Are You Aging Yourself by Trying to Look Young? / by Anne Kreamer

Do any of you think there is anything at all odd about the following? "It's all about freedom of expression.....ask your doctor about BOTOX Cosmetic."

The advertising copy goes on to read:

"Don't hold back!  Express it all!  Express yourself by asking your doctor about BOTOX Cosmetic."

I'm not entirely certain what KOOL-AID the copywriters of this ad were drinking, but BOTOX, by paralyzing facial muscles, does exactly the opposite of allowing a person to "express" herself.

The May issue of Vogue ran a piece by Marina Rust with the title and sub-headline, "Criminally chic. Could you be guilty of crimes against beauty?  And if you were indeed a full-blown beauty victim, would you know it?"

Rust wrote the following:

"'You know what's weird?' says my husband, Ian. ‘Everyone looks the same age now.  Girls in their 20s are putting stuff in their face that makes them look 50.'...It's true.  Everyone is starting to look the same.  Six months ago, photos ran of the beleaguered Miss USA standing beside Miss Teen USA. I couldn't tell them apart.  Pretty, but a dime a dozen. They could have both been working a car show."

Rust and her husband were on to an essential contemporary truth.  Last year I had the good fortune to attend a meditation lecture by Tibetan monk, Sakyong Mipham, and the front row of the lecture was filled by a group of blonde women.

I guessed they ranged in age from 45 to 65, but they all had had similar cosmetic surgical procedures, which ended up making all of them look roughly the same age. As a culture, we've come to expect that women in their mid-40s through their mid-60s are the ones who have lifts and injections, and we usually notice when someone has had something "done." So the net result is that everyone ends up looking the same 60ish.

Natasha Singer published a piece in the New York Times recently in which she detailed the investments three women made in the pursuit of looking their "best" - and by best they meant as young as possible.

The women ranged in age from 47 to 57 and spent between $1,000 and $6,500 a month on their maintenance. And one of the women had spent $60,000 for a presumably one-time-only tummy tuck, thigh, chin, neck, and eyelid lift, plus arm liposuction.

I also just read that 35-year-old Jennifer Garner has been signed to be the new poster girl for Neutrogena's Anti-Oxidant Age Reverse treatment line. If 35 is the new starting point for when a women is beginning to look unacceptably old, no wonder the pressure to "express" yourself has gotten so warped.