Monday, March 3, 2014

Let's Get Real


I had a whole post planned here today about the Muffin Man's new zest for eating and how he's getting ready to walk and blah, blah, blah, blah.  It was funny and witty and full of my usual self-deprecation and I'm sure you would've enjoyed it, but that all went out the window when I sat down to watch the Oscars last night.  Friends, I am just so unbelievably horrified at the botoxed and plasticized faces and bodies of these women that we, as a society, consider to be the female ideal.  As I watched the TV cameras pan around the Dolby Theater, or show close-ups of this star and that star, I began to notice that almost every single one of them looked like a wax figure.  There were no frown lines, no smile lines, no crows feet, no wrinkled necks or post-baby tummy pooches.  In fact, I'm not sure that the majority of the women making a living as actresses in Hollywood are capable of moving the muscles of their faces to convey a genuine emotion.  When did our standard of beauty here in the United States become something akin to the visage of a porcelain doll instead of that of a human?  Aren't people's faces supposed to be a map of the lives they've lived, as opposed to a calling card for Dr. Rosenblum, FACS?  

I don't know if my newfound outrage has to do with the fact that I am now a Mother, and therefore want the world to be a better place for my offspring, or if it is related to seeing a face in the mirror every morning that is aging rapidly, but whatever the case, I'm on a tear.  I want to see women who look their age and whose faces give me some taste of the sorrows they've felt and the joys they've experienced.  I no longer want to read magazines with photoshopped images gracing the pages.  NO SINGLE (HUMAN) WOMAN IS PERFECT.  It's not possible.  But I don't want to look in the mirror every day and beat myself up because I don't look perfect like the celebrities that grace our TVs and movie screens.  I am a living, breathing, real woman in her thirties, and I don't have a forehead full of Botox and a makeup artist on speed dial to disguise that fact.  My eyebrows are a mess because instead of getting them waxed I'm chasing after a small human who seems to be able to crawl at the speed of light.  Yep, I do have grey hair, and the reason you're seeing it is because trying to find three hours to go get my roots colored is nigh on impossible.

A lot of newsprint and online space is taken up discussing how damaging Hollywood's obsession with weight is to young women, which is all well and good, but I'm concerned with the message that is being sent to women of all ages that it is vital to retain the look of youth no matter what the cost.  The truth is that these people look like freaks.  I can't imagine that Kim Novak's real face could possibly be more frightening than the one she's currently wearing and that was purchased to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Or how about Goldie Hawn, whose visage no longer matches the rest of her?  And let's not leave the men who are guilty of crimes against plastic surgery out of this equation either.  John Travolta, in addition to looking like he walked out of Madame Tussaud's, has apparently had so much work done that he can no longer read a name off of a teleprompter.  This madness has got to stop.

If you're at all skeptical about employing actors with real faces, I urge you to take a look at the Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  I admit that I found it a bit jarring initially to see women (and men) who look their ages and have the attendant wrinkles and imperfections that go hand-in-hand with getting older, but after a few minutes of seeing this normalcy on the big screen I felt joy, actual happiness, that there exists a world outside of Hollywood where women look like women and not like plastic dolls.  Wouldn't it be refreshing, even validating, to watch a movie at the Arclight and see someone who looks like the rest of us - with all of our numerous flaws - flit across the big screen?  I would definitely feel a heck of a lot more inclined to pay $24 a ticket if I thought I might see a woman more representative of what I and my contemporaries look like.  Hey, I like movie magic as much as the next person, but I could use just a bit more reality thrown in with my fantasy.

On the other hand, maybe I'm just bitter and jaded and I need to pop another Xanax, make an appointment to get some Botox, and think about having a breast lift.

Image courtesy The Hollywood Reporter

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