Scrolling through Facebook today after work, I found a link to an article poking fun at a celebrity I've never heard of. The titillating, click-bait headline was something about "plastic surgery gone oh-so-wrong" on this young celeb's lips, and out of curiosity, I clicked on it.
Let me just insert here that I have what many women seem to desire--wide, naturally pouty lips. I was teased about them for years in elementary and junior high school, but these days, I embrace them. They're sexy, etc. etc. I get it, we all want pouty lips, as it's what society has deemed to be attractive in women.
This is why, ten minutes after arriving at the club on New Year's Eve, I saw a 40-something woman taking a selfie and giving her best "duck face."
Anyway, this young celebrity I've never heard of (because she was on MTV's Teen Mom, which I've never watched because I haven't watched MTV since they went from being M-for-music to M-for-Mmmmkay-that-was-a-waste-of-my-time), apparently had her lips done recently. Injections or implants or some such thing. Being 36 and rather proud of my wrinkly forehead and crow's feet (I've earned them by laughing at myself), I don't really know a lot about plastic surgery. It's not something I have ever considered as necessary, and I don't think I ever will simply because I'd rather spend the money on plane tickets and fabulous hotels. That's just me, though.
So...it was botched. Or maybe she had an allergic reaction. The result is pretty horrifying in that it makes her upper lip stick out unnaturally far and it certainly doesn't feel comfortable. I cringed at the images because, well...ouch.
What made me cringe even more was the response--internet commenters out in force laughing at how "stupid" she is, what an "attention whore" she is. To be fair, she did share the pictures on her Twitter account, so maybe she wants whatever attention she can get. But the criticisms that really got to me were the ones that berated her for trying to achieve something that every woman--every day--is told she ought to want. One comment simply read, "Karma." For what? She deserved to have this happen because she wanted to look a certain way? For wanting attention?
If you do a Google image search for "duck face," pages upon pages materialize of images of women in every age bracket jutting their lips out to make them appear fuller, and sexier, and even more images and comments from people informing the world that it is "stupid" to do this.
Granted, I think the trend is silly myself--just smile with what you've got and show the world you are pretty as you are! But I can't be too harsh on these women--after all, I'm certainly guilty of knowing which my best side is for selfie pictures (my left), and knowing just how to hold my eyebrows to show off how wide my eyes are.
So after my initial shock and pity for this young celebrity's post-surgery woes, before I could feel self-righteous and superior for not needing plastic surgery myself, I decided to check myself in a big way...because this girl is only responding to what society repeatedly tells her she ought to be. Sexy. But not too sexy, mind. You see, it's all well and good to have the features the fashion magazines deem acceptable, but God forbid you actually show any traces of having come about them any other way but naturally.
It goes along with the make-up conundrum. Don't wear make-up? What are you, some kind of hippy? Oh, look at that tart. She's wearing too much make-up. That girl over there--see? She's fresh and natural...wait, what? That's make-up?
It's a sickness--women are told, every day, that we ought to measure up to the unlikeliest of ideals of feminine beauty. Body type. Hair type. Skin color. Facial shape. Eyes. Nose. Ears. Hair length. When we go against the grain, we're ridiculed, but when we make it in any way obvious that we are trying to conform in some way, we are dragged through the mud and made out to be whores or villains. It's exhausting.
I'm tired of it. I am tired of sensational headlines plastered on my news feed trying to tell me to be amused by someone else's misfortune, when her insecurities are not so different from my own.