Monday, 13 December 2010

Generic Geriatric

Getting old is now out of style. Wrinkles are shunned more than ever, and procedures which mimic (yet never quite convince) continue to feign plump dewy skin. More worrying still, perhaps the most distressing aspect of plastic surgery: the trend to efface individuality, ethnicity, and in short, personality.

I have nothing against plastic surgery per se; I knew a friend who grew up so tormented by her (how can I put this delicately) huge banana nose, that she would pretend to have a perpetual cold - a handkerchief functioning as a permanent shield. At 16 she had a nose job, and now is confident and walks with her head held high. Who could condemn such an outcome?

Recently I was watching an interview on TV with Bette Midler and I saw elements of Kylie Minogue. The two look nothing alike naturally, but evidently some generalsing ingredient is at work. Spot the difference:

Clearly as a laudable result of the triumph of feminism combined with general modern ideology, women are no longer expected to hang their boots at 30. Instead, wearing tight leather and indeed thigh high boots is probably now becoming the domain of the over 30s proving they still are desirable - if anything more desirable, they try to insist. Marketing campaigns to appeal to women with cash to spare (professional women or bored housewives - no matter) are encouraged by visions of Sex and the City, or Sharon Stone and Andie McDowell fronting skincare adverts; Kate Moss, Charlize Theron fronting perfume adverts. Gone is the option to resign yourself to fate and nature's cruel finality. If attractiveness has been intrinsically linked to fertility and youth, then fake that and carry on as you were. Of course nature is still a powerful Titan, but science conquers all.

Hacking and stretching and plumping their way towards perfection, we are deluged with celebrities who all blend into each other, particularly as they age. And character-full noses or features which betray too much ethnicity, are ebbed away to present an apparition of Beauty.

In modern times where ostensibly there is an acceptance for global beauty, it appears that the reality is that what we really have come to accept is the perfect mix - caramel skin, westernised features. Too much divergence risks their universal appraisal.

Of course there is a timeless and borderless appreciation for beauty, which has been broadly summarised as long limbs, even features: in short, the mathematical inherent nature of beauty as a calming vision. But ageing has historically been a time for beauty to mellow and be replaced by sober dignity, untempered by the pressures of being attractive. Yet now women expect themselves to remould their beauty and re-instate their youth by force.

- This is a good thing! Our lifespans are longer, therefore by default the stretch of time we feel inclined to be fertile/attractive is accordingly extended. Of course only a bigot would return to the days in which a 40 year old single lady could only be described as a hopeless spinster, and dictate that women should know their place, etc. Nevertheless, the trend for plastic surgery which gives women a mask, is horrifying too. Men in the public eye also succumb to plastic surgery, but women have makeup tricks to easily soften and enhance their surgeon's work, which arguably gives them a dangerous carte blanche.

Unfortunately, big noses and big lips seem to go hand in hand if left to nature...

Noses must be straight, denying its atavistic qualities, and of course hair smooth and preferably lightened....

Skin must be taut, put cheekbones or lip enhancements in for any softness though... And (optional but advised) at this stage, best get a toy-boy to complete the effect.

And if your features are not the ideal man's woman, just shape them until they are...

I actually really miss Jordan's old nose, it was much more elegant. She was so much better before. Oh dear at what she has become...

(Couldn't do a piece on plastic surgery without this one, ouch it hurts to look at that wince. Poor thing.)

And those who believe surgery enables them to distil the best parts of their beauty...

Kim Kardashian used to look like her sister, now she looks like her mum (mystery... ahem)

*Disclaimer: I have no medical training and all opinion is subjective.

All photos from Google.

...What are your thoughts?


  1. Amazing before and after photo demo!
    Some of the procedures had brilliant outcomes but some other..god, what were they thinking? Some women don't know when to stop. It's sad that they don't see how beautiful they are in their pre surgery state.

  2. It's the removal of individuality that makes me sad. Jennifer Grey (of Dirty Dancing) said of her botched nose job, she went into surgery a star, and came out "anonymous."

    And the removal of ethnicity is equally disturbing. It seems like a black woman can't be a star if she has a normal nose.

  3. It's amazing to see the before and after photos! I seem to remember a few interviews with those ladies where they were claiming they "grew in to their features." hmmmm....

  4. Thanks haha yes it's all "good makeup" or "good lighting" I'm sure...

  5. Super article, Oogle. The before and after photos are shocking, especially when most seem to deny any surgery or cosmetic 'work'. You are absolutely correct, celebs seem to be morphing into a single generic 'beauty' - boring! MadameR x