The Multi-faceted Nature of Beauty

dianaplaidSo what would cause a tv show to ignore its own rules for a weekly publicity contest? By what justification would they decide that they should overrule the results of the popularity contest they were running? Could they just have been unable to comprehend that a large number of people could find a 60-year old author hot?  Apparently.

I’ve had a week to calm down and reflect on what happened with the E!News contest for Hottie of the Week. For those that missed the fun, the quick summary is that E!News has a Hottie of the Week twitter contest in which whoever gets the most votes (tweets) is announced on the show as the Hottie of the Week. After a couple other successes (see here), a group of Outlander fans decided that the crown really belonged to Diana Gabaldon. In addition to being a beautiful woman, she is brilliant, creative, funny, kind, and generous with her time and energy. She has also written a series of wonderful books that have touched so many of our lives in so many ways. We worked together and dominated the contest, with many times more votes than anyone else.

Instead of following the rules as we were told them, they mentioned her, but then gave the title to someone else, saying “in the true spirit of hottie of the week.”

Shortly after this announcement, I tried to calm the other disappointed fans, saying that at least she’d been mentioned and gotten good publicity. The unfairness of E!News ignoring their own voting rules rankled, but I figured this wasn’t the largest injustice happening regarding voting these days, and not worth the time and energy to hold a grudge about. A minor annoyance that would fade quickly.Diana

What hasn’t faded is the bitter taste being left by the seeming underlying message being sent, not just to us but to everyone. The message about what it means to be beautiful. “In the true spirit of hottie of the week.”  Well- what is that spirit? We were not trying to subvert that spirit, we were trying to express those things that we find universally beautiful. Even beyond those elements of intelligence, personality and spirit that make Diana beautiful, I personally would love to look as good as she does at 40, much less at 60.

Is there an age cut-off at which you can no longer be considered beautiful? Are intellectual and creative achievements not sufficiently trendy? In terms of hot, I’d be willing to bet that more sex has been initiated based on some of Diana’s passages than the physical charms of all of their other hotties combined. Just sayin’.

“Lacking experience or the pretense of it, Jamie simply gave me all of himself, without reservation. And the depth of my response to that unsettled me completely.” -Outlander (more quotes)

What a missed opportunity on the part of E!News to make the statement (on National Book Lover’s Day, no less), that hot is not only a matter of youth and sculpted abs. A chance to say, if only for a moment, that beauty is a multi-faceted quality that does not automatically fade as you age. A chance to encourage it’s audience to look beyond the standards fed to them and to appreciate qualities of true beauty, in others as well as in themselves. That missed opportunity makes me sad.

40 thoughts on “The Multi-faceted Nature of Beauty

  1. We who voted so hard for Diana was shut down on National Book Lovers Day!! I’m going to spazz all over again. I personally am daily appalled at commercials selling me beauty by the hair and faces of baby girls. Diana along with us currently mature women have earned every feature on our face by way of love, joy, sorrow and laughter. I’m sad for a society that tosses hard won beauty away for the sake of a young face that will join us soon enough. For Diana, and all of us, you are beautiful.

  2. Beauty isn’t skin deep. It comes from deep within the soul and oozes out into all aspects of one’s life. ENews made themselves appear shallow with their poorly made HOTW decision. They lost a large fan base following that they will never be able to regain.

  3. I don’t follow all this THAT closely. Had to have someone explain to me how to vote for Sam and I didn’t even know about D’s nomination. MY bad – but I digress. I don’t follow the E!News thing at all………so I’m curious………do they EVER nominate/allow a woman? Or is this just male ‘hotness’ they are promoting.

    I am a VERY hetro female, and much as I adore Sam he isn’t my first love (check out Roy Dupuis!) but I think Diana is extremely ‘hot’! Don’t need to explain that other than to say I totally agree with the article above.

  4. Very well written article. You captured the essence of why the injustice for many of us has left a ‘bitter taste’ completely. I may be older, I’m not dead. I like to think that my contributions in the manner in which I raised my children, developed my art and have given back to my friend, family and community are also ‘hot’ and while ENews may not think someone of Diana’s caliber is a ‘Hottie of the Week’ ~ they had to break their own rules to lay claim to that stance. Thank you for standing up for all of us.. Three Cheers to you.

  5. There were so many brilliant reasons given by voters about what made Diana Hottie of the week (@katieyo’s 100 reasons come to mind specifically) . They were all about so much more that superficial physical reasons. The most important sexual organ is the brain. Words are hot. Much hotter than cheek bones or muscles!

    Thank you for this insightful and reflective article.

  6. Goodness. That’s so kind of you–and rather overwhelming. Thank you so much for your very eloquent and passionate words.

    Frankly, I hadn’t paid much attention to the E!News contest, past your delightful support of Sam Heughan–though I did know about your further campaigns (couldn’t very well not notice, given the level of wit and persistence displayed. ). I _had_ wondered just what E!News would do about it, since I rather thought they wouldn’t like having their contest subverted (which is how they’d necessarily see it), and taken over repeatedly by a large, well-organized and determined (most determined ) fan group.

    I think that by “the true spirit of hottie of the week”, they _mean_ superficial physical attraction. True beauty (of whatever kind) isn’t really what they’re looking for; they’re looking for a quick succession of attractive (attractive to their marketing demographic) young faces with recognizable names, because that’s what sells whatever it is they’re selling.

    But I surely appreciate both your enthusiasm and your support–for me, for the books, and for our exciting new endeavor and all the lovely, creative (and definitely beautiful ) people involved in it! YOU all have True Beauty.

    • As always you have proven yet again what the spirit of true beauty really is with this eloquent response… which is another reason so many fans love you. Not only for your wonderful books but also for your beautiful spirit.

    • i had absolutely no idea that there was such a contest. and honestly, before i found out how old you are i was thinking you were somewhere in your early to mid 40’s. imagine my surprise! yeah, i think they are looking for superficial physical beauty. but, you are beautiful! i guess they only think young women can be hotties. diana, you are truly one of the classiest women i’ve ever seen and you have a beauty that not only is on the outside but inside.

  7. Forget their stupid “Hottie of the Week”!! Diana deserves “Hottie of the Century”!!! I say we start such an award and shut down the LACK of spirit that E!News has for TRUE beauty…

  8. Thank you for putting into such eloquent words the bigger picture issue that saddens and angers many of us. Style over substance wins too many contests these days. Thoughtfully, clearly written.

  9. Nicely expressed sentiment, but remember the intellectual level of the medium. It’s ET. These are extremely superficial people and they are projecting that mentality onto their audience. Of which I am not a member. So in a way in really glad they don’t acknowledge Diana because I think it would cheapen her somehow. I’ll be happy to keep her to ourselves who admire her for more than physical beauty.

  10. Eloquence through words expressed such as these shows just how beauty yet reigns in the hearts and minds of real people. Thank you for putting pen (keyboard) to paper (screen) to show the world how a group of committed (some of us ought to be) people can change the world. Diana’s influence is worldwide and we are a better people because of her sojourn into our lives.

  11. I have to say that the effort to make Diana HotW was one of the most moving experiences I’ve had. Over 100 fans spent hours every day quoting from our beloved books and expressing gratitude, admiration (and yes, love) for their creator. Some very real friendships were made that week. The outcome was disappointing, but we have all benefitted. We have become family and have already supported each other through some tough times. Bringing strangers together to form a family – that’s really hot! (Now, what else can we subvert? )

  12. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this blog. It is true that it is extremely unfortunate that E!News missed an amazing opportunity given to them by us fans that worked so diligently to vote Diana as HotW. Shame on you E!News!! Shame on you for perpetuating the same old, misguided standards that doing nothing but promoting eating disorders, endless plastic surgery, depleted self-esteem, and a large percentage of society that is utterly superficial. Diana, you will always be HotW for us Gabaldonians!!!

  13. Love Diana. She is an incredible woman not just for her accomplishments but for her beauty as well. I agree with the previous posts. I can’t say it any better then those above have already done. E!News messed up.

  14. while this is a nicely written article on the injustices of the world about what our society considers beauty….we are talking about E!News….this is fluff stuff magazine that is about the ever-so- superficial entertainment industry. They have no care for real beauty, only for the sensational…. So can’t see why this result would surprise anyone. Diana Gabaldon is a smart, witty, beautiful woman and author. Who cares what E!News thinks? I don’t.

  15. Very nicely said. You captured our sentiments exactly. Then to go on and retire all things Outlander was a big slap in the face, but what do you expect from a superficial society? I love having this very large group of very intelligent, beautiful people to converse with on a regular basis and I thank you Diana, for bringing us all together.

  16. I did do the first one for Sam in the spirit of fun, but after the initial excitement of having the part cast, I dropped back, got off Twitter, which I hate, and just sat back to await further news on casting. I thought it was a great idea to generate buzz, but that’s what it _was_ for – to generate buzz. The hottie of the week thing isn’t about deep inner beauty, and that was obvious going in. E!News may have ignored their own rules, but they also stopped their weekly contest from being hijacked by a fan group. If they allowed that to happen, Rob Pattinson might have held the spot for , I don’t know, three years running, with Taylor Lautner getting a week every once in a while. In addition, and this is just my opinion, I think there are far better ways to honor Diana and call attention to her accomplishments as an author.

  17. Very well said and I agree with you. It was fun to participate in the #HottieOfTheWeek tweeting and very enlightening that a fairly small but very organized and persistent group of fans could have an impact on Hottie of the Week and E!News. It was the first time that I had seen Diana Gabaldon mentioned in the national media rather than just an Outlander focused internet site. Although she was not chosen as Hottie of the Week, the fact that she was mentioned may have led people who knew nothing about the books to check out the books. This is not a bad thing. But that part of me that wants to get even hopes that when the Starz series airs next Spring that E!News will regret their public dissing of Diana.

  18. Well Said Diana!! To be honest I hope you realize that your fanbase is not comprised of E!News type people!! We are not Kardsashian or Lyndsey Lohan type people!!! That’s the whole reason we LOVE you! Most of us were oblivious to the contest as we are oblivious to that channel.

  19. It appears to me that this is a contest designed to be shallow but not recognized publicly as shallow. Forget the talent, success, creativity, the two Ph.D’s, and integrity. Diana Gabaldon is physically beautiful. Those of you involved in this decision at E!News don’t look so beautiful right now. Or smart. Or capable of making good decisions. Or having a sense of responsibility to the young people who watch E!News. You did yourselves but good this time. It would be wise right now to pull your collective heads out and address correcting this enormous error. This is an integrity make-or-break moment for you and we’re watching.
    Thank you to the writer of this article. This writer speaks for me as well. Thank you for being articulate and accurately expressing what I think and feel about this incident.

  20. The letter above was very well written and I agree that Diana does indeed embody the true spirit of beauty. What E!News seems to count as the true spirit of beauty is in actuality the superficial, banal, beauty. Eye candy — melts away – type of beauty. Diana doesn’t possess that type of beauty. Hers is a much more lasting type of beauty — through and through beauty. Inside and out, Diana is just a beautiful person! You don’t have to be a fan to see it, but it helps! 🙂

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