my new favorite broad: juliette lewis on plastic surgery

Somehow I happened upon this Orange County blog (hilarious) in a search for female celebrities who’ve bucked the obsessive trend to inject, carve, vacuum, and laser themselves into a two-dimensional ideal of youthful beauty. By this I mean that it now seems that how we look in photos is more important than how we look in person as three-dimensional, embodied beings.

Call it a “photogenic aesthetic” (my coinage) based on a flat, frontal image that seems to particularly privilege tight wrinkle-free skin, shallow thin noses, big eyes, pouty lips, and a Barbie body (supersize the tits, please) – go figure! Given our culture’s constant immersion in virtual life, and all the technological advances that enable us to better manipulate our bodies to fit this ideal, its no surprise, I guess. But its become a standardized, one-look-fits-all industry as a consequence, and that’s troublesome. Thankfully, there are artists like Genesis Breyer P-Orrridge and Orlan who have used plastic surgery to challenge and pervert this standardization, and I find their work prophetic, consequently.

Whatever your take, its an intriguing phenomenon, and evidence is everywhere. Consider all the face lifts and nose jobs you see on television and in film, which when revealed in the round, and/or animated by flesh, become proportionately awkward, or suddenly monstrous. Its the same aesthetic that encourages anorexic behavior because the camera adds weight.

And full-disclosure: I’ve never had any “work” done: no botox, fillers, dental work, breast implants, laser peel, liposuction, nose job, not even lasik surgery for my bad eyes (which I should fix!), ha. Could that change? Maybe. There’s a lot of pressure out there. Which brings me back to Juliette Lewis, and celebrity women who’ve had the guts not to capitulate to this youth-obsessed “photogenic aesthetic”. Folks like Melissa Leo, Annette Benning, Diane von Furstenberg, and Catherine O’Hara, to name a few whose personalities and work I’ve always admired! While ultimately I say to each their own (its hard being an aging woman in this culture), I also think its important to acknowledge these women as examples – for young girls, especially – that another perspective exists!

Here’s Juliette’s comments on the subject, which inspired this post:

“I want girls to start thinking about what they have to say, what do they have to contribute to their families, to other people, to society?’

“It’s fine if you want to be desirable to your man, that’s sweet. But when people are carving their skin and putting plastic or whatever into their chest, to be more desirable, against this facade of, ‘Oh no, it’s for me. It makes me feel good.’ Well, really?”

Of course, Lewis could be full of shit, but I’m prone to believe her! Who else would happily pose for the paparazzi without makeup? LOVE HER!

Here’s the article to the original quote make{me} where its author, Jet H. Ross, concludes with the prediction that Lewis will change her mind when she gets into her 40s (she’s 38). Time will tell….those mid-40s are murder, I hear!;)