I have subscriptions to a wide range of magazines from The Bark to Bitch. I recently opened my latest issue of Redbook to find an article titled “Is Your Face Older than You Are? In it, I read about the 10 things that can make my face look older and younger. I also learned about how to remedy the nagging issue of aging in general.
Although nothing within the pages of women's popular magazines should surprise me by now, I was shocked to discover that many of the "solutions" for aging were in-office cosmetic procedures such as microdermabrasion, chemical peels and injectable fillers. Veiny hands? Dermal filler injections can plump them back up. Sagging cheeks? Ask your dermatologist for “facial fillers such as Restylane, Juvéderm, and Sculptra.” Of course, none of these suggestions were accompanied by even the hint of a price tag because everyone has a secret savings account for just this sort of thing.
“Phooey,” I thought. “If Redbook has been taken over by beauty zombies, I’ll just stop reading it.” I then proceeded to throw it over my shoulder with great gusto and pick up the latest issue of Better Homes and Gardens, my sweeping sense of hope renewed. All was well until I happened upon an article in the loosely-defined Beauty section called “Eye Openers.” The subtitle read “The eyes may be the window to the soul, but that doesn’t mean they need to tell the world exactly how old that soul is.” Charming!
You can probably tell where this is going. On the next page, I was made privy to all the products and procedures that can minimize crow’s feet, hooded lids, dark circles and puffy eyes. In a sidebar that scanned the entire length of the page, I was provided with the most convenient solution of them all – to simply try neurotoxins and injectable fillers.
This article really got me thinking about the (literal) face of beauty as we know it. If a publication as conservative as Better Homes and Gardens is casually advocating procedures that cost an upwards of $500 per session, what does that mean for female sexual standards? Can we really keep up with the trends, and do we even want to?
While the existence of these products is stirring enough, what's more disturbing is their advocacy in pop culture media. We already see advertisements for injectable fillers on TV, but now they’re seeping into our art forms and major methods of communication and information exchange and doing so practically unnoticed.
My follow-up to this article will continue the discussion on Botox, Restylane and all their siblings in the context of societal norms and women’s sexual pleasure. Stay tuned!