Wednesday, February 11, 2015

ugly truth

This morning, my husband sent me a link to an image of Uma Thurman's (recently?) renovated face.  It looks great.  But it doesn't look like Uma.  Uma's face, as Mia Wallace and Poison Ivy and Fantine and Emma Peel and Beatrix Kiddo, is gone.

The sadness I felt as I stared at this new Uma face and tried to find Uma in it was the same as when I stared at Renee Zellweger's face and tried to find Renee in it.  Like looking at one of those "magic eye" stereograms popular in grade school.

What scares me about plastic surgery is not its availability, popularity, aggressive marketing at the back of every fashion magazine, or even the horror stories of botched jobs.  What scares me is that Uma and Renee, talented, gorgeous, wealthy, acclaimed, beloved, and renown, somewhere along the way, thought they were ugly.

Although I (and my husband) are philosophically opposed to cosmetic surgery, and I doubt I'd ever have the budget available to have myself overhauled even if I was for it, I know that I'm not immune to the feeling of ugliness.  Just because Uma and Renee did something about it and I probably won't doesn't make me better and them worse.  We're similar in our struggles and similar in our feeling of ugliness.

If Uma and Renee thought their beautiful, beautiful faces were ugly, what hope to the rest of us have?

So here's a possible remedy.  I've broken it up into three parts.

  1. If you know a woman, love a woman, sleep with a woman, are friends with a woman, or are related to a woman, tell them they're beautiful.  Be honest.  Be specific.  Be persistent.  Be poetic.  Be brave.  If you tell a woman "You're pretty" they may not believe you, but they'll find it hard to argue with "I love how restful and radiant you looked in the sunlight yesterday afternoon".
  2. If you are a woman, believe it.  Don't look for opportunities to negate a compliment.  If your husband tells you he loves your face without makeup on try to imagine why he would, even if it seems impossible.  When your daughter tells you she loves you because you're squishy, accept that you are the zenith of womanly beauty to her.
  3. Finally, shut your beautiful face about your ugliness.  There will always be "flaws".  They will multiply.  But unless you want to carve them out with a knife and suffer losing all sorts of character, personality, responsiveness, and cellular integrity in the process, it's time to embrace and shut up about them.  When you say you hate your legs a little part dies inside your friends who thought your legs superior to theirs.
Happy Valentine's Day, you pretty people.


Andrew G said...

Well said, my beautiful woman!

Melissa Boerger said...

So good! Everyone needs to read this.

Julia Hendrik said...

Love this. So true, that even when compliments are paid we as women often look for reasons to negate them. Great reminder!