I've been as caught up with the "Susan Boyle Phenomenon" like everyone else. When I first saw the "Britain's Got Talent" tape of Susan's audition, I couldn't help but fall in love with this down-to-earth woman who took care of an ailing mother. I sympathized with her, knowing her appearance probably kept her from being taken seriously on more than one occasion. When Simon asked her age and she said "47," I could hear many people's thoughts, such as "What? Are you daft? 47! You're too old! Get off the stage! You have some chutzpah thinking you can compete!"
And then Susan opened her mouth and shattered all the myths.
As a woman who is Susan's age, I know those myths all too well. In the United States, we worship youth and beauty, often assuming the two are exclusive to one another. We have a difficult time seeing beauty in many forms until we meet someone like Susan Boyle. For so long, the entertainment industry has brought before us young people who have been starved into looking like wire hangers and "glammed up." There has been a commoditizing of the human creative spirit, and I for one have loathed it. When people over 30 are told they are "too old" to make it in the arts industry, something is wrong.
All of us have a unique blend of talents that make us remarkable. We have been given a life to shape these talents and contribute them to the world. Not everyone, of course, has a voice like Susan. But she doesn't have other talents that many other people do have. What I love about the Susan Boyle story is that it smashed the misconception that one must look like a model in order to sing well. Susan reminded us that beauty comes in many different packages.
This is a breath of fresh air especially for women. Many women feel the pressure to "be perfect." We're told to lose weight, dye our hair, put on make-up, and at its most extreme - undergo plastic surgery in order to be acceptable to society. It reached its bizarre climax with the show "The Swan," where several women contestants who were thought of as "ugly" were sent to receive cosmetic surgery. I truly felt sorry for the husband of the winner. He had fallen in love with the girl of his dreams and now had to adjust to living with a Barbie Doll.
I think women are the ones cheering for the success of Susan more than anyone else. She is proof positive that although one may not be a "glamour girl," she can be a "classic beauty" in more ways than one.