Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Yes, I noticed Renee’s new face and I’m not agist

At some point yesterday afternoon one of my FB friends posted about the actress formerly known as Renee Zellweger (“you had me at hello” or Bridget Jones). I am not exaggerating when I say I didn’t think the photos were really of Renee Zellweger. The biggest change is that her formerly squinty eyes are now larger (can one get an eye transplant?). I found this all change sort of unbelievable, shocking and strange. What was equally insane was the backlash or should I say ‘facelash” that ensued.

Shortly after the photos were circulated, the in defense of Renee pieces rolled out. Time magazine told us to “leave Renee Zellweger’s face alone” to which I tweeted back “if only Renee had followed that advice”. And there was this tweet
“The ‪#ReneeZellweger outrage is another example of how women's bodies are seen as a public commodity to be mocked and shamed for looking wrong” I felt some sort of a need to rebut that one too. “Give me a break she isn’t being shamed for looking wrong, she is unrecognizable.” Others felt this whole surgery debacle was the result of her having been criticized for her looks but this was also a woman lauded for her looks on countless magazine covers. Are we really to blame for her NEW face? 

From Buzzfeed “Plastic-surgery shaming is thus tantamount to blaming the victims of this ideal for working so hard to achieve what we’ve told them, for decades, they must do.”
What’s with all this alleged shaming? Can we not notice something without playing the shame game? Renee went to a plastic surgeon- nothing wrong with that. She came out looking like another human being (not a less ideal human just a different one) I don’t claim to know the backstory here. Could it be a procedure gone wrong? Sure. Is there something sad about this distinctive face no longer existing? I think so. But this notion that saying anything about a public figure’s appearance is sexist or agist needs to go. I loved this comment on one of the posts “It's not "unfeminist" to notice a *whole new face.*
What do you make of Renee's new face, the media coverage etc? 


  1. Yes, I think her new face is a little bizarre. But we all struggle with not feeling "good enough" at some point in our lives. Maybe she's always hated her eyes and this was a gift to herself? Maybe she was having trouble seeing out of her little eyes? Maybe her thinner old lips made her feel old and it's not all that fun to look in the mirror and feel old. I don't think we can judge Renee for this transformation. We all do what we can to feel better about ourselves...unfortunately for her she has to answer to the entire world for it.

  2. Yay- now I have met you in person (and you called me a shorty but that's ok). Yes, we all feel not good enough and no we shouldn't judge anyone who wants to improve, change themselves (or at least I don't). However, we do judge/at least I do. And I know people judge me. We notice, observe and compare. Renee before and Renee after. Rosie ODonnell before surgery and after, Michael Jackson in the Thriller period and after. We notice changes in people we see every day and we're going to notice in people we have seen on the big screen/stage etc. Saying Whoaaaa she looks like a different person doesn't imply one isn't allowed to feel not good enough. The assumption that observing has this whole backstory is what bugs me. Or that we shouldn't pay any attention or anything about appearance. Hmn.

  3. I don't think she looks all that different...although now that you point out her eyes I see what you mean.
    I feel sad that celebrities can't do anything without comment / backlash. But in a way they put themselves in front of the world and open themselves up to this type of comment / criticism.
    This is why I stay BEHIND the camera. I don't need anyone pointing out my many flaws!

  4. Really Ameena, not different to you? Do you and I look different from each other? Ha. I just think it's tricky with celebs- can you say "look at me, look at me" but only when I look good? And I think comment different than criticism.