(this piece appeared in its original form on AMotherWorld.com in 2012)
Oh, hello Lara Flynn Boyle, I didn’t recognize you and your new face.
You ask why she has done this to herself, but come on, you know why. Why do celebrities repeatedly undergo procedures that eventually destroy the faces we once idolized? Why do celebs get plastic surgery when they don’t have to? Because you want them to, that’s why.
It’s no secret that society shames aging and aims to rip away whatever shred of confidence we have in ourselves. There are anti-aging products aimed at eight-year-olds, for pete’s sake. There are creams, serums, lotions and potions that scream at us to use them to fight off fine lines, wrinkles, greys, sags, anything relating to aging or being less than Photoshop-perfection. Cosmetic procedures and botox are available at walk-in clinics and there are even easy-payment options if you can’t afford the price of a face lift all at once.
Gossip blogs tear women apart for having aged hands, or question whether a 53-year old woman is“too old” to perform at the Superbowl halftime show (really? REALLY?). There are sites dedicated to displaying celebrity befores and afters, tearing apart the work they’ve had done.
On one hand, companies promote self-esteem and natural beauty while the other half of their corporation works to destroy everything woman have worked so hard to overcome. Red carpet events peel off the layers of celebrity fashion and comment on their random “flaws” – flaws that are not actually flaws, but the reality of being human. Yes, believe it or not, most of us have flyaway hairs, bulges where our bras tighten around our bodies and veins under our skin. We mock their blemishes to feel better about our own. Oh, she’s wearing too much makeup! Oh, she’s not wearing enough! Look at her flabby arms! Her chest looks old. Her face looks too tight. Her cheeks are saggy!
We gobble up these insults. We participate in the celebrity-bashing. And then we look at our daughters and we complain that the Big Bad Businesses are objectifying them, and rage against all that holds them down.
I’m not saying we held the syringe to Lara’s face, but we did nothing to stop her, did we?
Lara Flynn Boyle then (left), and now (rightWe tore Whitney Houston to pieces and mocked her addiction relentlessly while she lived. And when she finally succumbed to her demons, we raised her atop a pedestal and tsk-tsked the world for not having saved her. We pummel Lindsay Lohan with insults and push for her demise, too. If the time comes and she is also a victim, will we then remember her potential too late? We mock Amanda Bynes for her looks, her mental instability, while we mourn the loss of Robin Williams — a life snatched away by the same demons eating Bynes alive.
And today’s hottest news is that “Renee Zellweger is unrecognizable” after plastic surgery.
Where before, people openly mocked Zellweger for the shape of her eyes, her body and more, now they mock her decision to have surgery. The things I’m reading online about her, and others who she’s being compared to, are absolutely vile.
I’m not judging the decision to have plastic surgery. To each their own. But I am absolutely pointing a finger at those sitting at home criticizing peoples’ looks. How dare you?
Celebrities are humans, too, and react the same way to insults as you would. If you walked out of the house today and returned to find the internet abuzz discussing your body, wouldn’t we all rally to your support? Of course we would. It isn’t right to shred anyone’s appearance, it just isn’t. It destroys self-esteem and perpetuates the things we’re all fighting so hard to stop our daughters from experiencing.
The reason celebrities do this to themselves is because you sit there on your couch eating potato chips, dissing that woman for looking old, that one for being too skinny, this one for being too fat, the other one for being a whore, and all of them for making choices of which you disapprove. Go look in the mirror and re-evaluate the reasons you’re tearing someone else to pieces and maybe that little bit of perspective will save us all from having to feel like collagen lips should be our next investment. Invest in self-esteem from within and maybe we’ll start seeing faces more like ours in ads and on film.
We can’t possibly pretend we’re being supportive of women, of the aging process, of natural beauty when we participate in these kinds of abusive conversations.