Botox and ‘The Beauty Treadmill’

I remember a time, not too long ago, when getting someone to inject Botulinum toxin into your face to paralyse your facial muscles was seen as, at best, vain and, at worst, dangerous… and perhaps a little bit disturbing. No one really knew what effect this toxic bacterium would have in the long term and so to pay good money to be a guinea pig for the sake of ‘beauty’ seemed a bit, well, daft.

But now, it appears, everybody’s doing it. From (one of my personal idols!) Kylie to the career woman you see on your commute, Botox is giving everyone a little lift and any ill effects (hello, Kim Kardashian!) seem minor and temporary. Botox is being accepted into the mainstream language of women’s beauty, with it widely accepted that, some day, it will be as normal a part of our beauty regimes as waxing our legs or putting on a layer of mascara.

Which is why I watched with interest as journalist Sali Hughes asked her followers on twitter this morning;

Women: serious question. Have you already had Botox/Restalyne, or do you think in the future you will? Or are you against on principle?

Responses ranged from those who might want to try the jab, to those who like their ‘lines’.  But to sum up Sali had this to say;

The problem seems to be that few women want Botox but most worried that other women will get it and they’ll be left behind. Fear. :(

I feel your fear, Sali! When even Shirley Manson, the most kick ass rock chick we possess in the UK, is feeling the pressures to adhere to this new beauty ideal, what hope do the rest of us have?

And all this brings back to mind a vital passage from Catherine Redfern and Kristin Aune’s Reclaiming The F-Word. I hope they won’t mind me quoting it almost fully here, because I found this little paragraph to be such a perfect plea against this whole beauty jugganaut we’ve become attached to that I just have to share it. Entitled ‘Jumping Off The Beauty Treadmill’ (it’s on p41, if you are already a proud owner of the book) it simply states;

The more women who opt for Botox, the older women with wrinkles look … We have to question whether striving to fit the ideal is doing anything but harming other women. Some people may feel brave enough to challenge the accepted gender boundaries; some may not be ready for that yet. Either way, we need to try to make choices that won’t hurt other women. Those who are brave enough to stand out from the crowd deserve applause.

So well put and powerful, inclusive yet persuasive. I’ll leave it at that. And, if you haven’t bought this book already and made it your companion and saviour I suggest you do so now.

Image from The Stepford Wives. Of course.

By: Sarah Barnes, 14.09.2010 | Comments (0)
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Helping Haiti, one needle at a time…

By now I’m sure we’ve all heard about the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti this week. The news is tragic, and rightly, there have been a multitude of money raising efforts started subsequently. Perhaps the oddest one though, can be found here, where a Manhattan plastic Surgeon has pledged to donate all proceeds from Botox and Filler treatments to the Haiti Earthquake Appeal.

I’m slightly torn on this one. Clearly, Haiti is in need of Aid, and the fact that so many people have forwarded what they are able to is admirable. I don’t want to seem for a second that I’m shooting down the notion of fund raising for Haiti, nor am I denying that the Plastic Surgery industry makes big bucks..

… so perhaps I am just being cynical in highlighting the potentially offensive correlation between beautifying, anti-aging plastic surgery in the glamour capital Manhattan,  and the altogether different type of surgery that has been abundant in Haiti this week:  limb amputation.

As has been reported widely across our news media, Haiti hospitals are struggling to cope with the huge influx of seriously injured people needing imminent treatment, with some medical facilities having to be assembled on the streets in order to cope with the huge numbers requiring medical assessment. Botulinum toxin just doesn’t seem appropriate.

To make a donation to the Haiti Earthquake fund, please visit The Red Cross or Oxfam.

By: Yasmin Eshref, 15.01.2010 | Comments (3)
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