Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Slice and Dice to Look Nice

I will not age gracefully.

I plan to nip and tuck and slice and suck myself as far away from the crypt as I possibly can without looking ridiculous. I don't listen to the argument that plastic surgery is fueled by our culture's pervasive degradation of women and media brainwashing. The argument is true, mind you, I just don't listen to it.

I also don't listen to Ashlee Simpson. Not to her music. Not to her sister. Not to what she has to say about self-esteem. So forgive me for coming to this a bit late, but what's all the fuss about?

Jessica Simpson's lip-synching little sis did a nice little interview in the July issue of Marie Claire, in which she chirps, "Everyone is made differently, and that's what makes us beautiful and unique. I want girls to look in the mirror and feel confident."

Shortly thereafter, she got a nose job.

Now Marie Claire readers are all up in arms over the lip-syncher's hypocrisy, and other media outlets spent a few days batting her about like cats with yarn. I don't begrudge anyone for making fun of Ashlee. She's a walking commodity created by bizarre parents and expensive lighting. Her purpose in life is to remind the rest of us why we don't really want to be famous after all.

But I do take issue with the idea that hacking into one's flesh is bad. I've never had plastic surgery, but like I said, I fully intend to. Why not?

It's not a sign of weakness. It's the ultimate sign of control. Are you the love child of a horse and a rhinoceros? If you can make it work for you, then you're probably a truly beautiful person who can light up a whole room with your smile.

But if you can't make it work for you, lose the long face and chop off your schnoz. Victory over DNA. I feel the same way about people who get sex-change operations. Honey, if you were born in the wrong body, then get yourself in the right one. Where's the scandal?

When hypochondriac Hubby worried that he would one day lose all his teeth, I shrugged and said, "So? You'll get new ones."

And I mean it.

We live in a time when we can carve entirely different looks out of the clay molds of our bodies. In his youth, Donald Rumsfeld looked like Dick Sargent. One skilled scalpel, and he still could.

I have friends who disagree (actually, I'm hard-pressed to find friends who agree with me on this). They bring up Michael Jackson, which is like bringing up epidemic obesity when a 90-pound woman glances at the dessert menu.

They say that women, particularly young women, are pressured into believing they have to be perfect in order to be beautiful/accepted/successful/loved. But my friends who rail against cosmetic surgery all happen to be beautiful, accepted, successful and loved. It's very difficult to have perspective on the myriad reasons a woman (or man) would go under the knife if you look ravishing with unwashed hair and no makeup.

Besides, the whole hubbub over Ashlee is as misplaced as Mel Gibson at a bar mitzvah. Society's big mistake is holding a dimwit like her up as a role model, not with her choice to (let's face it) make herself look better.

And yet, Marie Claire is expanding the letters section of its Aug. 15 issue to allow for many of the more than 1,000 notes of protest readers sent to the magazine.

Since she is a role model (sigh), some of her detractors say she not only shouldn't have made the hypocritical statement, but she shouldn't have gotten the plastic surgery in the first place. Plastic surgery is the devil's work, plain and simple. A sign of insecurity and low self-esteem. Proof that women simply can't be trusted with control of their own bodies.

If rolling one's eyes causes wrinkles, I'm going to need a lot of Botox some day.

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