beauty

'In two months, Zoom has completely changed my relationship with my face.'

My face has always been okay. Objectively okay. I mean, there were some rough times as a kid and teenager when it was ravaged by pimples and had the anti-glow of someone with zero confidence, but by age 27 it was on the way. Cheekbones sitting at the right spot. Teeth fixed shaping my chin properly. Clear skin, unprone to reddening.

I even hosted a TV show once, so my face, yeah, it’s objectively okay and I’d go as far to say that for most of my thirties, I actually liked it.

Image: Supplied.

In my late thirties, moving back to the very image-conscious Sydney, I started to become curious about who had Botox and found when I started the conversation the most surprising people in my world had it. I work in theatre and media, so I expected actors to have it (most I chatted with didn’t), but I’d be surprised when I’d hear that some of my radio producer friends did. It became normal-ish.

A friend gave me the number of a great woman for when I was ready. I’ve never been ready.

Until, maybe, now?

How you're coping in isolation according to your star sign. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

Have we ever spent so much time looking at our faces until now? Iso has meant countless meetings on Zoom and Google Meets and I know we’ve got a global pandemic happening, but all this extra face time has made me start worrying in earnest about my face.

And in particular, the signs my face is showing of ageing. I’m seeing crows feet, lines on my forehead, popped blood vessels in my cheeks, little pivots shooting from my lips to my jaw… OMG do I have the beginnings of jowls?

ADVERTISEMENT

This has been bad news for my bank account. When I should be reading extra books or writing a new play, I’ve been researching the effectiveness of collagen tablets and ordering them. I’ve googled the anti-ageing effects of skincare routine and ordered new cleansers, toners and moisturisers.

Image: Supplied.

I took this out to my friends via Facebook to see if anyone else was getting the Why Doesn’t Zoom Love My Face Blues, and guess what, they totally were. I made the post on Wednesday afternoon and less than 24 hours later there are 153 comments. 66 of them were in the first twenty minutes.

There’ve been different responses to my post:

1. "Yep, but this is a pandemic and you’re still alive.” 1/153

Point very much taken. And perspective is acknowledged. Yet, you can care about your fellow human beings and your own face. We’ve been both global and selfish since Adam and Eve were in the garden, yo?

2. “I’m not worried at all about my face.” 2/153

Okay, actual male person. Be quiet now. Patriarchy means you’ve never had to worry about your face.

3. “I’m beyond giving a fudge.” 4/153

Yep, and you’re probably not a single (mostly) heterosexual woman in her thirties/forties. Oh yep, these responses came mainly from people in long term, happy relationships with men or women for whom Botox is a swear word.

4. “Yes! I’m worried about my face too. I don’t want to sit in front of another screen ever.” All the other responses/153

Sister, sister, sister. Let’s talk about this. Let’s all band together. Share secrets and potions and names and addresses of great cosmetics people.

This new obsession has had me thinking a lot about ageing - and why I’m suddenly so afraid of it. I thought I’d be one of those women who got older with grace, wrinkles and grey hair. My grandmothers both had their own great senses of style as they got older and I thought they were fabulous.

ADVERTISEMENT

Why do I suddenly care?

I can only imagine it’s the societal pressure of living in a world where the currency of a woman is largely what she looks like and who finds her desirable.

I’m a single woman who occasionally dips into dating apps, where your looks are all you have to attract a prospective mate - unfortunately they’re not around to hear your hilarious views on why Normal People was such beautiful torture. It’s about how you look: how rocking your body is, how gorgeous your face is.

The two industries I work in aren’t known for their love and respect of older women. When did you last see a 60+ woman (who looks like a 60-year-old woman - facial lines, grey hair etc) run a media network, host a television show or direct a play on an Australian mainstage theatre? And, it’s most certainly not because they’re unable to. It breaks my heart to think of the talented women everywhere who are shoved to the side simply for clocking up more candles on their birthday cake.

It’s such a shame we live like this. It’s a beautiful thing to get older. At my fortieth birthday party the night before the world fell apart (March 14, 2020), I was proud of the woman I’ve become through the years I’ve been on this earth. I’m a treasured friend, a good sister, a loved aunty, an okay daughter and someone who tries to treat everyone decently.

The lines on my face and the evidence of gravity pulling me down is all part of that. I know that in my deepest self and I’ll need to keep reminding myself of that, whenever the Botox needle calls or the anxiety creeps in.

Surely there’s some meditation somewhere on this, and we can all do it from the time we get our first period and revolt in mass numbers to end it all! Who’s with me?

Melanie Tait is the Executive Producer of The Quicky and No Filter. You can follow her on Twitter: @melanietait

Feature image: Supplied.

Need a distraction? Take our short survey now.

MMSurvey
00:00 / ???