Last year, actress Jennifer Aniston made a remark on Botox to makeup artist Bobbi Brown in a Yahoo! Beauty interview that we would do well not to forget:
“There is also this pressure in Hollywood to be ageless. I think what I have been witness to, is seeing women trying to stay ageless with what they are doing to themselves. I am grateful to learn from their mistakes, because I am not injecting s*** into my face…I see them and my heart breaks. I think, ‘Oh god if you only know how much older you look.’ They are trying to stop the clock and all you can see is an insecure person who won’t let themselves just age.”
Aniston’s bold statement supporting unprocessed, natural appearances is one remarkable aspect of this statement, but there’s more to be seen in her words. It is a long-standing cultural issue against which protests are steadily on the rise: the constant pressure placed on women to combat the ordinary process of aging.
In westernized culture, the use of Botox clinics seem inevitable for those who are growing away from the standard idea of beauty that is so idolized in the youthful women portrayed in pop culture. The demand for virtually inaccessible perfection is evident not only in the overwhelming majority of all things publicity. According to the Center for the Study of Women and Television, only 30% of the top 100 grossing films of 2013 were women over the age of 40. It becomes painfully obvious, then, that the older the female celebrity, the easier it may be for her to lose her work. The statistics are not only disturbing because they emphasize the general lack of support for older women; it also highlights the cultural values that appear to be instilled in society—the younger and the closer a female is to the general standard of appearance, the more successful she will be.
That being said, the question of whether our not our energies are rightly focused comes into play. While Aniston may be admired for abstaining from using methods such as lip plumping and Botox in an attempt to become more ‘marketable’, the premise of her comment may very well be pointing blame in the wrong direction. In a culture that places such restrictions on women who no longer fit in the status quo, speaking down on those who struggle to remain successful and socially acceptable is rather counter-productive when striving toward a solution for the true dilemma; the issue of what has become a societal norm driving such insecurity and fear into not only celebrities, but women around the world. Anything that may condone baring fangs at women who succumb to such fears only highlights the issue by leaving them and, subconsciously, many other women, with nowhere to turn and no victory to be had; old and unwanted or unwanted for attempting to appease. This setback for women in society isn’t the only one, but one of many in a theme where women find difficulty simply being able to do right by such a judgmental populace.
So instead, here is a continuation of Aniston’s interview, and what should truly be focused on when considering women who resort to Botox:
“I think fashion people need to start incorporating all ages, not just these 20-something perfect people, or not just for anti-aging [ads]. Represent beauty in all ages! You know what I mean?”
And why stop there? By incorporating not only ages, but people of different ethnicities, sizes, and appearances, we can truly lay down the building blocks to help move society toward a better, healthier state of mind where people can feel comfortable in their own skin, leaving room to center our efforts on what is truly important in ourselves and in the world.