Thursday 22 February 2018

Angela Scanlon: Uma Thurman and the great face debate

Fashion designer Angela Scanlon.
Fashion designer Angela Scanlon.

Angela Scanlon

My sole goal in life is to look like a foetus, well not the sole one, but it's up there. I spend quite a lot on potions and lotions, serums and masks, toners and collagen- infused plumpers.

I draw the line at anything invasive, but it's not uncommon for me to use six different face masks in any given week, to go through a 10-step programme before bed, to examine my pores in a mirror for an hour and fixate on newly developed lines.

I wouldn't get Botox because mainly I think it looks pretty rubbish. You still look your age, just more… Botoxed. A little frozen. Kind of stuck in gear. Shiny. Shocked.

The fixation on preserving our faces is laughable but it also seems almost logical given societal pressure and scrutiny. "Celebs without make-up", "The Circle of Shame" are headlines we see all the time - headlines that result in increased magazine sales. Our voyeuristic nature makes it impossible not to look, to critique faces, to react with shock when we see wrinkles and disdain when we see Botox.

Let's take Uma Thurman as an example. Last week, she stepped out for the New York premiere of her new show The Slap looking a little different and the rumours began. Surgery, Botox, face-lifts, fillers? As a model-turned-actress, she must be used to this - it's part of the gig, she gets well paid for it. But apart from speculation, there's judgement, lots of it. I immediately thought, "No, definitely not. She's smarter than to be that fixated on her face." But what does that even mean? Of course she's smart, but she's also human, even if her run in Kill Bill makes you briefly question that. Her face pays her bills and it must be kind of terrifying to see that face change in front of your eyes every day.

Search Uma Thurman online and you'll immediately see the face debate. Despite a career spanning decades, it seems her appearance is more important than her talent. She's pretty decent at acting, so one would imagine that much like her male counterparts, her beauty would become less relevant as she gets older. I recently read an interview which quoted Jude Law saying he's loved getting older because people see him less. His appeal isn't based on his face anymore and so we get to see what he's really capable of, without getting distracted by those eyes. Refreshing and kind of empowering I'd imagine!

As the dust settled, popular opinion conceded that the only thing Uma Thurman did to her face was refrain from using mascara. Without her usual smoky cat-eye, her eyes looked smaller which maybe made her cheeks look bigger by comparison. It's difficult to feel sorry for someone whose primary issue in life is that they're just too goddamn good-looking but I think this illustrates the real issue. Whether you're appearing on a magazine cover or on your own Facebook page, face fixation is there. In order to stop it happening to you, you must stop doing it to Uma and the crew first.

Fifty shades of grammar

Fifty Shades of Grey took in €1.34 million at the Irish box office over its opening weekend - the highest figure since Skyfall in 2012. Has anyone actually read these books? I tried. I don't like to miss out on a fad and all this noise about erotica piqued my interest, but sweet mother of Jesus, it was painful. Fair play to EL James for being brave but as I read I found myself cursing her for not having the grammatical skills to back it up. Still, Jamie Dornan is flying the flag for Irish men across the globe so I guess all is not lost.

Irish Independent

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