Looking tired? Try joie de vivre.

While driving past a clinic in Albion last week, I saw a sign out front that read “Looking tired? Try botox.” I can’t begin to enumerate how many things are wrong with this kind of shit, but let’s start with: why pay some shyster hundreds of dollars to inject muscle- and nerve-paralysing toxins in your face just because you’re looking like you’ve lived a little? An appearance of beauty has little to do with smooth skin, and much more to do with vivacity, passion, exultation of spirit.

When I was in England, I watched a fabulous show about Rome hosted by this awesome woman on my right. Her name is Mary Beard, and she’s a professor of classics at Cambridge university, and she’s full of life and light and intelligence and fun. And yet, some limp-dick TV critic  had a crack at her for being “too ugly for TV”. Professor Beard took him down in this restrained and smart riposte, but a few other people have leapt to his defence. Women in the public eye, they say, should take more care with their apperance.

You know what? This obsession with looking “perfect” has simply got to stop. It’s so. Fucking. Stupid. Judging others’ appearance, worrying that you’re butt’s too big, fiddling with your expression: it would only make sense if we lived life in 2D. But we live in 3D. More importantly, we love people in 3D. We love people for smell and heat and texture and sound and energy. All the people I know who are beautiful are full of laughter and energy. We, in turn, are loved in 3D, not for how photogenic we are. I really believe the answer is to get the fuck out of this limited 2D mindset. Stop buying magazines and poring over celeb photos. Stop taking photos of yourself on your iphone and being horrified by how jowly you look or how big your nose seems or any of those UTTERLY MEANINGLESS 2D concerns. Apprehend the world in 3D. Be in the world, don’t be a flat shape in the margins with a frozen smile and your head held at the perfect angle. Live, for chrissake. That’s beautiful.

16 responses to “Looking tired? Try joie de vivre.

  1. I’ve got heaps of ‘crows feet’ I’ve laughed AND cried a lot in 42 years…..but I’ve survived. I’ve also recently had enough, up to the eyeballs, sink, cupboards and in moments of real disorder and chaos…my toothbrush..of dyeing my hair. There, I said it. Yes ladies I’m letting the grey shine through because frankly I’m too lazy for the maintenance involved in having hair that no longer matches my skin tone, and also because I think grey hair is actually kinda cool. Kinda cool? are you crazy lady?! Well here’s the thing; pretty much all my friends are horrified at this decision and I seem to be under a lot more pressure from other women than my husband (who thankfully loves me for more than my hair colour), and part of the rebel in me gets a bit of a giggle now everytime I see a bit more of my ‘real’ hair making an appearance. I’m not asking anyone to like my flashes of silver, I’m wearing it because I like it and because even if I continue to dye it modern society will still find a reason to tell me I’m not just bloody wonderful the way I am thanks very much. xxxx

    • go for it, dawn. and i actually really do feel proud of my laugh lines because they tell people i don’t do botox.

  2. The saddest thing about the AA Gill’s comments is that once again it seems to that the only thing considered to be of note about a woman is her appearance. There are lots of old, fat men on British TV (Bruce Forsythe is 80-something and forgets his lines) but there is very little criticism directed against them regarding their looks.

    It’s notable that even women who have had plastic surgery are criticised as well – even in the 21st century, we can’t win!

  3. Not quite in the academic league of AA Gill and Prof. Beard, the Giles Coren and Alice Vincent twitter argument is a similar case of man-with-audience uses gendered club to beat woman-with-brain.

  4. Absolutely… I reckon I’ve earned every one of my grey hairs and character lines. And, yes, deciding to go grey brought criticism from women, not men, the saddest comment coming from a 9 year old who informed me I was letting the side down (!). Mary Beard looks totally attractive to my eyes. Surely it’s about what she has to say, anyway? Great post.

  5. I can’t begin to tell you how much I love this post, Kim. Thank you. I’m at an age where I’ve started feeling less comfortable in front of the camera and it’s because the 2D reflection it offers doesn’t match my 3D perception of myself. I’m going to stop worrying about stupid, superficial things and get back to loving the world and living in it in all its, and my, 3D glory.🙂

  6. Thank you for this, well said! So sick of constant criticism of women for how we look, for neverending crap in the media about how we look, and for it permeating the mindsets of women so that they criticise each other for how they look! Aaaargh!

  7. Reblogged this on Feeling Good About Feminism and commented:
    YES YES YES!!!! Sing it, sister!!
    Hexebart’s Well, official site for writer Kim Wilkins, shares words of wisdom on looking ‘perfect’: “We, in turn, are loved in 3D, not for how photogenic we are…. Live, for chrissake. That’s beautiful.”
    Read all three paragraphs, it is straight to the point and beautiful!
    Mary Beard, professor of classics at Cambridge University, says:
    “And what is beauty after all? Is it someone who is Botoxed to the eyeballs, or someone who feels beautiful under their own skin?”

    Scholarly: Mary pictured in Herculaneum, presenting for one of her BBC shows
    “The real point is not what I look like, but what I do. And the response from most viewers to my programmes is that I present interesting, absorbing and enjoyable ones.”

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2134146/Too-ugly-TV-No-Im-brainy-men-fear-clever-women.html#ixzz23QUe8Rkh

  8. Pingback: “Looking tired? Try joie de vivre.” reblog from Hexebart’s Well | Feeling Good About Feminism

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