In honor of the upcoming release of the latest Bridget Jones movie, a writer for the trade publication Variety recently wrote a scathing article critiquing actress Renée Zellweger for having had plastic surgery. His feeling was that because she no longer looked like the beloved character of Bridget Jones that he had somehow been robbed. Fellow actresses, fans, and the media responded with fervor. While many loudly defended a woman’s right to choose plastic surgery, much of the conversation has continued to heap shame on celebrities – particularly women – for having work done. Our panel of esteemed experts discuss the shame debate and why women bear more of the burden than men.
The Double Standard of Aging
Dr. Kevin Smith of Charlotte, NC posed the question to our panel as to why female celebrities in particular are being shamed for having plastic surgery. Dr. Richard Restifo of Orange, CT thinks that a big part of the problem is that there is clearly a double standard when it comes to aging both in Hollywood and beyond. Attractiveness in men is not necessarily determined by their age. Not only is it completely normal to see movies in which older actors are paired with much younger actresses, but older men are described with words such as, “stately, patrician, distinguished,” yet there are, “no such kind words used to describe an older woman.” Furthermore, there are plenty of parts written for older men, but very few for older women.
When a Celebrity Changes Her Appearance, Expect Attention
Although the double standard of aging is unfair, a big part of the media attention on actresses, according to Dr. Caroline Glicksman of Sea Girt, NJ, occurs when they distort their appearance. When Renée Zellweger had plastic surgery, she really changed the shape of her eyes. “She looks like a really beautiful women,” says Glicksman. “Everything on her was done nicely. It’s natural.” But she doesn’t look the same. Dr. Restifo agrees. “She’s a lot different. And I think a lot of people loved her the way she was.”
It’s not that she’s looks bad – she doesn’t. She looks great, but she does look different. That’s part of the problem according to Dr. Smith. “I think we all really believe that good plastic surgery is unseen.” While Dr. Michael Lee of Dallas, TX agrees with his colleagues, he also adds that, “a lot of times what you see on television is not necessarily the result of plastic surgery but non-surgical rejuvenation.” Many times, women continue to get fillers and Botox when they should really be looking at a surgical solution. Bottom line, they’re trying, “to fix a problem with the wrong solution,” and it doesn’t look right.
Everyone has things that they don’t like about their appearance. It’s really up to each individual patient to choose the procedures that will make them feel beautiful, says Glicksman. “We shouldn’t be pigeon-holed by what society thinks we should have done,” adds Lee. Some patients are going to want a change that’s subtle while others might want something more dramatic. It’s a personal choice and no one has the right to make that decision for someone else.