I am not here to criticize what she's done. It's her face, she can do whatever she wants to it. I'm not here to criticize plastic surgery, youth culture, cosmetology et.al. I've just been wondering why people are having a nearly violent reaction to the way Ms. Ciccone looks now. I'm actually pro plastic surgery. You know, as we age, gravity takes a toll. If your house were beginning to sag, you'd want to shore it up, right? Of course you would.
In the above picture we see Madonna from, oh, I'm guessing between five and ten years ago. I think it's the last time she truly looked like the Madonna we all knew and loved (or at least liked? Tolerated? Okay, yeah, maybe didn't like so much?) No matter if you loved her or didn't, no one could deny that she had a great face. Those eyes are stunning. But now, you can't really see her eyes.
Madonna herself and various and sundry media pundits are blaming the negative reaction to her current look as a combination of misogyny and ageism. I don't think that's what it is. What it is, is that Madonna isn't really Madonna anymore.
In the picture above, Madonna still looks like Madonna. She looks her age. Interestingly, she's made a mistake with her lipstick. She's using the ancient Hollywood trick of going outside the natural lip-line to make the lips look fuller. Bette Davis was a huge fan of this technique:
Why are people rejecting this latest incarnation from the famous chameleon, known for changing her spots.
Well, I think this time she not only changed the spots, she applied them to someone else. It seems as though she's gone in (or had people go in) and changed the shape of her face at a molecular level. The proportions have changed. The area below her eyes is wider. Her chin area smaller. Her eyes more recessed. Her lips are completely reshaped. She does not look like Madonna. Actually (and I'm not trying to be mean or funny here) she looks like Marilyn Manson. Marilyn Manson's face is already taken. By Marilyn Manson.
Madonna has also, it seems, broken a sort of unspoken pact with the public. Her schtick has always been: "I'm Madonna bitches!"; the implication being that she was one of a kind. And she was one of a kind. But now, it seems she's two of a kind; and people don't want the second kind. Madonna, who for so long trumpeted her uniqueness and flipped the bird at the Establishment/Patriarchy/Blah, blah blah; now seems to have caved to those very things. She's trying to look like a twenty-two year old. She hasn't stood up to aging in an authentically Madonna way. She's clearly insecure about aging: the one thing none of us can avoid. Her most recent appearance has not just undermined her credibility; her brand. It's sort of put the final nail in the coffin.
There's also been a lot of talk around this about the "growing old gracefully" trap for women. We ask that a woman grow old gracefully; but if she ages "naturally" (and in particular if she's a celebrity and we all know what she looked like in her salad days); we will reject that, because we want her to look like she did back in the day. Conversely, if she chooses to age with the assistance of surgical means (like Madonna); we won't accept that either. I don't think that's true though. If a woman chooses la plastica as an aging option and she does it well, people will cheer. Remember when Betty Ford got a facelift?
How about Jane Fonda?
Nobody's on Jane's back about her work (although I'm a little tired of her saying "we should own our faces" and "I'm through with plastic surgery." Yeah, okay Jane...) If I was a celebrity (or not, as I am) I'd be hiring a private detective to find out who Jane's surgeon is!
How about Dolly Parton?
Oh let's leave Dolly out of this. She gets a pass.
What about men and plastic surgery? Here are my humble observations.
Men should NEVER have ANY eye-work done (well, maybe undereye bags when they turn into suitcases; but never the eyelids). It never looks right. Men are supposed to have some meat around their eyes. Kenny Rogers, for example.
I think men can do a little botox for forehead lines and the "11" between the eyes; but not too much or you end up looking like Raymond Arroyo, the Snidely Whiplash of Fox News (who has the audacity to sit with Laura "Fox Me!" Ingraham and make fun of other people's physical appearances).
Also, I think the "necklift" is fine for any man. Getting rid of jowls and turkey neck is never a bad thing; and instantly shaves a good twenty years off the appearance.
These people seemed to be from some strange tribe or planet or planetary tribe. The ones that I met never seemed very happy to me. They often seemed like they were in pain. And perhaps they were. Perhaps trying to find happiness through plastic surgery? But so many never seem happy with the results and keep returning to the well. But it's a well of diminishing returns. And you never miss the well until the water runs dry. I mean, you only have so much face, right?