And the Oscar for Best Supporting Act goes to … a cosmetic surgeon

As I watched the Oscars ceremony earlier this week, it wasn’t the frocks that fascinated me. It was the faces. Ageless face after ageless, frozen face, despite their owners being in their 50s and beyond.

I wished the interviewers would acknowledge the preposterousness of the faces, instead of gushing about how beautiful the women were. I wished they would ask them outright, “So, what procedures have you had?”

“So, what procedures have you had done?” Yeah, can’t see Kimmel asking that one. Sadly. Credit:Invision

The fantasy is improbable, but I am very tired of the exaltation of the “ageless” face, and the myths about “natural” beauty. I am tired of hearing older celebrities claim they “tried Botox once but didn’t like it”, or that they owe their unlined dials to sunscreen or moisturiser or organic food. And I am tired of famous women being praised for posting no-filter selfies, when their unfiltered faces have been plumped and tucked and sliced.

Now, before you remind me, I agree: women can do what they want with their bodies. Of course, women can have cosmetic procedures. I just want them to be honest. I want them to stop gaslighting the rest of us. I want them to look into the camera, say “I had a mini-facelift last year” and stop pretending they just live healthily, or are wonderfully genetically blessed.

I understand the pressures on these very famous women. They are victims of a culture in which female ageing is reviled. I understand that they are trying to hang on to their careers. And I understand how hard it is to lose your youthful good looks, and the deep desire to maintain them at any cost.

But you can be a victim of a culture and a perpetrator. And these women are some of the most powerful in the world. They are movie stars and models, they are extremely wealthy, and they have influence and status.

Jane Fonda has admitted to having had cosmetic surgery – why can’t other famous women do the same?Credit:AP

And they are actively perpetrating myths which create insanely unrealistic beauty standards which do very real harm to other women.

Actions have consequences, particularly when a person is highly influential. When a female celebrity has cosmetic procedures and lies about it, she is harming other women.

She is pretending that her ageless face is normal and attainable, if only you use sunscreen and eat organic and live a good and healthy life. She is holding up her face as some sort of moral and aesthetic triumph. And this makes regular women feel like moral and aesthetic failures. It makes us feel ashamed of our normal, ageing faces.

I imagine there are many reasons why women, particularly famous women, would lie about having interventions. If you have been lauded for being naturally beautiful, it must be mortifying to admit you aren’t so natural anymore. If you are a brand ambassador for some over-the-counter face cream, it might affect your contract to admit to cosmetic procedures.

Botox anyone? It’s Oscars time!Credit:Wolter Peeters

And fame, particularly the type of fame associated with great beauty, thrives on the notion of specialness. Superstars are chosen. They are elevated. They are different to the rest of us. If they admit to getting jowly or saggy like everyone else, they simply won’t hold that same, mysterious allure.

Still, fame comes with privileges, and it also comes with responsibilities, and one of those responsibilities is to not gaslight their fans. That means not saying, “I get baby Botox every few months” when they really get brow-lifts and lip enhancements and cheek implants.

It means not saying, “I once had fillers, but I let them dissolve” when they’ve had Restylane injections for the past 15 years. It means being transparent.

There is precedent. Jane Fonda acknowledged her facelift some time ago, and she remained extremely famous. Other celebrities have acknowledged cosmetic procedures like nose jobs or breast enhancements or lip injections. It’s time for all famously beautiful women to stop lying to us, and acknowledge the cosmetic procedures that keep them “ageless”.

Until then, I remain fascinated by their youthful faces. And I wonder what they will look like in 20 years.

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