CDMX.- We know, of course, that men can be beautiful, but we rarely acknowledge, much less analyze, the powerful influence of male beauty.
That power was a crucial, and yet singularly unrecognized, element in Johnny Depp’s libel trial against Amber Heard, which concluded this month.
Depp, like many Hollywood megastars, has long benefited from his remarkable physical attractiveness, which clearly played a role in the support he received on social media during the trial (something that it’s hard to imagine the jury knowing about). not isolated did not notice).
But Depp is not your typical handsome American actor. He is “a man who still has a reputation as one of the most beautiful men in Hollywood,” as Katie Edwards wrote in The Independent.
Instagram and Twitter accounts dedicated to the trial amassed tens of thousands of followers and regularly posted hundreds of close-up photos of the actor.
One page on Instagram, depp_perfection, had nearly 40,000 followers. Another account, johnny.deep.fan, had more than 30,000 followers and the tagline “he’s like a dream.”
It’s hard to pinpoint the origins of accounts like these two (if they could be linked to Depp’s defense and PR teams at all), but it seems clear that for many of the actor’s fans, his physical attractiveness offered an outward manifestation of inner worth. .
On Twitter, hundreds of accounts, many with names that included phrases like “Justice Was Done for Johnny Depp” (with more than 41,000 followers) focused on Depp’s physical beauty, assuring us, for example, that Depp is “just as beautiful in real life”, or calling him a “king” or a “god”.
It is unusual to see male beauty inspiring such moral conclusions. They are usually the women whose appearance is broken down into innumerable parts to be evaluated or adorned (eyes, lips, skin, hair).
They are primarily women whose beauty is constantly scrutinized for signs of deterioration or perceived flaws, attributed to age, weight gain, inadequate (or even excessive) grooming, or other potential crimes.
Metaphorically, women occupy the realm of faces and bodies. Men presumably inhabit the realm of ideas and action.
So, according to popular belief, by focusing on a man’s beauty (rather than his virility, for example), or using it to judge his character, we risk castrating him, depriving him of his inner worth, his spirit. , his strength or his achievements. Therefore, we avoid mentioning male beauty much.
Depp turns out to be an exception to this rule. At his middle age, he still possesses unusual and captivating facial beauty. She is a beauty beyond conventional good looks and, especially in her youth, she ventured into somewhat feline and even feminine territory: a symmetrical face with large, dark, almond-shaped eyes; a small nose as if she were sculpted; the highest, most well-defined cheekbones she could imagine; and thick, wavy hair.
Even fans who no longer thought Depp was the great beauty he once was could easily conjure up images of the actor as a younger man. That close-up-worthy face helped make Depp a star and has been heavily extolled for decades.
“You have to understand, Johnny Depp in 1989, (he was) so beautiful,” actress Jennifer Gray declared on the Drew Barrymore talk show. “He’s almost inhuman,” added Grey, who was briefly engaged to him.
Also consider the iconic roles for which Depp became famous, created for films directed by Tim Burton, his longtime collaborator: Young Scissorhands, Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Ichabod Crane in Legend of the Horseman Headless, Sweeney Todd and the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland.
Later, of course, he would receive great acclaim and wealth for his role as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean saga.
These cartoony characters are makeup-heavy roles that require an elaborate cosmetic makeover (rings of black eyeliner, eye shadow, wacky colored wigs, lipstick, top hats) that draw exceptional attention to the face below.
To withstand all this scrutiny, an actor needs uncommon facial beauty, expressiveness, and cinematic finesse. And even more complicated, he needs to look good wearing all this makeup while, at the same time, still being a hunk.
That’s quite a challenge, requiring a kind of gender flexibility, but not too much.
Depp has a face like that, and he knows how to use it too. On the stand he managed to display a visible delight in his own attractiveness, while, at the same time, expressing just enough self-irony to preclude accusations of petulance or vanity.
Further strengthening the quality of his appeal was a supportive testimonial from an ex-girlfriend, ’90s supermodel Kate Moss.
Moss described Depp as a kind and loving partner, dispelling the persistent rumor that he had once pushed her down some stairs. That this woman, famous for decades as a near-silent icon of exceptional beauty, broke her silence to support (and fight to exonerate) Depp only polished the celebrity sheen the actor had been cultivating in court, reinforcing the bond. between an extraordinary external beauty and moral impeccability.
It seems that Depp’s level of male beauty represents a curious “X-factor,” an almost magical quality that casts aside even long-standing gender assumptions: in a contest between an older, wealthier male and a smaller, less powerful, beauty can help make that man look younger, weaker, and more vulnerable, making him a helpless victim of the woman’s alleged physical assault (even in light of the evidence presented by Heard’s attorneys alleging otherwise).
All without depriving the man of his other more conventional masculine privilege.
Heard is also beautiful, but her appearance, while much talked about, did her little good in the court of public opinion. On the contrary, Heard’s beauty was often used against her, being presented as proof of her ability to deceive.
Despite her lawyers’ arguments that she was the victim of physical abuse at the hands of Depp, accompanied by photos of bruises, witness statements and rulings in her favor in a British court, the actress was perceived as the aggressor, a femme fatale. whose attractive façade concealed a repulsive wickedness.