Are we all just bricks in the wall?
As the rumors and gossip about the reasons behind Brittany Murphy’s untimely death continue to swirl, I find myself increasing disgusted by the reports that indicate her death does not come as a surprise to people who knew her. One studio executive was quoted as saying, “This is like Lindsey Lohan dying [ . . . ] It really doesn’t come, unfortunately, as a shock.”
To me, that statement is shocking and sickening.
Yes, in the end, we are all responsible for our own personal welfare. But if your health problems seemed so far out of control that your death at age 32 does not come as a surprise, wouldn’t you want someone to step in? Even if her death is, in fact, due to natural causes, it seems clear that Brittany Murphy struggled with a number of health concerns. By many reports she was often dazed on set, too thin, and physically weak. If that was my family member, friend, or coworker, you’d better believe I would be saying something or doing something.
I’m reminded of the Pink Floyd film The Wall where British schoolchildren are fed into a meat grinder (public school) and turned out as nondescript, indistinct ground meat, ready to serve the country as needed. That is the Hollywood machine. My heart aches to think of how many more young women are in the same situation as Brittany Murphy. Brunettes go blond, hips slowly disappear, clavicles become more pronounced, and lips become fuller. Each actor and actress becomes another brick in the Hollywood wall, easily replaced if they crumble.
When I watch a film from the 1970s, I’m astounded at how the expectations for beauty are so different. Hair wasn’t always over-stylized, women weren’t waxed from head to toe, men didn’t require six-pack abs, and kids were dressed as kids, not Abercrombie models. Those films seem to indicate that natural beauty and human variety was more valued. Of course, this isn’t to say it was perfect back then – far from it – but just based on a visual first glance, it’s clear that our expectations for what a leading actor or actress looks like have both heightened and narrowed.
These expectations are endangering and ending lives, so when does this change? What do we do? If these executives, friends, and even relatives aren’t speaking up or taking action, do we? Are we our sisters’ and brothers’ keepers? What can we do?