Before you go wondering why I’m being a biotch, just wait for it, because it’s not my opinion, more of an observation. Now, there are several schools of beauty. The most prevalent ones are “less is more” and “more is more.” I subscribe to the less crowd, maybe because I’m lazy, but mostly because I’m not a fan of chemicals or permanent procedures. The mores, well, there’s no limit to what can be done. The make up, the hair, the clothes, the facials, the Botox, the surgeries…who knows when it’s enough? That is what we call a personal decision. Obviously, somewhere in between are people who strike a balance, doing less in some areas and more in others.
To some, looking their best is a lifelong goal, maybe even an obsession. They will do just about anything to attain the ideal. But what if that ideal shifts? It may just have.
Even though I’d like to live and let live, when I see a woman with lip oozing off her frozen face I can’t help but gawk. Was the alternative really that terrifying? Apparently Hollywood thinks not. A recent article in the New York Times discusses how casting agents, directors and studios are now eschewing the plumped up, smoothed and perfected bodies and faces of talent for those untouched by scalpel or needle. Or at least the ones that don’t look like they’ve had work done.
One might say that this is a cause for celebration, that Hollywood is finally sending a message of restraint and wholesomeness. “We like you just as you are,” they seem to be saying. Or, perhaps, they’re actually telling those that went the extra mile to look the part is, “We don’t like you no matter what you do.” Remember when you had that flat chest? Or weird nose? Or sagging skin? Yeah, we do too, and we’re not interested. K, thanks, bye.
Women in particular feel pressure to be sexier, smoother and thinner as they age. Hell, they feel that all the time, from all directions. Perhaps an excellent nose job, or a perfect face lift will go unnoticed, and the actress will continue to get work while drawing lavish praise for her seemingly effortless youthful appearance. But if something goes awry – the breasts look too fake, the face too taught, the emotion gone from her brow – and the punishment is severe. At first it was only the sport of tabloids to discuss who had work done, but now the exact thing that she did to protect her job is the one that will make it more difficult for her to get one.
It should come as no surprise that Hollywood is viciously judgmental when it comes to appearance. Whether “natural” or “fake”, beauty is prized. In fact, it is paramount and it makes sense in a way. Humans like symmetry, which is what beauty really is. So that’s what we enjoy watching. But it certainly doesn’t make those who aren’t aligned as preferred feel so great about themselves. And since most of us are ruled by our ego, feeling unattractive is a sad, lonely world to live in.
Yet the vast majority of people, if not every person ever to walk this earth, at one point, or at a lot of them, feels ugly to some degree for some length of time. Whether Hollywood approves of their visage, or their butt, is ultimately inconsequential, because the most beautiful women can be terribly insecure. No matter the work, or the working out, one day we all get old. Fact is fact. And what of it? It is not that old age is the end of sex or sex appeal, it’s just that it’s a time when you accept you are no longer a tight, virile ball of youth. It doesn’t seem that hard, after all: the new, older you is staring you in the mirror. Still, there are those old photos. And our friends’ photos. Even if we look at celebs and dismiss their glowing skin and flat abs as no more than expensive make up and Spanxx, there are still those around us that look better, or weigh less, or have something we don’t that we’d like.
I wonder how those people, the ones that in pursuit of fame, or hoping to hold onto it, made permanent changes to their bodies feel, knowing that they may have shot themselves in the foot. Will they get more surgery? Or just cry? Or perhaps, in the best case scenario, they are happy. That nip, that pump, that one little surgery made them whole, proud and self-assured. Not that I believe that, but I would like to, because I know that it’s not surgery or make-up that make you comfortable with who you are. It is your own perspective. In the end, there are always judges, but we can ignore them, or at least keep them from originating in our own brain.
After all, you are perfect just as you are. Your body, your voice, your hair. Everything else is a construct. You decide how to live your life, damn everyone else. Like Ed Norton said in Fight Club, self-improvement is masturbation. Do it if it makes you happy, but don’t let it run your life. No one likes a chronic masturbator.