Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Where's Rod Serling?

Rod Serling envisioned a society in which everyone had a "perfect" face. In "Number 12 Looks Just Like You," a young girl resisted plastic surgery to make her look "beautiful" by some nightmare society's standards. People were what we would consider pretty or handsome, each face based on one of a dozen templates. The episode is terrorizing. What makes it worse in 2008 -- that seems to be where cosmetic surgery is taking this society. And society is going most willingly. In fact, there's even a television commercial against parentheses. Huh? How can anyone be against parentheses, you're wondering. And what does that have to do with plastic surgery? Well, the TV commercial begins with "Parentheses have a place but not on your face." As in it's bad to have those smile lines that frame both sides of the mouth. Since when? I really like my smile lines, and yours too. They add expression, character, reveal more of what's behind anyone's smile. But the company that makes the injectible cosmetic Juvederm to eliminate parentheses and other such facial features wants us to believe those lines are unflattering. Here's a big surprise. The same pharmaceutical makes Botox which, you may have noticed, is advertised as Botox Cosmetic. Take a close look at anyone on live television. None have facial wrinkles and their foreheads don't crinkle at all. Between cosmetic surgery and cosmetic injectibles, our society is moving into an era where wrinkles and for that matter any facial lines, are undesirable. Taking this one step beyond, how many times have you thought one newsperson looks an awful lot like another? Or one young actor or actress on a TV series resembles numerous others as in, "Didn't we just see him(her) on such and such?" Or, "Isn't that so and so?" Or better yet, "Is that Number 12?" TZ is happening. Facelifts are risky -- as Kanye West would no doubt agree. And celebs with bad facelifts are ubiquitous. Does Dolly Parton think she looks great? What about Kenny Rogers, Stockard Channing, Priscilla Presley and I could go on and on about people in their 60s and more or a bit less who try to look 40 and instead look like they just walked out of a bad dream. Even worse. Teenage girls are having breast implants, and parents are footing the bill. What is with these parents? What is with these makeover cosmetic surgery "reality" shows? The physicians who get involved in all this cosmetic work for young girls and so-called reality shows have sold their souls for money and fame. What happened to ethics? What happened is that society has been sending the wrong messages to the vulnerable. All this facelift, face makeover surgery and wrinklefreedom has put the word out that facial imperfections are unacceptable. What's in is an airbrushed look of imaginary perfection. Oh yes, and perky boobs. Alas, these are the values the media and pharmaceuticals are selling. And society is buying in. What worries me most, though, really has little to do with appearance. If someone wants to look like an ugly version of Barbie or Ken, I don't care, though I do think it's pathetic. Most of all I am concerned about the values this instills in our youth. My generation was told beauty is only skin deep. What makes a person beautiful is her/his soul, goodness, sense of humor and kindness, not the face, not the body -- but who s/he is. Will today's youth know that? Will they realize parentheses are exquisitely human smile lines? That Grandma's and Grandpa's wrinkled faces are wonderful, loving and filled with wisdom of experience? And will they know human beauty rests with its soul and imperfections? Or will they be saying "Number 12 Looks Just Like You?"

1 comment:

Charlotte said...

Myra, I have something for you to research, that would certainly fit with your article. I know I read somewhere this past week that there had been cases of Botax migrating into brain tissue and doing damage. What I don't remember was if it was a satirical article that could have been supposition or actually factual.


photo by sarah gross

Blog Archive

About Me

Tinley Park, Illinois
As a longtime newspaperwoman who left the business to freelance, I want to keep in touch with the world. This is my place to reach out with words.