Aging actress ‘looks different,’ world screams plastic surgery
There are two phases that everyone goes through in learning: one where we are taught through our success and the other where we stumble, limp, lug along and then learn, nevertheless. The constant part is the process of change and learning, and the limelight of discussion is on the individual and on the mistakes one makes.
The unseen abstract variable in this is the fear of perception, referring to how we react to usual and unusual circumstances and how we are perceived by others.
Recently, we have seen the media uproar over Renee Zellweger’s face and the rumored plastic surgery. Numerous people were heard doling out opinions on how Zellweger looks so different, while she denied having any work done.
“I’m glad folks think I look different!” Zellweger said to People Magazine. “I’m living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I’m thrilled that perhaps it shows.”
The New York Times pondered on people’s reactions to Zellweger’s change, saying that people are appalled because the celebrity role models they saw themselves in and want to see a reflection of doesn’t seem to exist anymore, causing an intense reaction.
The psychology of why we idolize and patronize fanfare when it comes to literature, pop culture, movies, music and sports is all based on the brand perception and how we go about attributing a certain value. The same culture of perception drives the pricing of pizza, cosmetics, our after-shave balm and soft drinks in a market.
Consumerism is a management school course by itself, and actors and actresses have become a product for people to buy into.
“It’s their body and choice, (so) they’d also have to face the consequences and sacrifices that entail their decision,” said pre-pharmacy freshman Jenny Quach.
We often forget, with this culture of perception and branding, that it’s OK to not “age elegantly” and we need to accept the physiological changes that are not in our hands. The answers are subjective to every individual who might read this, considering what shaped our thought processes, values and belief systems are all so variegated and unique.
One might ask if it’s essential to age elegantly at all. It doesn’t essentially mean we don’t cover our greys or not accept the challenges our job might bring because we are growing older. Pop culture in general is very unforgiving to aging, sparking many people — especially celebrities — to go under the knife to escape the hands of time. However, this idea is not to be feared, as studies show that the reality of aging is not as scary as some believe.
According to a 2009 study by the Pew Research Center, the older one gets, the younger they feel, relatively speaking. However, the study also showed that the 18- to 29-year-old age group is the one that has the greatest misconception of at what age people generally lose their memory, are unable to drive, experience loneliness or become seriously ill.
Old age and aging is relative to individuals. The fine line between aging elegantly and getting old is coming to terms with circumstances we find ourselves in, especially when they don’t work in our favor. It also is perhaps about acknowledging that so much of our culture in the U.S. is molded by Hollywood, and it isn’t very difficult to differentiate the important from the unimportant.
“Anyone could embrace plastic surgery if they want to. They’d have to keep in mind at what cost though, and what they’re sacrificing,” said pre-nursing freshman Robin Canoy.
In general, nature advocates and enforces survival of the fittest. If fear of perception really drives us to do absurd things like altering self-confidence, it’s not something that’s worth valuing above self.
One of the most important things to remember is summed up by Ellen Degeneres at the 2014 Oscars.
“I’m not saying that movies are the most important thing in the world, because we all know that the most important thing in the world is youth,” Degeneres joked. “No, we know that the most important thing in life is love and friendship and family.”
Opinion columnist Valli Challa is a law graduate student and may be reached at [email protected].