It’s not nice to make fun of people for the way they look. I think we’re all clear on that. But watching the Oscars last night and clicking through red carpet shots of the after-parties today, I’m really troubled by something and I don’t know how to say it without being offensive. So I’m just going to do my best:
Celebrities need to stop mutilating their faces in the name of beauty. In case you didn’t watch the Oscars or the red carpet coverage, this is what I’m talking about:
Kim Novak after presenting on stage.
Liza Minelli on the red carpet.
Donatella Versace (with Gaga) at the Vanity Fair after-party
Kim Novak is 81. Liza Minelli is 67. Donatella Versace is 58.
And they are just the extremes. There were many other women over the age of 25 last night who had clearly had work. I was particularly disappointed to see Portia de Rossi’s frozen face – it’s a look all too familiar on the red carpet, that blank-faced stare where nothing moves and all expression has been erased by needles and fillers.
It’s a slippery slope – especially when you start having cosmetic surgery in your 30s or even your 20s. By the time you hit your 40s and 50, things can get downright scary.
Last night, Kim and Liza and Donatella looked scary. Because what else can you call it when a woman pays thousands – probably hundreds of thousands – of dollars to slice, sew, suck, fill, paralyse and pull her face until she is not only unrecognisable as herself but almost unrecognisable as human.
And this is the part where people will chide me. “Stop shaming these poor women!” they will say. “Stop judging! It’s their choice and feminism is about having a choice!”
Well, with all due respect, I think that’s bullshit. I think it’s become the Emperor’s New Clothes where a well intentioned reluctance to shame, mock or ridicule these women (and the occasional man, hello Baz Luhrman) has morphed into a complicit silence.