(Originally posted April 10, 2009 to Simple Minds, Jenn’s blog.)
by Jenn Weinshenker
I saw an advertisement of an young actress I recognized, who had her lips plumped. She is a young actress who has a lovely face. And I thought, why would she do something like this? Make her face look so fake and unattractive? Who told her this was an improvement? Who told her this was a great investment in her future?
I don’t turn on TV much. Can’t stand the commercials. I check out movies and docs and instructional DVDs from the library. So when I do watch some TV it is shocking to me how plastic the American definition of beauty has become.
Plastic procedures have become so pervasive in our society that you can hardly tell what a real person looks like anymore. Ultra skinny women have these ginormous boobs and fat lips and pulled back skin and no expressions on their faces or lopsided faces because of the Botox they have pumped into their skin. And they look like monsters.
Honestly, I wonder, who sells these women on spending their money on these hideous plastic surgeries and procedures that make them look like stretched, frozen freaks?
Women aren’t allowed to age gracefully in America. If you put on a few pounds, get gray hair or have a few wrinkles you are pushed out of the picture.
Well, I would like to say something about this. “Wake Up! You don’t need to buy into this unrealistic ideal of what a beautiful woman looks like. You can be short, have curves, have wrinkles and you don’t have to be built like a 5 foot 9 inch boy to be attractive.”
Women have sold themselves out for the price of a $5.00 magazine and a $10 flick. Why?
If you think supporting this definition of beauty, or of what makes you valuable is true…think again. Think at all.
The excuse women give for doing these procedures to themselves, is that if they don’t they won’t find work. Oh really. Well, then instead of buying 1,000 pair of shoes at $400+ a pop, how’s about throwing on some tennies and traveling around in the real world? Or read a book. Or take a class. Or get an interest that doesn’t revolve around your ego. Or support a writer and create a film that depicts women as something more than lilies on the vine waiting to be plucked by some one who will validate their existence. And women, really, if you need some one else to give you a sense of worth maybe you need to work a little more on how you think and how you live your life. Ask yourself, “Am I kind? Am I being compassionate? Am I being honest with myself; with others? Am I being judgmental or prideful? Can I grow by trying a different approach to this problem? Or opportunity? Should I read a book and try to learn something about this problem or opportunity? I have an idea of what will make the world a better place; am I doing my part?”
Get real. That’s all I’ve got to say. Concentrate on having some substance and living purposefully and for crying out loud, if the film industry or television or advertisers are telling you that you have to make yourself look grotesque in order to sell yourself — quit supporting the system of self-hatred and do something else with your life. Because what you are buying into, you are supporting. And because you are supporting this industry you are also taking part in spreading this mentality through the media like a virus.
We don’t have to starve ourselves to have value. We don’t have to wear expensive clothes or have walk-in closets or $400 shoes or expensive cars or have procedures done to us so we don’t look human anymore. If we want to have value it is up to us to define what that means to us. We need to put some time and effort into our lives and stop accepting the garbage we are being fed.
There is this mentality that has spewed its way into the 21st century that says, you have to be young, skinny, big boobed, tight assed, stupid and have money to get a real man. Really? Well, if that is the case let me tell you some truth right now…it is better to be free, have a few wrinkles and live this life, really live this life every moment…than to be so obsessed with getting attention that you would do anything to maintain, in some fake desperate attempt to live up to a warped definition of what it means to be a woman, from those who don’t have a clue.
You want to have value? It requires more than four hours at a salon. It requires giving this life your undivided attention. It means you need to learn how to develop some real stretch marks and learn how to give of yourself and connect to the world around you and to the people around you.
You need to turn off the TV and read a book. Stop spending your money on things that don’t add substance and quality to your life and just be still. It won’t cost you a thing and you just might get a good spontaneous, original idea. Calm down so you can function from a position of confidence and strength, based on the substance of your life.
Do you want to see what a real woman looks like? Check out any film with Anna Magnani in it. It’ll be an old black and white flick. She was a woman all the way.
2009 Jenn Weinshenker. All Rights Reserved.
Right on Jenn! This is a superb article. Not only a blast at the industry but a wake up call yo any of us who have ever caved in to their propaganda.
In this age of photoshop it is important to remember and to let our children know that the images seen on, TV, movies and magazines are faked. Real people have curves, wrinkles, (im)perfections that make us unique individuals.
thank you! i am e-mailing this to all my women friends. we should all be ourselves and proud of it, no matter how we were born.
Part of the reason they go ultra thin is TV cameras make a person look fatter than they really are. But I have never found “fat” offensive. I think our focus and fetish regarding weight actually contributes to weight problems, and anorexia. I don’t find it unattractive. In fact I have always found the Twiggy look bothersome.
Other than lip “plumping,” you may notice many of our stars have really, sometimes grossly so, long lips. Think Julia Roberts.
All of this is so much like dog shows. Like dog shows which focus in on perfectly tuliped ears, the perfect curl to the tail… we focus on “perfect” women. Men on the screen suffer from some of this, but no where near as much. Our beauty contests, who we choose to be models… society treats people like we treat our animals: as objects.
Is it so surprising when we treat each other that way?
@ Ken Carman:
Well put! I really enjoy foreign flicks. And it is astonishing to see the difference between women in those films and women in typical American films.
Give me a wrinkled brow anyday!
Thanks for your comment.
Truly, if our lives aren’t about more than master suites and walk in closets or plastic surgery or grasping with claws out for someone to validate us than what I have come to understand is, we aren’t living our own. We are living someone’s definition of what we are supposed to be.
How boring is that. To spend a lifetime never having lived our own.
@ Ana Grarian:
So true. Being a woman, earning that gray hair, having smile lines around your mouth and eyes is far more interesting to me than mindless boy-bodies whose greatest offering to contemporary culture is, “That’s hot.”
thanks for responding to me. u are a wonderfull writer with very good ideas.