In our culture, looking odd appears preferable to looking old
Nicole Kidman was photographed at Cannes recently with an oddly swollen face, prompting lots of articles pondering on her looks. But Nicole wasn't an anomaly on a red carpet of static, impassive faces. Film screens with their unforgiving, cruel close-ups send actors, young and old, into the arms of Botox in a sad indictment of our wrinkle-fearing, ageist times.
No doubt the pressure on female stars to try to look young is massive but this filters down to regular women too. A certain airbrushed youthfulness is now the norm and no one will be surprised that the number of Irish women having cosmetic procedures continues to rise.
Botox has been on a mission to erase what we call wrinkles, but cosmetic companies call lines, from every rich person's face for 12 years now. Along the way, it's made some friends and frenemies. Some people love the stuff despite the fact that it's made out of purified botulinum toxin and causes emotional authenticity to disappear as rapidly as fine lines. No official figures exist but it's estimated that around 12,000 Irish women now freeze their faces every year and the revelation that Gadaffi used to use a bit of Botox didn't damage business at all.