Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Get some plastic surgery already!

I just finished watching Boyhood. It was OK. Kind of like watching somebody's home movies. Totally character-driven. I couldn't discern a plot. In the past week I've also watched Gone Girl and Whiplash. For me, the Oscar goes to Whiplash, but that's not the one I'm going to talk about.

When I watch the Academy Awards, I usually haven't seen any of the Best Picture nominees. Or maybe I've seen one. So what I remember is the hype about each film. And what I remember most about Boyhood is the comments about how brave Patricia Arquette was, how utterly devoted to her art, because 1. her weight fluctuated during those 11 years  the movie was being made and 2. she didn't have any work done during the time it took to film the movie. I'm a little ashamed to admit, I was curious to see how radically this woman must have changed during those 11 years. How hideous she must have become that people praised her for being courageous and committed enough to forego plastic surgery.

Here's her hideous face, in case you haven't seen the movie. And get ready for it, because I am not fucking kidding you, when I googled images of her, I could choose from a few select packages of images of her: movies, teeth, 2014, Boardwalk Empire, Boyhood, Oscars and age. That's right. Teeth. Seems to me only a monster would get an entire category for her teeth, especially given the elevated status of those other selections.

Here we go. Ready or not. Just peek if you're afraid.

AAAAHHHH! (That was a scream.) Please forgive me. Look at her workless face. How could she bear even going to the grocery store. I hope the production company found ways to keep her hidden away until the movie had been made. Surely no woman should have to bear the burden of keeping her original face for 11 fucking years! Now that I've watched the movie, I can certainly understand all the concern. She really did give up the best years of her career, and she did it without a plastic surgeon.

I had to wonder though, was anybody concerned about whether Ethan Hawke had to forego cosmetic surgery? Because, while he's certainly a talented actor, he's not what I would call traditionally handsome. In fact, his charm comes more from the characters he plays than from his good looks. And, not to be critical, but his teeth don't look like his parents mortgaged their house for orthodontia. I could be wrong though, because Google isn't given me an option to select only teeth photos for him. In fact, the choices for him are all about his work except for one about Uma Thurman. (I don't know her plastic surgery status, but I'm sure Google does.)

I have no desire to trash Hawke, because I think he's a talented guy, and he even looks like he laughs a lot. He's probably of fun to hang around with. I'm certainly not going to suggest he needs plastic surgery more than Arquette does.

But isn't it a bunch of horse shit that people were so concerned that she went 11 years without anybody cutting on her face, and he can look as craggy and  rustic as any other 45-year-old guy.

Here they are together. If you were going to give a free gift card to a plastic surgeon, which one of them would you choose to send under the scalpel?

Neither, you say? Yeah, me either. Fuck that. I like real people better. I'm sick of impassive plastic faces and over-inflated boobs and amputated labias.

I realize  Boyhood is old news. Most movies I watch are old news. But what's not old news, because that shit won't go away, is that women aren't supposed to be human. If we want to have any cred at all in the world, we're not supposed to age or gain weight or have a gap in our teeth, although a gap between our thighs is fan-fucking-tastic. (I'm not actually sure what the story is with Arquette's teeth. I refuse to click on that.) And it's hard enough to just be a normal women, but to watch a beautiful, talented woman's performance come down to stories about how she turned into a toad right in front of our eyes because she couldn't have a face-lift .... 

I wish I hadn't been looking for that when I watched the movie. I wouldn't even have thought about her aging, because it really is just the way life works. We age, especially mothers. My experience was polluted by the bullshit expectations of the media.

And probably too by the news of Dr. Fredric Brandt's suicide this week. I will admit, initially it was hard to sympathize with him. He was one of the most famous plastic surgeons in the world, and he's responsible for creating many of those plastic faces we see on TV and in movies. But his death highlighted so clearly this hypocritical, conflicted culture where the people who entertain us, especially women, are supposed to try to look as young as is surgically possible for as long as they can, and then we mock them or parody them for doing it or for not doing it well enough.

It's hard enough being a human being without all that. I hope Patricia Arquette never lets a plastic surgeon near her body. But if she does, who could blame her? Aging on purpose to entertain us in an Oscar-nominated movie is one thing. Doing it just because that's what all organisms do is not acceptable.

Bleh. I need to stop being so damn serious this week. I feel a post about vaginas coming on ...


  1. Echos so many of my thoughts - thank you for speaking out!