One of the weekly rituals I look forward to most is reading the Sunday Styles section of The New York Times. No need to sugar coat it, it's the upscale gossip column of the paper. Why then was I feeling so irritated this week as I finished the last story about another sweet newly married couple? Then I remembered, the article teased on page one with the headline, "Renee Zellweger Defends her New Look."
Photograph by WireImage
To be clear, I care as much about what you do to your face as I do who you sleep with, which is to say, not at all. As far as I am concerned you can cut your entire head off and sew on a new one for an upgrade and if it makes you happy, more power to you. What I can't stand though, is if you do this and when I notice the change you respond with, "I'm living a different, happy, more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows," as the Times quoted Ms. Zellweger.
And then you top yourself by adding the only reason you are responding to the queries about your entirely new visage is to assuage the curiosity of people, "digging around for some nefarious truth which doesn't exist." What if it's not a nefarious truth we are looking for, but in fact, the simple truth?
As Kruczynski, the writer of the Times article admits, "By Friday, we were all ashamed to still be thinking private thoughts about Ms. Zellweger, but we were." Her reasoning for why we can't let it go is the loss of a flawed face that women could easily relate to. I would argue that at least half of the preoccupation with the change, particularly given the number of plastic surgeons who are weighing in, comes from trying to figure out exactly what the heck Zellweger did. You could say that it's none of our business, and you may be right, but that doesn't stop curiosity from driving a media train fast and hard.
Why not just nip the gossip in the bud and tell the truth
My question is, and maybe I'm naive, but if you're out there proudly displaying yourself, and you don't want relentless inquiry about your new look, why not just nip the gossip in the bud and tell the truth? Because I live a healthy lifestyle and feel pretty fulfilled in my life too, but if I showed you my high school graduation picture, you'd know it was me.
I am not saying there isn't pressure on women to have nubile beauty 'til death, but this doesn't seem to be the sole motivating factor here because she doesn't look younger. She, does however, look more at peace and comfortable in her own skin in a way that I suspect she didn't feel before. Which I applaud wholeheartedly! But in not being honest about how she achieved this goal, she is perpetuating a myth for women that if only we could eat more kale, find love, and go to the gym a lot, our eyes will spontaneously lift and our jawlines will streamline, and our foreheads will relax for eternity.
Joan Rivers, may she rest in laughter, would have had a field day with this.