Friday, October 24, 2014

Wrapped in Plastic, It's Fantastic

I'll start by admitting that I don't like plastic surgery. I just don't. I'll add that I'm a total hypocrite about it. I hate plastic surgery, I hate people changing their appearance more often to fit the desires and perceptions of others than to feel good about themselves in and their own skin... but... I totally understand it. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't envious of celebrities who can get a tummy tuck along with their c-section to walk out of the hospital looking like a million dollars (which is probably about what that costs).

Obviously the deep thoughts have been spurred by people throwing around Renee Zellweger's picture and expressing their shock at her appearance. I certainly have. I look at the woman who came to that party, and I have trouble seeing Bridget Jones. She looks thinner, her forehead looks too smooth for her age, and the whole overall thing weirds me out. There. I said it. I'm shallow enough that her changing her look? It freaks me out. Even though she is obviously happy and perfectly well adjusted about the whole thing. "I'm glad folks think I look different! I'm living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows." In all fairness, I don't believe it's all living differently. I'd put down good money that she's had work done. I just hate that I care so much that she has.

There are obvious targets on the pitfalls of plastic surgery like Joan Rivers or Dolly Parton (I adore Dolly, so not throwing shade, but it's fair to say she's gone a bit far). I think the person who really threw me for my first major loop was Meg Ryan. My mom and I have always shared a love for a good, sappy Meg Ryan rom com, so when I first saw her with her face pulled tight and her lips pumped up, my heart sank. I hated that she'd changed herself in what appeared to be an attempt to stave off aging or keep up with some kind of bizarre appearance-based trend to have puffy lips. She looked (and still looks) pretty darn awful. But why should I care if she's still capable of the same level of acting?

Jennifer Grey has been very up front about her regrets in regard to changing her nose - once a signature of her appearance. "I went into the ­operating room a ­celebrity and came out anonymous,” she said. “It was the nose job from hell. I’ll always be this once-famous actress nobody ­recognizes because of a nose job.” And, again, I hate myself a little for caring. She's still a great actress, she's still lovely, she's got a gorgeous husband and a beautiful daughter, and she seems very happy. Yet somehow I still regret her changing how she looks for some misguided common idea of beauty as she does. I wonder how much more gorgeous she'd be if she'd just let herself change and age naturally.

I wish I had some inspiring close to this rambling blog entry, but I don't. I remain conflicted. I want people to be happy in their own skin, but I also don't want anyone to think they have to CHANGE that skin to make other people happy or because they're not allowed to age and change naturally. I want people (famous or not) to know that they're good enough as they are and that there are far less extreme ways than surgery to smooth out the less than perfect parts we've all got. I want to stop judging people on their looks - even people who have had plastic surgery that makes me feel slightly queasy. I want what's on the outside to stop mattering so much and to be able to look past it consistently and thoroughly instead of just when someone's appearance is something that fits my idea of natural beauty.
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