Sunday 16 June 2019

Fiona Ness: 'Tweaking our looks is form of self-harm'

 

'Know that what you’re actually doing when you nip here, plump up there is sending a message to all with whom you share this world that it’s not acceptable to be the person you are.' Stock photo: Getty
'Know that what you’re actually doing when you nip here, plump up there is sending a message to all with whom you share this world that it’s not acceptable to be the person you are.' Stock photo: Getty
Fiona Ness

Fiona Ness

We've been a long time in the planning stages but isn't it starting to look like the epoch of woman has finally arrived?

In every facet of life, from film to sport to the workplace to parenting, real change is apparent. Women are beginning to be seen and heard on an equal footing to men (pause to take stock, and soak it in).

So it perplexes me, really, that at the exact moment we're becoming visible, us ladies are so set against being seen as we actually are, ever again.

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Which provides a perfect 'in' for the good people who are bringing the "world's first ever clinical and aesthetics show", Future Beauty, to Dublin next week. This is the hall pass women need to never have to look at, or into, themselves ever again.

Future Beauty is, according to its promo blurb, the "future of beauty!"

Well, having glimpsed the future, all I can say is, can I please go back?

Aside from providing a window into cosmetic surgeries used to treat physiological problems, organisers say it is also "dedicated to educating consumers" about the latest aesthetic treatments and technologies in the fields of clinical beauty, cosmetic surgery and aesthetic dentistry.

This is the Ideal Home Show of facial fillers. Who among us isn't champing at the bit to experience the wisdom of a group of medical professionals dedicated to educating us in how to "look after our looks" - and spend our hard-earned cash in the process?

True, no woman has ever needed a second chance to feel insecure about her appearance, and it takes a better woman than I not to start scrabbling for the snake oil as the buzzards begin to circle. So part of me really wants to believe that 'aesthetic treatments' - tweakments, if you will - are merely a form of benevolent self-care.

Alas, this is no time for wearing the shallow mask of manners, and I do have to call a spade a spade. 'Tweakments' are not OK. They prey on our useless vanities, presenting themselves as an opportunity for 'self-improvement' when they're a form of physical and mental self-harm.

And not just self-harm, but societal harm too. Know that what you're actually doing when you nip here, plump up there is sending a message to all with whom you share this world that it's not acceptable to be the person you are. That you can dissolve unhappiness by 'fixing' your appearance until you no longer physically represent the life you have lived.

Yes, mirrors are often ugly and mean but it doesn't mean we should change what we see when we look in them. In today's Insta-ready world, mirrors are the Apollonius of Tyana on the hall wall, providing necessary insight into what could be a very empty future.

Say no to the dress

Now that we're emerging from First Communion season, I've one piece of advice for the mothers of Ireland: stop fixating on the cost of the dress.

"How much did yours cost?" has been the question on every eight-year-old's lips. As if you're somehow not First Communion enough if your parents haven't taken out a second mortgage for your mini-bride attire.

Remember, we want Holy children, not vulgar ones.

Goodnight, sleep tight

RIP Judith Kerr, the 95-year-old beloved children's author and illustrator who penned such classics as 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea' and 'When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit'.

When word of her death broke yesterday, the tributes from literary greats came pouring in. Her publisher at HarperCollins Children's Books described her as a person who "embraced life as one great big adventure and lived every day to the full".

Not a single tribute mentioned how well she had looked after her looks.

Irish Independent

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