I saw Steve the Stylist yesterday for a haircut. While waiting for him, I found myself drawn to one of those “plastic surgery disasters”-type cover stories on a celebrity magazine, in which different photographs of celebrities (all women) are compared, analyzed by cosmetic surgeons, and the results decried as “ruining” the celebrities’ faces, breasts, or whatever. We both commented on the rank unfairness of an entertainment industry that won’t employ women over 35 or 40 unless they’ve had repeated cosmetic interventions, but then of course these women are mocked and derided for succumbing to the procedures that keep them employable.
Steve offered a fascinating observation based on having had clients who have had botox injections. He said that he thinks it subtracts from their personalities, as though botox also freezes up people’s emotions and empathy as well as their facial muscles. We speculated that it might have something to do with the more limited range of facial expressions that post-botox patients have that might make it seem like people’s personalities change.
I don’t have any experience with this, as I don’t *think* I know anyone who’s had cosmetic surgery. (One friend of mine had a breast reduction, about a decade ago, and another one is contemplating it, but I think that says a lot about the crowd I run with: we’re just about the last people in the world to want big boobs and/or care much about a few wrinkles or sagging skin.) But I found Steve’s observation about botox-induced personality changes very interesting.
About those cruel photographs: it always strikes me that “having work done” doesn’t make people look younger, it just makes them look like they’ve had work done. So what, I wonder, is the point? Do women actors and entertainers need to make their ritual offering of flesh and blood to display their deference to Hollywood values? They’ll still end up being cast as the 35-year old male lead’s mother when they’re only in their mid-forties, anyway. Perhaps this is why so many canny women on the brink of middle-age decide to retreat behind the camera. Whatever happened to Julia Roberts? Where has Halle Berry been lately?
(Photo above by Hans Bellmer, 1935.)