"Keep Young & Beautiful If You Want To Be Loved"... AKA the most un-pc & sexist clip I'll probably ever post

Ok, so I'm writing today about a clip that to be honest, is just insane. However, it is extremely entertaining, mostly because you have to laugh at just how not politically correct and sexist it is!

This clip is a song called Keep Young & Beautiful if You Want to be Loved, from the movie Roman Scandals (MGM, 1933).

The film stars Eddie Cantor (if you don't know anything about Eddie Cantor, he was a famous comedian, actor, singer, dancer & songwriter who performed in vaudeville and with the ziegfeld follies, as well as a number of movies. You can read more about him here), and I was able to find a very well-written summary of the film on this site:

Eddie Cantor stars in this musical-comedy farce as "Eddie," a genial, wistful loner who stumbles upon corruption in his home town of West Rome, Oklahoma. He sides with a group of poor townspeople (one of whom is played by Lucille Ball) who are being evicted from their homes for failure to pay their mortgages... and is himself thrown out of town.

Trudging along the highway, Eddie daydreams his way back to Ancient Rome, where things are not much better... He is arrested by a group of Roman soldiers, who turn him over to slave auctioneers. Because of his strange and amusing personality, he escapes torture and gets assigned to the home of the emperor (Edward Arnold) as a food taster. He also makes the acquaintance of a deposed courtesan, played by the popular singer, Ruth Etting.

The musical highlight of the film comes when Cantor, trying to escape the palace guards, wanders into the quarters of the emperor's ladies (The Goldwyn Girls), a harem of splendid proportions. (Lucy, of course, is one of the beauties.)

Eventually, Eddie makes his escape from Rome in a wild chariot chase, and after getting knocked out, he awakens to find himself back in modern-day West Rome. By now the corrupt officials have been exposed, and Eddie is hailed as the hero of the townspeople.


So now where do I begin with this clip?

First off, it is extremely sexist. Let's discuss the lyrics of the song... here's essentially how it starts:

Keep young and beautiful
It's your duty to be beautiful
Keep young and beautiful
If you want to be loved

Don't fail to do your stuff
with a little powder and a puff
Keep young and beautiful

If you're wise exercise all the fat off
Take it off, off of here, off of there
When you're seen anywhere with your hat off
Have a permanent wave in your hair

Take care of those charms
And you'll always be in someone's arms
Keep young and beautiful
If you want to be loved


Another one of my favorite lines:

You'll always have your way
If he likes you in a négligée
Keep young and beautiful
If you want to be loved


Oh and yes, the women are ALL BLONDES...by that I mean that it's clear that many of them are wearing wigs. See the picture above? That's Goldwyn Girl Lucille Ball... with a LONG blonde wig on. As the girls sing their song, they are patted down and massaged by African American women (their own hair wrapped up).

I feel like this song totally perpetuates the stereotype of what beauty is, especially for the culture of black women in our society historically. Anyone see the Chris Rock documentary, "Good Hair"? Black women will spend a minimum of $1,000.00 for a weave of straight hair to be attached to their head. It's insane! In the documentary, Chris explores how historically (through advertising, and clips light this one) women have developed these ideas of what beauty is and should be - in this case, it's platinum blonde.

Also this clip... you could say it's just a little racist. One of my favorite non-pc moments is at 3:00 min in. The scene shows the blonde jezebels standing in a row, with the camera focused from their thighs down. As they stand there, the black spa servant women pat down their legs, until the ladies step forward, and we see the black women smile at the camera while massaging the calves of the white women, with this look on their face like, "oh boy! I love making white women look beautiful!" Soon after, one of the spa servants is shown brushing the Rapunzel hair of one girl, and it looks like she's brushing it like we did our My Little Pony hair when we were kids!

Then we finally get into the dancing at around 3:35. You get to see both the blonde girls as well as the black girls dance.

And then after that, it just gets more fucked up. I'll let you watch the clip now to see the most ridiculous ending ever, but I'll give you a small hint at the insanity: there's a "little person" involved.

Here is Keep Young & Beautiful if You Want to be Loved, from the movie Roman Scandals (MGM, 1933).

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