Dear Sister Monologue
|Dear Sister by Chris Wind|
|Age (range):||20 and up|
Background Info: One of Ruben’s models talks to another, discouraging her pursuit of the modeling career.
The Model: Helen, don’t do it. I beg of you. Marry him if you like, but when he asks you to pose for his paintings (as he surely will–he is fifty-three and you are sixteen, do you think he’s marrying you for your mind?), when he asks you to sit, to lie still–say No.
He will make of you a prostitute. You see, Peter Paul Rubens is a very good pimp: he knows well how to make money from other people’s bodies. Oh, he will say he will make something of you–but no, he will make something off of you. He will merely copy you.
And you will get no credit. Though you will fill the canvas, though you will be the reason people will want to buy his work, you will remain anonymous: his name will be written on the canvas. And on the cheque.
He will glorify you: he will make your skin glow, it will be translucent, like the thinnest petal of a lily lit by the sun; your cheeks will be rosy, your lips, ripe; your flesh will hang like succulent fruit, plump, and heavy with promise; he will paint you as saint, angel, goddess–myth! He will falsify you!
Helen, you must not allow yourself to be idealized! Don’t you see? You will make peasant women ashamed of their tan, it will seem dirty and disgusting; and then they will throw away their money on creams to ‘whiten’ their skin. And women will begin to stuff themselves to look beautiful, to look like you. They will go on eating binges till they throw up, and then they will eat again, taking pills to keep it down. Unless their bodies have the metabolism yours has, they will be trying to do the impossible! And not all women have frames to support your weight. You have no idea of the extremes they will go to: I have seen some women strap themselves into braces to support their newly acquired excess!
And they believe they are beautiful! No, they don’t believe it. They will never look like me in the paintings (not even I look like me)–so they will never believe they are beautiful.
Yes, you know who I am now. I am your sister, I am the one in “The Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus”. So please, attend to this letter, I know what I am talking about. See the consequences before the action! If you allow yourself to be idealized, you will become an ideal–you will become a model. Men will want that body, they will expect that body. And women will kill themselves trying to get it.
Reprinted with permission from Chris Wind.
chriswind [at] zworg [dot] com