Face Off: Part I*

Justine Bateman is embroiled in a scandal.  Bateman is best known for her role as Mallory Keaton from the television sitcom Family Ties, a role she had from 1982 to 1989 (ages 16 to 25).   For those of us in our 50s, we remember Bateman as the cute, fashion-conscious, airhead, who was the butt of many jokes by her “brother” (Michael J. Fox). 

              Bateman has rebelled against beauty standards for aging women.  Instead of buying into the multibillion-dollar industries that are telling and selling us ways to stay young, she had the audacity to unapologetically age.  At 55, she wrote a book, entitled “Face: One Square Foot of Skin,” and posed naked (sans make-up) for the cover. She wrote it because “I hated the idea that half the population [women] was perhaps spending the entire second half of their lives ashamed and apologetic that their faces had aged naturally.” Bateman asked the question, what if we changed the story about women and their aging faces from one where we are told to go to battle and fight the aging process with make-up, special anti-aging cremes, and plastic surgery to one where we embrace aging, wrinkles and all. 

Beautiful older woman

Outrageous, right?

              Here at Representation Rebellion, we often talk of the invisibility of women in their 50s (with or without plastic surgery).  There are too many stories to count about us older woman being erased once we are no longer a sexy, young thang, our kids have grown and moved out of the house, our skin begins to sag, pucker and freckle with dark spots, bras become a necessity to bring our breasts from our waists to the middle of our chests, and our hands turn into our grandmother’s overnight.

Beautiful older black woman with her eyes closed

              We are inundated with products, procedures, and surgeries that promise us we will look younger.  According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, we spent $16.5 billion dollars in 2019 on cosmetic procedures (invasive and minimally-invasive) including:

  • Breast augmentation or enlargement
  • Breast implant removals
  • Breast lift with or without the placement of an implant
  • Buttock lift
  • Chin, cheek, or jaw reshaping
  • Dermabrasion
  • Eyelid lift
  • Facelift
  • Forehead lift
  • Hair replacement or transplantation
  • Lip augmentation
  • Liposuction
  • Lower body lift
  • Nose reshaping
  • Thigh lift
  • Tummy tuck
  • Upper arm lift
  • Botox injections
  • Cellulite treatment
  • Chemical peel
  • Plumping, or collagen or fat injections  
  • Laser skin resurfacing
  • Laser treatment of leg veins
  • Vaginal rejuvenation

Holy crap, that is a lot of “fixing” when nothing is wrong. 

And if we can’t afford plastic surgery, then we are barraged with ads, commercials, and articles about potions that promise eternal youth.  Use this face cream, and, abracadabra, no more wrinkles (read the small print which guarantees a significant reduction of fine lines). 

And, thank goodness (read sarcasm) for cosmetics.  In 2019, we spent $49.2 billion dollars on cosmetics.   That is more money than the gross domestic product (GDP) of the Congo, Jordan or Bolivia, and almost double the GDP of Honduras, Cyprus, or Iceland.  That is an insane amount of money to cover up our mottled skin and undereye circles, to contour cheekbones, and make our lips look plumper.   Add the amount of money we spend on cosmetic plastic procedures to this and we spend more than the GDP of Croatia, Tanzania, or Costa Rica.

What if we had a face-off against our culture telling us not to age?  What if we gave the middle finger to the media, plastic surgery, and cosmetics industries who are selling us the promise of youth?  What if we called bullshit, like Justine Bateman, to all this and took our money elsewhere?

After all money talks, and over $65 billion is a rebel yell

Woman in yoga pose

Listen, we could spend that money on what really matters—ourselves.  We could go on vacation, buy a membership to a yoga studio, go to therapy, save money for retirement, get a massage, donate to our favorite nonprofits, buy essential oils, and support industries who value women.

The truth is many things that make us feel better AND slow down aging are free including:

  • Breathing
  • Walking in nature
  • Drinking water
  • Meditating
  • Eating whole foods
  • Smiling

Woman smiling

  • Being physically active
  • Practicing positive affirmations
  • Laughing
  • Being present and mindful
  • Shining your light

Calling all rebels.  Who’s with Representation Rebellion telling these industries to sell their wares somewhere else?  Raise your voice.  Put your money where your mouth is.  You do you, Boo.

*This is Part I of a three-part series.

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