Today, a fellow writer commented on a post I threw up (vomited would be more apt) onto Facebook about, well, a face, ironically.
You see, Renee Zellweger, our own Brigit Jones has, well…she’s morphed.
Morphed? How so, you, dear reader, may ask. To be blunt, she’s literally bought herself a new face. No, it’s not so much a bad facelift as it’s almost a face transplant. To be even more blunt, she looks like a different human being entirely. And my comments on this brought out a debate that got me thinking whilst I lathered, rinsed, repeated.
WHY THE HELL DO I CARE WHO’S FACE SHE’S WEARING! Seriously.
Kerry Hyatt is a gifted writer. She’s also one of the most intelligent women I know. She’s also beautifully intelligent. Listening to this woman (or reading) what she has to say always raises my I.Q a few points, and that’s not easily done, trust me.
She made a very sage observation that everyone made a huge fuss over Renee’s new look, and not a syllable found itself printed about her aging companion in the photo. Why? Well, first, it’s very possible it’s because he’s not as famous (if he’s famous at all). And most importantly, it’s also case in point here; he’s male.
With few exceptions, most people seem to focus on a woman’s fading beauty, and her need to desperately hold onto her youth, while a man can wither and decay, and no one bothers to pay any heed.
Is it the fault of the actress/singer/dancer etc?
Is it the fault of the media?
Is it the fault of the public?
Who’s business is it anyways?
The operative here is “business”. If an actress in Hollywood wishes to continue being considered for lucrative roles in film, she’s pressured to remain in a time capsule. On the flip side, if a man wishes to remain relevant, all he needs to do is let it all hang out.
How many James Bond movies have you watched with a twenty year old actor at the helm?
As Tracey Ullman once uttered “Unless you’re an Oscar winner in Hollywood past the age of 40, its slim pickings for an actress”.
Gena Rowlands once said to Teri Garr when she was white-hot back during her “Tootsie” period; “Wait until they write that your face has been ravaged by time”.
I’m betting Sean Connery or Harrison Ford never read such shit written in their reviews.
So, I guess what I’m writing here is less of a rebuttal to Kerry’s lament, and more of an apology for feeding into the ageist convention women continually suffer from, here, there, hell, everywhere, in one form or another.
For what it’s worth, even though I don’t agree with Renee’s decision to alter her appearance, ultimately, I’m not the one that has to look at it each morning. It’s her show, and if it’s made her feel better about herself, then you go girl!
What I would LIKE to point out here though is that I am as fed up as hell at women constantly feeling the need to rip apart their bodies to validate themselves to others as they get older. Now, please don’t misunderstand. I have no problem with a woman who gets “freshened up” because she genuinely feels better after it’s all said and done. For that matter, same for goes for any man. What I don’t cotton to is the ideology that a woman feels pressured to alter her appearance to remain viable in Hollywood. That is just as sad and as wrong as it gets, period.
So where does this end? Why do we place so much importance on youth?
I’m a 49-year-old man, struggling with his weight, and trying to appear relevant to people who could potentially be signing my paychecks. I truly do understand what the Renee’s of the world are going through. I do. Where I part company with her, and those like her is my decision to not alter my appearance.
It doesn’t make me better, it simply is my spin on aging, the end.
When I was approaching my 40’s, there was a man on TV hawking miracle cleaning supplies named Willy Mays. He was an attractive enough man, but I had noticed that over the years his hair (he sported a full beard and head of hair) became blacker and black until it seemed you could no longer see his face on the commercials. His beard and hair took on a “black hole” appearance, clearly the results of Grecian Formula 16.
I vowed I’d never look that foolish.
Well, I’m now pushing fifty, and as my hair turns kinky and silver, I can kind of understand why some men will put up with shoe polish coloured dyes. If you keep it younger, you keep yourself looking like you can still compete.
Are we in danger of going the way of Joan Rivers? Well, not really, because a woman is almost always subjected to a lot more discrimination and pressure than her male counterparts. I dunno, it’s almost as though her value is seemingly attached to her ovaries. That, and the lithe nature of her curves.
Anything less than Cosmo-perfecto = damaged beauty, and more often than not finds itself discarded.
In writing all of this, there is a movement in progress, one that gives me great hope for the future. It started with Kathy Bates years ago. You see, Kathy was a woman of size. And she never felt the need to apologize for it, either. Kathy let herself age, droop and jiggle. And Kathy continues to work, rather successfully I might add, in Hollywood.
Melissa McCarthy is another role model. She’s big, bold and beautiful, and comes as well without a single apology for who she is. And she’s box office. Where the Jennifer Anistons and Meryl Streeps of the world are raking in the bucks, Melissa is also cleaning up with most of her films, and is proving that looks ain’t everything.
Personally, I think Melissa is pretty as she is. And I hope she stays true to who she is today. But if she doesn’t, again, whose business is it anyway.
In closing, I’d like to leave you, dear reader, with a thought. It’s something you may or may not care to toss around in one of your quieter moments:
When you wake up and see yourself all baggy eyed in the mirror and think to yourself “self, maybe it’s time I had a little Botox party”; remember that you’re best foot forward is all that truly matters in this life. If it takes a fresher looking you to get there, then bring on the botulism.
Don’t ever let anyone bring you down for your decision. It’s your life.
To quote one more famous person here, and she sums it up beautifully; “If I want to wear my tits on my back, it’s no one’s business but my own”
She may never be able to turn back time, but Cher’s probably the one laughing the loudest at those that care more about her nips and tucks than her body of work.