Renee Zellweger penned a powerful essay responding to the plastic surgery shaming; the gossip and rumor over her “changing face.” While denying that she has had a cosmetic procedure she opens up a dialogue about why it should even matter.
Yes, this is a a story that’s been going on for nearly two years. Ever since Rene Zellweger walked the red carpet and the “changing face” speculation just about broke the Internet. Finally after weeks of this nonsense she gave a response that fanned the plastic surgery shaming all the more.
She said, in interview with People, saying, “I’m glad folks think I look different! I’m living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I’m thrilled that perhaps it shows.”
Now in a lengthy essay published by the Huffington Post she takes the tabloid and social media trolling culture to task, calling it collectively ““folks who practice cowardly cruelty from their anonymous internet pulpits.” Her essay arrives just weeks after Jennifer Aniston similarly blasted the media for the endless pregnancy stories and what that says about our culture.
Zellweger addresses these rumors head on, and says, “The ‘eye surgery’ tabloid story itself did not matter, but it became the catalyst for my inclusion in subsequent legitimate news stories about self-acceptance and women succumbing to social pressure to look and age a certain way. In my opinion, that tabloid speculations become the subject of mainstream news reporting does matter.
Continuing, Renee Zellweger then makes her denial of these rumors, saying, “Not that it’s anyone’s business, but I did not make a decision to alter my face and have surgery on my eyes. This fact is of no true import to anyone at all, but that the possibility alone was discussed among respected journalists and became a public conversation is a disconcerting illustration of news/entertainment confusion and society’s fixation on physicality.”
She’s alluding to the ‘Variety’ critic Owen Gleiberman who wrote what we can fairly say is damning criticism which is pretty much summed up in the title — “Renée Zellweger: If She No Longer Looks Like Herself, Has She Become a Different Actress?”
Of course it could be argued that whether she had plastic surgery or not was irrelevant to everyone, including film critics. But it’s also arguable that society has a long way to go to finally stop stigmatizing plastic surgery — and conversely the opposite, ignoring the wrinkles and other “ravages of time” as they’re so pointedly called.
Yes, we’ve had a few mavericks who have freely admitted the plastic surgery even celebrated and flaunted it as the late great Joan Rivers did. Or even, as has Jane Fonda, in a less flamboyant way, made it no secret that she’s had surgical enhancements.
It’s just a matter of choices, really. A person of means can get all kinds of work done on face and body, and why should it really matter to anyone?
After all, these clickbait stories wouldn’t be written if there weren’t a market for them. If suddenly the tomes of Søren Kierkegaard were in fashion, well, we’d all be seeing headlines mined from his various discourses. Well, needless to say, that’s a paradigm shift we’re not likely to see in this era.
But one hopes we can someday — soon! — got over this sport of shaming people for physical attributes. Or as Zellweger herself, says quit falling for the cruel clickbait of “Too skinny, too fat, showing age, better as a brunette, cellulite thighs, facelift scandal, going bald” and so on — she goes down quite a list of “undesirable attributes” and goes on to conclude that “The resulting message is problematic for younger generations and impressionable minds, and undoubtably triggers myriad subsequent issues regarding conformity, prejudice, equality, self acceptance, bullying and health.”
Of course the point remains, Renee Zellweger doesn’t have to explain herself to anyone. For those who still see her through the lens of 2001’s ‘Bridget Jones’ character or even the 2004 sequel, yes, of course time marched on. There’s an unmistakable difference. And of course, if there were no difference at all she’d get the TMZ-style “good genes or good docs” scrutiny.
It’s an op-ed well worth reading and you can see it here. Someday we well all graduate from this sort of middle-school bullying and find something better to nosh over than Rene Zellweger or whatever celebrity du jour and her “changing face.”
Pictures: PR Photos