In her studies, in publishing and in her accounting

In Jane Martin’s
play, Beauty, a common conflict found
is that of desiring what others have and vice versa, not realizing each person
has their unique accomplishments and achievements.  The characters in this play are dealing with
beauty and jealousy issues, although they do not necessarily have a problem
with each other they have an inner conflict of wanting what the other has
revealing the gender role of the stereotypical jealous woman and one of whom focuses
on external beauty.  Therefore, a
feminist theme is noticeable in each of the main characters throughout the
play.

Carla is beautiful,
but lacks brains and wit and because of her outstanding beauty men are always
paying attention to her to the point that her life revolves around going on
dates and spending a considerable amount of time talking on the phone. Her lack
of intelligence is so noticeable that she cannot even remember simple things
like the page number on the book she is reading (965).  But in the other hand, Bethany cannot match
Carla in beauty, but she is a bright and a very intelligent girl. Her
intelligence has enabled her to be successful in her studies, in publishing and
in her accounting career.  The play
focuses on Carla’s and Bethany’s beauty, Carla is characterized as the perfect
and beautiful success story, whereas Bethany is characterized as the ugly
screw-up.  The irony is that neither
Carla nor Bethany appreciates what they have and both wish to have what the other
has.

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The two characters
are discontent with their status to a point that it brings out emotions of
jealousy.  As Bethany explains to Carla her
encounter with the genie and that she has one wish left, she informs her that
she wants to ask the genie to make her be more like her.  That is when the reader finds out about both
characters displeasure with each other’s life and how they both wish to be in
each other’s shoes.  For example, when
Carla tells Bethany, “you have charm. 
You have personality.  You know
perfectly well you’re pretty” (964) Bethany’s response to her statement is,
“Pretty, see that’s it.  Pretty is the
minor leagues of beautiful” (964). 
Bethany’s answer is that of one who is lead to believe in this society
that beauty equals success and happiness, which is why many times girls are
willing to go to any length to alter their appearance.  It is more representative of women to give
extra attention to ones look and to give harder criticism on other women’s appearance
than it is of men.

It is unfortunate
that people tend to be dissatisfied with what they have to where it may lead to
jealous feelings, and this could bring devastating effects on the individual.  The fact that Carla is trying to explain to
Bethany how unhappy she is telling her, “Well, it’s not what I want” (965) in
reference to Bethany’s comment that everyone wants beauty, Bethany’s
interpretation is that Carla just does not want her to be in her “league”
(365).  Bethany’s obsession is a clear depiction
of what some women tend to believe that the lives of others are better than
their own. Instead of seeing their own happiness, some women in this society
tend to compare their achievements with that of others and all they can see is
drawbacks and disadvantages. 

At the end of the
play when Bethany’s last wish is fulfilled their bodies switch where each girl
becomes the other.  They both say, “We
both have the one thing, the one and only thing everybody wants, what is that,
different problems” (966) it is there where both girls learn their lesson about
jealousy.  That everyone has problems and
that one can look up to other’s but that does not mean that they have a perfect
life or like the saying goes, the grass is not always greener on the other
side.  Carla and Bethany are a clear
representation of women and gender and the role they play in society.  It is Martin’s insightful advice to society that
one should stop looking for happiness in other places when it only weakens ones
achievements and accomplishments.