Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Facing up to a divisive issue: Actresses and cosmetic surgery
Is it time for Hollywood to face up to a divisive issue? Our critic David Edelstein thinks so:
A recent commentary in the showbiz paper Variety got a bit of attention because the male critic wrote -- based on footage of Renée Zellweger in a trailer for the new Bridget Jones movie -- that her changed appearance interfered with his ability to reconnect with the character.
He said she was never conventionally beautiful, but now ...
You get the drift. He got pummeled, rightly, on social media.
Rose McGowan strikes back at critic who questioned Renee Zellweger's face
But the topic of actresses past age 30 who've had "work" done will not go away soon.
We know plastic surgeons in Hollywood are royalty. We've seen their work, for good and ill; and I'd be lying if I said I'd never joked about it in print.
Once I compared a youngish actress whose face looked so Botoxed she couldn't move her features to the Tin Woodsman in "The Wizard of Oz." I regret that, though it was kind of funny.
But, I regret that.
A doctor recently said he'd seen me on TV and said I should get some fat sucked out from under my chin, and he gave me the name of a surgeon who could lift my saggy eyes.
And I've been thinking about it, a lot. And I'm just a commentator; I'm on TV four minutes every two or three weeks. And, I'm a guy!
Imagine a woman in an industry where producers are known to separate headshots into two piles -- those they'd want to sleep with, and those they wouldn't. Imagine that actress written about by Internet commenters in terms so vile I can't repeat them, damned for gaining weight, or merely aging.
Now, there IS a valid objection to getting "work" done. Actors often refer to their bodies as "instruments." And the most important part of that instrument is, of course, the face, with which they can register the finest quivers of emotion. Plastic surgery involves cutting muscles. Fillers eliminate lines of expression. So they're actually hurting themselves as artists.
But to shame actresses for having work done willy-nilly and not because they're up against brutal pressure from inside and outside their industry seems to me inhuman.
It's not just a problem for Renée Zellweger, a wonderful actress. It's a problem for all women in a culture deformed by double standards.
And it's a problem for men, me included, who can end up sounding like entitled creeps.