Bo Derek: The Ironic Beauty
Quite often what`s on the outside is not all as it seems.
Dr Conor Hogan
In this blog, I want to make the observation that all is not always as it seems. I’d like to take the example of the iconic, Bo Derek, who was a famous on-screen beauty synonymous for her pale skin and searing blue eyes. The American actress shot to fame after starring in such films as Tarzan The Ape Man which was a 1981 version of the epic story of the alpha male in the jungle and the innocent partner to be, Jane. Whilst being cast for that role, Bo Derek emphasised how her beauty was the opposite to the ruggedness and muscle bound character of Tarzan. In the movie, the audience wowed at the docile Miles O’Keeffe (the character of Tarzan) who was there for brawn more than brains, whereas, the character of Jane represented things such as all light, charm, and attractiveness. In Tarzan, there was hyper masculinity. In Jane, there was the epitomoy of femininity. But, behind the camera lens, Bo had to endure and hide very significant pain.
If that role exemplified to the masses the grandeur of Bo Derek`s beauty another major role had, a year earlier, illuminated her splendour when she starred in the filming of ‘10’. In ‘10’ Derek appeared in the romantic comedy that portrayed the character of George Webber (who was a well-known composer) breaking from his girlfriend after which he experienced a deep hurt with only middle-agedness as a bedfellow. Then, suddenly, he spied a bride who was preparing for her own wedding. This motivates the title for the movie, as Webber rated her higher than a perfect ‘10’ score in his own mind.
Although many have viewed Bo Derek as a sex symbol of her day, few knew that she has been far from full health during most days of her own life. For Derek, despite her appearing to be beautiful on the aesthetic outside, she had physical issues of her own. Her childhood hobby of horse riding ultimately resulted in a life-long condition. One day, while she enjoyed her regular outside trot, she failed to hold onto her horse properly and this resulted in a fall and, subsequently, a serious spinal injury. What followed for Bo Derek was years of back pain which ultimately progressed into her having a herniated disc.
In a person`s spine there are a series of bones called vertebrae. There are 33 in all. In between these bones are discs that act as a type of shock absorber. Each spinal disc is a sort of cushion between the bones of the vertebra and this allows for the bones beneath and above to twist, turn, elongate and bend without rubbing off one another. By having a herniated disc, a person is effectively experiencing one of their discs misaligning itself from its proper location. Usually, this occurs when the disc bulges out of place. The resultant misalignment means that nerve pain occurs and this can cause many issues such as pain in the arms or legs, the lower back, tingling or numbness.
In the main, human beings are born with complex, but balanced bodies. Most babies, thankfully, arrive into our world with two legs, two arms, two eyes, two ears and two nostrils. Within this, there is a balance of both left and right. Often when a person`s foot or leg is injured their standing balance gets contorted. In the same way, if their arms are injured they will not have the same upper body strength, if one of their eyes is damaged their vision is skewed, if their ear is clogged they will not be sure of what they heard, or if their nose is half blocked, it is tough to inhale into two lungs evenly.
Once a person injures their spine by way of a herniated disc it can affect one part of their body and this can create an overall imbalance in their skeleton and their core. Pain is inevitable and for many who suffer in this way it can become chronic and debilitating. Effectively, in spite of injury at times, the human body strives for balance throughout its life course as balance is how we as humans feel wellness.
As beautiful Derek starred in ‘10’, the male character that pursued her came from the world of musical composition and, in so doing, came from a mindset of attempting to create a balance which is one of the easier elements of musical composition. Within this target of balance is the longing for symmetry.
Although Derek appeared to have the facial and overall physical looks of symmetry, the pain she suffered will, likely, have troubled her body and mind over the years making her feel anything but balanced. We need to look to the totality of a person, whether male or female, to get a real sense of them as a person.