(Warning: this post contains a rant that makes me sound very much like ‘my mother’!)
I was at the hairdressers at the weekend, getting my locks revived and tidied. I go every 6-8 weeks and it’s a real treat. I get to sit down for three hours and chat to my hairdresser (who’s become a friend now), have a cappuccino and flick through the women’s mags. Bliss.
I don’t buy mags or look at them much anymore, other than in the hairdresser’s. I was given a copy of OK with a pregnant woman on the front, who I thought at first glance was Natalie Imbruglia. I realised it wasn’t quite right but when I saw that it was in fact Corrie starlet Helen Flanagan I was amazed and kind of horrified.
The picture of her didn’t look anything like what I remembered her to look like. I can last recall seeing her in I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here a few years ago. But looking at her face now I saw nothing but a doll. An expressionless doll.
What had they done to her? Had they photoshopped her beyond recognition? Had she had surgery, other than the boobs that is? Surely not, she’s so young (just 24)! Yet now she looks so much older. Granted, there’s a lot of make up and her hair is longer and dark now, but it was more the slither straight nose, and overly full cheeks and lips that made her look odd. As well as not one sign of a line on her brow.
It might surprise you to know that I’m not a cosmetic surgery prude. If you want it, do it. I’ve no right to judge what people choose to do to themselves. But I thought it was kind of ironic that Helen looked so plastic and fake – that she’d been made to look like a ‘perfect’ version of herself – yet she was proudly showing a baby bump!
A baby growing and developing into a human. Fingers, toes, a button nose.
What if her baby had a disfigurement? Or if her baby was perfect, would she find fault in it? Would she want her ‘perfect’ baby (all mums see their babies as perfect no matter what they look like!) to grow up to have a nip and tuck?
At what point are the lines are blurred between society’s perceptions of a ‘perfect’ child and an ‘imperfect’ adult? We wouldn’t Photoshop our kids, so why do we feel we should Photoshop ourselves?
Does her own mother feel hurt that she disliked what was already a naturally beautiful body so much that she had it altered? I snigger a bit at this, as I really have ‘got old’ in my views! I remember when I was 18 and I got my belly button pierced. I LOVED it. I went and proudly showed my mum but she just sighed and was very sad that I’d ‘ruined’ what was a lovely midriff. I laughed it off, but of course she was right! After four children, my belly button is now disfigured thanks to the pierced holes stretching and pigmenting. Not so sexy now are we?!
But a piercing isn’t permanent. I also have a tattoo in memory of my daughter, so I’ve made a permanent change to my body that I’m aware other people would find unsightly. Seriously, though, if Ponymad Girl had body art I wouldn’t mind, but if she wanted to fill her cheeks out, operate on her already perfect nose and inject Botox into her head (at 24!) then I would find it hard to understand why.
It was Helen’s altered facial features that bothered me. I wonder what message she’s giving out to others – girls her age or younger, who aspire to be like her? To her child, whether it’s a boy or a girl?
When I look at pictures of myself or my mum or sisters, I see our lives – our joys, our hardships, our sorrows – in our faces. We all love to wear a bit of make-up to enhance our features. I was at the hairdressers getting my hair made blonder for goodness’ sake! But under all that I still can see the lives we’ve lived. The love we’ve given. The tears we’ve shed.
My debate is nothing new. I know Helen isn’t in isolation, she’s keeping up with the demands of the industry. Celebrities can’t win. For every perfect photo there’s another picking out faults with their skin or clothing. It’s no wonder some just keep trying to please. But who are they trying to please? And why?
After my pregnancies my stomach is a big bag of skin, and surgery is something I’d seriously consider (although money is the key factor here and I’m not that bothered anymore in any case). No amount of weightloss or exercise will repair it. When I was younger, I lost confidence in myself as a result of how my body looked and that does impact on my life, but it’s not everything. Now, I’ve come to accept it and see it as a reminder of the babies I’ve made. Battle scars!
When used to help someone recover, to correct a problem area, I feel cosmetic surgery is definitley a solution. I’ve seen it change the lives of friends. But to do it purely to make a more perfect version of you, I simply don’t understand… But then, I use an Instagram filter to make me look less tired and blotchy… a better version of me perhaps? So who am I to talk?
I’ve tried to write this without sounding like I’m anti-cosmetic, because I’m definitely not. I would take mascara onto a desert island! But I just feel sad that some people aren’t happy in their own skin, especially when it’s in its youthful prime. I feel sad that society isn’t happy with looking at reality. That we strip all the emotion from faces. As a stick-thin size 10-12, I recall feeling flabby before I had children, blimey what was I complaining about!?
What do you think? Are we guilty of judging everyone else and aiming for perfection when in fact we’re just as bad? Or do you think celebrities and the magazines that cover them, go too far?
I’ve linked this post up with Honest Mum’s Brilliant Blog Posts linky. Why not pay a visit and see what other brilliant posts have been shared this week?