Beauty stereotypes have existed for a very long, long time. Although they have changed through the course of human history, we live for and by them. This was the life story of Hedy Lamarr.
Born as Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler in 1914, Hedy Lamarr was an Austrian-American actress of Hollywood’s golden age. She was a BIG star in her time, not only for her talent as an actress, but because of her astonishing beauty. In the documentary, ‘Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story’ we get to know Hedy beside her beauty and acting career.
Hedy Lamarr is always described as a beautiful woman that could make every person stop what they were doing to look at her when she entered the room. But, she was much more than that, and she never got the chance to show who she really was. Yes, she was beautiful but also she was a very intelligent and inventive woman. Few people knew she was capable of a lot more. When she wanted to show the inventive and scientific facets of herself, she was denied that opportunity. She was limited and relegated to being just a pretty face.
Behind her beautiful face was an inventor. She worked to co-invent an early version of the frequency-hopping spread-spectrum communication, which was originally intended for torpedo guidance. That work was the basis of what we know today as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Beauty, especially for women, is a heavy burden that we often carry within our everyday activies. What we do and what we don’t is usually measured with how beautiful we are. Until recent times, if you were beautiful you couldn’t be intelligent. However, beauty is still a big part of success in a specific activity. Some studies have shown that good-looking people make about 12% more money than less appealing people.
Hedy lived her life without the recognition she deserved for all aspects of her life. She felt disrespected in Hollywood because she always got rolls that sexualized her; she felt disrespected because she didn’t have recongnition of her invention, and she wasn’t respected for being a woman ahead of her time. Hedy wanted to make a mark in the world. She wanted to be known for more than her face and body.
“Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid.”
– Hedy Lamarr
Her story is really inspiring and mind-changing. To get to know a bit more about her work, her struggles and all she did in her life gives me a bittersweet taste about this amazing woman. She did what she wanted, but she faced a lot of obstacles that eventually took a toll in her. Her story reminded me of the importance getting to know people beyond how they look. Humans are very complex beings. Our personalities and identities have many layers, and we need to recognize them and stop judging books by their covers.