I first really started to notice botox faces in non-celebrities when I was at a weekend workshop in 2009. A woman who was also attending struck up a conversation in my group during a break. I was fascinated that her face was almost immobile, apart from her lips which were very plump and seemed to be the only part of her face that could move. I do work hard at not judging other people’s choices, and was really challenged to not stare at her face, trying to find a sign of life. To be fair, it was the first time I’d really noticed up close that ultra-smooth completely still effect.
I’ve been noticing it more and more since then – even on the few old-favourite TV shows I watch, like The Bill, it seems 90% of the older cast have those frozen faces.
And that, it occurred to me this morning, is what I find most uncomfortable about the whole botox movement. Aside from the dangers – yes statistically few, but I’d not want one of my good girlfriends being one of the 28 people who died in 2008 from botox side effects.
Let’s not forget this stuff is a highly dangerous toxin, and choosing to add a poison to your body really makes me wonder about how well a person regards themselves. I know the argument is ” it makes me look younger”, but is that a good reason to poison your body? What are the long term side effects? No one knows, because the stuff hasn’t been used in this way long term – how will your paralysed muscles be performing in 10 years, 15 years? Think it’s not likely you’ll still be using it in 15 years? Think again: I read in the Courier Mail last week about a 21 year old woman using botox, to prevent wrinkles!
And clearly there’s a bit of concern about the side effects of botox, if this Google screen capture is anything to go by – I captured it today.
But back to the original point of this post – the look of botoxed faces. It seems most people get botox injections around their eyes to smooth out the crow’s feet; foreheads to iron out the frown lines, and around their mouths to erase the smile lines.
End result: perfectly smooth face. Perfectly expressionless face.
Now most people aren’t aware that studies say more than 70% of our communication happens non-verbally (some researchers say even more!). So most people might not KNOW that they’re picking up non-verbal signals, but they are picking them up, interpreting them, responding to them, and giving back a bunch of their own. It’s how we’re wired, we just do it, it’s an important way of connecting with one another.
And for me, it explains why I feel so uneasy around all these expressionless faces that are popping up everywhere – it’s like they’re wearing a mask, and what’s really going on – is hidden. Apart from the fact that I feel like I’m talking to a plastic doll, I know that I definitely feel like I don’t actually know how to respond, it’s disconcerting! What does this mask do to our communication with one another, how does it undermine understanding, which is already difficult enough!
But then I think a person is worth so much more than simply the way they look. That’s not to say it’s okay to be a slob, though if that’s what you want, then no one has the right to tell you otherwise. Eating foods that nourish your body, using products that don’t poison the environment, moving your body regularly and enjoying time in the sun and fresh air, and living with an open heart are the keys to good health and long life, in my opinion.
Choosing to inject toxins into your body – how does that fit in to being comfortable with who you are and how your body looks? Does it say that you care about how you look? Does it say more that you care about what others think about how you look? What do you think it’s doing to your health? I’m really curious to know, because this is such a foreign idea to me that I can’t imagine the circumstances under which I’d make that choice.
What do you think? (You can comment below)