’t even get me started on beauty pageants for 5-year-olds. Ye godz.

A lot of ugliness of different varieties crept into this story. The hero despises his own ethnic background and it’s twisted him up inside. The villain is into racial purity and has taken his sick beliefs to a violent extreme. Fortunately, there are bright spots. Adele has the emotional support of her brother, and wins the hero’s heart with her courage as well as her appearance. She, in turn, helps him accept his heritage. The bad guy gets what’s coming to him. Of course, this is fiction. Real life doesn’t always get the happy ending. Ask the 95-pound woman who thinks she’s fat.

The dogs have it right. They’re not the ones obsessing over their looks. They leave that to us. As long as the food dish is full and they can sleep on the couch, they’re happy. There’s a lesson in there somewhere.

The next story will be funny. I promise.

“Best of Breed” is now available from BookStrand.
AVAILABLE: Tuesday, February 2nd ~ ~

Plus, take a look at COYOTE MOON by Pat Cunningham ~ Can a half-werewolf woman, unaware of her wolf nature, come to love the WereCoyote determined to free her wild side and make her his mate? ~ ~


Savanna Kougar said...

Pat, you are so right about what girls face growing up. It was tough/horrible enough when I was growing up.
Despite, the opportunities to have better self esteem as a girl/woman in these times, I really do believe it's worse overall.

Yep, dogs don't sweat that stuff. Though, I can tell when one of mine is more attracted to a certain member of the opposite sex than another.
However, that's not going to stop procreating activities, or the love they have for each other as companions.

That little showgirl, Xena, is a gorgeous Siberian Husky. And you can tell she loves showing herself off. Some showdogs are like celebrities in that way. One of our champions would preen and show even better whenever he heard applause. He loved being in the ring.

Anonymous said...

You always find the best photos for my blog. And the name -- Xena! Woman power! Yes!

Pat C.

Serena Shay said...

Ah Pat,
Nail on the head and very well said! It must be hell to be a girl these days. Some of the most beautiful people on the planet are the ones who's hearts shine from within for those around them to see...though you will never see them on TV. :(

Congrats on the release, Best in Breed looks wonderful! I look forward to reading it. :)

Savanna Kougar said...

Serena, you are so right ~ "Some of the most beautiful people on the planet are the ones who's hearts shine from within for those around them to see...though you will never see them on TV. :("