A Plea To A Woman’s Intuition….Or, Yes, You Do Look Strange.

Ladies, please stop altering your faces!  It does look strange; I say this in answer to that silent nudging question you ask yourselves when you look in the mirror immediately after the Botox/filler appointment, and during the days and weeks and months afterward when you are trying to adjust to the “improved” you.  I repeat:  It does look strange.  Not better, except sometimes in a photograph, and then only for that moment, the minute you turn away and start a conversation with your friend, you look weird again.  And, for those of you who haven’t partaken of this newly minted and hot trend, don’t think you are doing your friends a favor when you tell them how “natural” the change seems.  Friends do not lie to friends, so take a quick check of your friend-ethics meter.  It may be running low.

You know what natural is?  Gray hair (and I dye mine, so I’m not some granola crunching mama embracing her inner granny,) and wrinkles that come from laughing and crying and experience throughout your life; markers truer than tattoos, and just as deserving of pride when on display. Now, I wear make-up and have done laser treatments a couple of times to minimize lines; I am not advocating a full exposure, never touch the canvas approach.

What I am saying is that the current cultural preoccupation with Botox (even when assured by your esthetician that it is “just a touch,”) and fillers (c’mon, you all can see the side ‘saddle-bag’ view of these fillers, not to mention the straight on, different in a strange way, not in a good way, effect that it has…) is 1. Destroying many of our most beautiful women’s looks, 2. Putting many women in the position of trying to convince themselves of an untruth (i.e. that they look like a younger version of themselves,) and 3. Creating within these women a sense of  ‘need’ for more and more treatments to continue the expensive and creepy (I don’t want anything from my butt going anywhere near my face) and sometimes time consuming upkeep, all based on a premise that is unambiguously incorrect.  I feel like the kid in The Emperor’s New Clothes.  Does no one else see this?  Is it just too taboo to say? Too politically incorrect?  Too true?

Cameron Diaz, what happened to you???? Please, Please stop this nonsense now.  You are beautiful. You are aging.  You were aging beautifully. Now your face is immobile, your slight expression wrinkles vanished from your polished face, and new cheek structure seems to be in place.  STOP!! You are so great looking, don’t do this to yourself anymore.  If you stop, will it fade? Can you undo this somehow? I hope so, because I miss your sweet smile.  And visions of Cher, God bless her, with her open enthusiasm for all things prosthetically designed to attempt to keep her looking 20, haunt me in relation to you.

Now, I do not begrudge anyone, from Cher to Dolly Parton, who loves to explore, play with, and embrace the many options available to stay “looking young.”  But they are aware that it is fake, they are embracing the fakeness of it, having a blast with the falsity.  It’s like Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s; they’re phonies, but they’re real phonies! Other women, however,  (many…most… all?)  are being deluded into believing that these alterations are invisible.  That they look the same, just more “rested,” or “awake.”  Baloney.  You look different, you look stiff… homogenous.  I search for the unique quirks that made you visually, lovably, beautifully, you, but cannot find them.  They have been eclipsed by the prerequisite plumped up cheeks and standardized wide-eyed gaze.

Not unlike Stepford women…..and whose ideal of beauty is this?? Whose idea to make us think we should all look like Barbies?? And what message to our daughters?  Worse, what message to our infants?  Concern and joy used to be accompanied by concerned or joyful faces, facial cues that communicated an internal emotion. Now joy and love and fear and anger all have the same bright facial expression, uniformly topped off by the slightly enlarged throbbing vein that appears on the forehead as a result of heightened emotion colliding with immobilized upper facial muscles.

There is an alternative:  Instead of looking in the mirror and letting their vicious inner critic reign like some demon from the nether-world, “You are defective, put this poison near to your brain and you will receive beauty ever-lasting!” Women could look outward, living their lives to the fullest, engaging in activities that are meaningful to them and let their energy and enthusiasm and bravery and tenderness be expressed fully — and facially.

It is possible to take pride in our imperfect appearance. We can experience a sense of self-worth in the way we consider and treat our bodies.  We need not be ashamed of ourselves or our faces once we pass the age of 28, or 35, or 50 or whatever number (or level of wrinkly-ness) that happens to trigger you to say, “Oh no!  It’s true!  I am aging!  Heaven forbid! Yikes! Help!” There is an old joke that goes something like this, “A woman comes to her doctor, sobbing and wailing, ‘I don’t want to die a wrinkled old woman…’ To which her doctor replies, ‘Then die young.’ ”

Existential issues are painful, but trying to hide from them under a facial mask designed to pretend they don’t exist is (A) futile, and (B) pathetic.  I am reminded of a brilliant poem from Maya Angelou: Phenomenal Woman.  Take a minute to read it, I promise that you will be happy you did.

So, stop selling yourselves short, out, up the river, a bill of goods, stop selling yourselves a lie altogether.  You are fine, you can inhabit your whole body with confidence, including your skin with its telltale lines and your hair with its well-earned grays.  You have lived! You are still living.  Strive to do it with truth, love, strength, grace, courage, humility, warmth, pride, kindness, and humor.  Now that’s sexy.


About the Author

Jo Barrington Born in Washington D.C., Jo Barrington now lives in Santa Barbara, California.  She has been interested in psychological ideas and theory from early in her life and for the last 26 years she has edited psychological books and videos, with a little creative writing on the side!

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23 Comments

Lisa

I wonder why more people don’t seem to notice how strange and obvious fillers and Botox look. I can spot it a mile away! Fantastic article. It should be widely shared so that all the young women in Hollywood will stop it. Some of these girls are looking more and more like Cher every day. Not to mention mature women who do this and actually end up looking older because you know they are trying so hard to look young.

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J.D.

I think anyone is beautiful when they are (a) a good human being (which transcends any specific belief system), and (b) when they have the strength and courage to be who they are — not somebody else, someone they used to be, or what they think others want…themselves. Having a paralyzed face, deformed by surgery and filler doesn’t make you beautiful, it makes you look like a caraciture of the hideous lack of self-acceptance you have on the inside. Every unnatural curve, the strange and artificial skin texture, and every paralyzed muscle doesn’t say: “youth,” it screams: “I DON’T ACCEPT MYSELF!” And, that’s not fake “beauty,” it’s real “ugly.”

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Michelle Falsken

I stopped doing botox because I am vegan. It has taken a toll on my self esteem. I feel I no longer look young/attractive. I look so much older than women my age. However, I feel better about myself. I would lose sleep thinking that little innocent pigs needed to die so that for a few months I could trick people into thinking I was younger than I am.

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Eddy Cerini

Fantastic advice!.Ladies please listen.Natural look’s Natural,The Unnatural look’ just that!!!.

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Victor Cerini

Thankyou Ms.Barrington for your incite regarding the distorted faces of Botox and Filler’s!.Finally, a Woman speak’s out to Inform women of the ugly side effect-The fake look of youth.I truly hope some of them and other’s thinking about NOT AGING NATURALLY will hear your Word’s of SOUND HELPFUL ADVICE!.Peace!.

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Debbie

Thank you so much for this article. I agree with you 100%! My younger sister does Botox and fillers and has made herself look “odd”, not younger. Beauty comes from within and radiates outward.

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Anne

I agree. Botox looks weird. You can pick it a mile off. Two relatives of mine who are both attractive, gorgeous people in their own individual ways have done it and their faces look frozen and unnatural. Don’t be so insecure people! Be yourselves, however you look!

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Mary

Botox looks horrible. I work with a guy who has used so much he looks like a corpse. I am aging naturally, and I get more man attention than I can handle – and that might be that I’m the only person in the room who can smile or move her mouth. Just stay in shape and be healthy. That’s all you need.

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Elaine

Okay- help me out- I found your article because this is a question I have been pondering for a while: “Do men REALLY find botoxed/filled/you know the look faces attractive??”

and also, “when and how do you politely and Kindly tell somebody close to you that they are beginning to look very, very different…?”

Somebody who is related to me has been getting fillers for probably the last 5-10 years (she is 40 now), but very recently, I noticed she was looking much more “cat-like” and odd. I felt really sad because she is not at all unpretty, but whatever procedure she is doing is well…very odd looking. And it wasn’t the day/days after, it is a permanent thing. I know that cosmetic surgery is usually about how the client perceives their own attractiveness, not what others think, and so of course, she is probably happy. But I couldn’t help but wonder…should I say something because she may not notice? I asked this question on another forum, and the answers I got surprised me: “it is none of your business”. Okay, I get that partially. A person has the right to make those choices for themselves- but don’t we kind of agree that it can be really difficult to truly see how you are changing your body from your own subjective point of view? I only bring it up here on this article because it is an interesting concept, do good friends tell you these things? What are friends “allowed” to say to another?

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Melissa R.

Nothing looks worse than botox and fillers. And for the constant costly upkeep, you’re better off just getting a damn face lift and it’s probably less harmful to your body. Not suggesting a face lift, just saying how awful botox and fillers are. No one ever looks younger, they look shiny and flat and waxy and lumpy and just weird and ‘off’. And it’s friggin toxins and poisons, where do people think these toxins and poisons go to when they ‘wear off’? People’s bodies are being riddled with chemicals, the fall out from botox and fillers will be insane, just like what we are seeing with breast implants but worse I fear.

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Dana

This is nasty and hate-filled and anti-feminist. If you dislike Botox, great. But don’t put down others because they found something that they like. It doesn’t impact you.

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Hello

So it’s OK for Dolly Parton and Cher, but nobody else? Got it. Also good to know your personal opinion is universally accepted by everyone, is an absolute truth, and morally correct.

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Bettie

Yeah she definitely said het opinion was the whole worlds. Good job reafing between the lines. I’ve heard dolly say she is going for outlandish. It is her syle and she knows it is excessive. Going for youthfulness or just plain beauty can be achieved using these techniques but some people over do it and instead of looking better or achieving a style they get michael jacksoned and look the opposite of their intention. This is what she said. I dont speak for the world, but i agree with her point if view.

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Jo Barrington

Dear Hello,

In re-reading this blog I wrote, I can only agree with you.

My intention was to share a pet peeve and in the process to possibly support people’s sense of self, or something equally fuzzy/friendly like that.

But now I hear the judgmental tone. And from your response and others too, I also realize that my personal reactions and opinions can just stay just that, especially if they aren’t asked for and could make someone feel awkward or bad. And made me think that any “iron-clad” assumptions I make I should probably take a deeper look at for myself.

It’s embarrassing to look back and see how presumptuous I was to put this blog out there – kind of like that t-shirt that says, “It’s my opinion and everyone has a right to it!” Yikes.

Anyway, I appreciate your comments, they have made me determined to think more broadly before I speak or write.

Sincerely,
Jo Barrington

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Lee HAWKES

BOTOX UGLY DARKNESS IS FACELESS FAKENESS….

My not so sure girlfriend in the near future got it recently and to tell you the truth, she didn’t look like that beautiful woman I once met….

She looked scary and come across like she had been possessed by the devil in all her mind boggling ugly fakeness…

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Sara

I didn’t like this article for the simple fact that I don’t like listening to other women commenting on how other women look. If she wants to Botox, leave her be. It’s her face. You do you, boo

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TAJ

I find this article to be truly distasteful. So insulting to read one woman bash other women for something they believe in. As if your opinion is all that matters. It’s true Sherlock Holmes, that some women do have low self esteem, others simply want to enhance their look. Just as you don’t want to do it, others do. It’s not right or wrong, it’s a matter of choice. This post truly makes the author look very insecure, do other women and what they do to their faces bother you that much? It’s just so “creepy”. Let it go.

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Elena

For those of you against Botox and filler you have either A) never tried it or B) have a god awful injector

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Katie

I’m not in the business of shaming anyone, heck I’ve been dying my hair red for 30 years….
But I simply can’t Stand the way it looks when a woman gets work done on her face! To me, they almost always look worse down the line, and yes, it looks weird and can be spotted a mile away! The duck lips and no smile lines combo is my personal pet peeve. Just hoping our collective of women and men can help steer the boat away from this iceberg!

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Bettie

Do people need to accept themselves or change everything about themselves. If someone has an opinion about you and shares it when is it advice or when is it violence.
I’m not sure if people telling you only what you want hear is actually good for anyone. But maybe I’m wrong. If my kid wants to be like lebron but sits in front of an xbox all day and i tell him to get up and do practice instead of you do you baby. Would i be a dream basher or an enabler. When is an opinion to tell people to like themselves as they are bad. Gives me something to consider.
The comments are interesting. I wouldn’t have pegged this article as hateful or bashing by tone or intention.

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Stacey

Dysport literally has deformed me. My eyelids have been swollen ever since injections over a year ago and I am only in my 20’s. Its worn off so I am left looking fucked up and old after using it 5 times. Stay the fuck away from it. It poisoned me, it is dangerous, and hundreds of other women are affected each day in the group I am apart of. People are defensive but don’t know how its destroying the body as the science is suppressed but we have real studies.

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Elizabeth

I get Botox in my forehead. Does anyone else’s opinion of my forehead really matter as long as I like what I see? I only feel judgment when I read something like this.

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