I popped down the King’s Road the other day, because sometimes a mooch around Peter Jones is cheaper than therapy and, let’s face it, I was looking for the tail end of the season bargains.
It was on the tube into town that I first noticed it, then I noticed it again several times in Zara. Later on, as I made my way to meet a mate for lunch, I noticed it a few more times and in the restaurant I noticed it twice more.
I almost went home with my eyes shut because I didn’t want to see even more young women who had injected their faces with fatty deposits. On the whole, my generation of 50-plusses isn’t doing this, we seem to be the last of a dying breed of thin-lipped, saggy jowled, baggy- eyed women.
I genuinely don’t know anyone in my immediate (admittedly small) group of female friends who has had anything “done” that wasn’t for health reasons. I don’t even know anyone who has botox; maybe it’s because we’ve all got other stuff to spend our money on, like paying off mortgages, needing varifocals and maybe buying a caravan?
But judging from what I’m seeing on the street, a huge number of women under 40 are willingly interfering with mother nature regardless of the consequences.
Listen, I’m not advocating bare-faced 100 per cent natural beauty here, I look like a washed-out pig without a bit of help from my make-up bag, but there’s a difference between running a coloured crayon over my lips and injecting them with fillers.
What’s really concerning is the sudden acceleration in popularity of these procedures and the normalizing of looking slightly “blow-up sex doll”.
I remember seeing my first face “procedures” back in the 1980s, when I was waitressing in Covent Garden, usually sported by elderly American female tourists. They were the old fashioned neck and chin lift jobs, a process which seemed to involve the surgeon simply pulling the skin as tightly as possible over the bones of the face to give a youthful “lizard in lipstick” look.
This was before lazers when anything surgical still left a scar: a hairdresser friend told me that he could always tell which of his clients had been “done” by the tell- tale purple line of running stitches behind their ears.
Back then, plastic surgery was the prerogative of the ancient, moneyed and vain and the results were usually spectacularly awful, with the comedian Linda Smith describing recipients as “looking like a Siamese cat in a wind tunnel”. I don’t remember any young people aspiring to this “bonkers of Fifth Avenue” look, it was something to be pitied and avoided.
But attitudes shift and all of a sudden, 18-year-olds are saving up to alter what luck and genetics gave them and nobody bats an eyelid. Until another young woman dies after something goes wrong during surgery in Turkey to inject fat into her buttocks.
And it’s all because the so-called perfect arse, (“the Kardashian mega-peach”) is being pushed into our faces by other young women who have also paid to mutilate themselves and have had the good fortune to survive.
What is odd about buttock implants is that, until recently, the bum was something to get rid of, to diet and exercise away, now it is something to risk your life over. Notions of beauty have always changed throughout history and I vividly remember the French artist Orlan toying with perceptions of femininity back in the early 90s by having two very obvious bumps implanted into her forehead. Most people thought she was mad and although the forehead bumps haven’t yet caught on with the TOWIE brigade, you do wonder, what could be next?
Accessibility and the internet are obviously partly behind the rise and rise in cosmetic procedures but the scourge of the celebrity magazine has also played a part, with their vicious and constant campaign against any woman who has the temerity to look rubbish in a bikini with the tedious term “the revenge body” being bandied about as if the only way a woman can get back at the world is by creating her own physical perfection, by whatever means.
At this point I’d like to suggest that instead of whittling and filling and jabbing and starving ourselves, we all develop something called “revenge brain” and just stop buying into all this rubbish, because it’s not just harmful, it can kill.
So let’s start with the hairdressers, dentists and anywhere there’s a waiting room, help us out here guys, do tomorrow’s self-harming teenagers a favour today and cleanse your communal areas of this kind of crap, bin it burn it, just don’t put it out there.
There are plenty of other magazines that don’t spout this rubbish, some of them are silly but they’re not dangerous, there are cooking mags and fashion mags and magazines that actually have stories and knitting patterns, there are country and coastal magazines and Horse and Hound and Gardeners’ World, ooh and anything to do with caravans, obviously.
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