We've said it before and we'll say it again: Let's leave women's faces alone
We were REALLY disappointed with the media this past October when Renée Zellweger appeared at an event and cosmetic surgery rumors swirled. In fact, this is what we said at the time:
“What if we just left women’s faces alone and didn’t treat every inch of their skin like a carnival sideshow? What if we treated women who have made tremendous contributions to their field with the respect they deserve? What if we didn’t look for every possible opportunity to undercut and diminish the value of important women? What if we listened to them as much, or even more, as we looked at them? Now that would be progress.”
And now we, unfortunately, have to say this again because history is repeating itself. Uma Thurman, our beloved Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction and The Bride in Kill Bill, is now dealing with the same tsunami of grossness.
So here’s what happened. Uma walked the red carpet event on Monday for her new miniseries The Slap. That’s all.
Now we wake up this morning to notice Thurman is trending hard on Facebook and our feeds are flooded with links to stories about her “unrecognizable” face. The Daily Mail covered the story with the very not-cool headline “Now what has Uma Thurman done to her face?” snipping in the body of the piece that “she stepped out with a suspiciously smooth forehead and puffy face along with an extremely tight smile.” US Weekly took the concerned friend approach to cover the non-story, saying things like “Perhaps due to a lack of makeup around her usually very distinctive eyes, the 44-year-old actress looked noticeably different than she had in recent appearances,” and “Wearing a black sleeveless jumpsuit and bright red lips, Thurman posed for pictures with her fellow actresses, but seemed reluctant to crack too much of a smile.”
Zellweger and Thurman have much in common when it comes to this mean girl brand of media scrutiny. They’re women who became famous in their 20’s who are now in their 40’s and the media has taken a completely inappropriate and ridiculous interest in their aging. They’re sniffing around for signs of cosmetic surgery and at the same time microscopically examining any natural signs of aging. Human faces evolve over time or time of day. Every age and every face is unique and beautiful. And most importantly, who cares? These women have achieved so much professionally, that it’s tragic to think their successes could be minimized by a single photo.
Make no mistake, this is a gendered issue. When was the last time you heard the media lose their minds over George Clooney or Johnny Depp or Brad Pitt looking a little bit different than they did in the ’90s? It may happen on occasion (it’s the media, they’re noting EVERYTHING) but not to this magnitude. The vast majority of scrutiny is focused on women and it needs to stop. Women are their accomplishments and their influence. not their faces. Let’s try to remember that from here on out.