How Renee Zellweger's Face Became an It

Updated: Apr 29

Have you heard about Renee Zellweger’s face?

No? Not yet?

You should check out my facebook feed. It’s trending, apparently.

It has gone viral. Yes, her face has become an “it.”

A “thing."

Something separate from a connected part of her body. No longer one part of her body, it has become a disposable good to be dissected.

And the dissection is widespread. Articles using the same language and fervor one might use to announce the next Tsunami or to critique a presidential candidate’s platform on education. “What Has Happened to Renee Zellweger’s face!?”

A Buzzfeed article titled “This is What Renee Zellweger Looks Like Now,” compares her face now to 10, 20 years ago.

Because the expectation is that she should look like she did 10, 20 years ago?

The article goes on to highlight tweets that exclaim “THIS IS FREAKING ME OUT!” and “Are you sure? #unrecognizable.”

Because the worry is not about Renee (the woman it (the face) belongs to). No, the bigger concern is that we may have to recalibrate our facial recognition. Doesn’t Renee know we are owed a face that does not change? Or at least, one that doesn’t show attempts to resist change. Sheesh!

In the same way that it is wrong to dissect a woman’s body for her size, shape, dress, etc., it is wrong to dissect a woman’s choice to pursue plastic surgery or any other method of beauty enhancement.

Our society asks women to walk a tightrope between one extreme of pursuing the thin, beautiful ideal (which is closely monitored and policed) and another extreme of being considered overly vain.

Girls are asked to choose between opposing aims. The messages media and the beauty and diet industries send are clear: You should care (read: REALLY care…like, care so much that you’re willing to sacrifice your health, relationships, wellbeing, etc.) about how you look.

You need to care.

You need to care.

You need to care.

You need to care.

Don’t care too much!!!

And now Renee has committed the ultimate sin of body image: She has cared too much.

I can hear the argument now: Well, she’s the one that got the surgery, so she should expect the scrutiny.

No, Nope. No. Follow me here. Just because a woman ________ (wears makeup, doesn’t wear makeup, wears a dress, wears pants, grows her hair long, shaves her head, shaves her legs, keeps her legs furry, gets plastic surgery, doesn’t get plastic surgery, gains weight, loses weight, becomes pregnant, loses pregnancy weight, doesn’t lose pregnancy weight, was assigned female at birth, was assigned male at birth) DOESN’T mean she should expect or that she has invited commentary about her body.

Yes, let’s work to end the normalization of plastic surgery. Yes, let’s teach our girls that their bodies are valuable and powerful beyond their aesthetic qualities. And yes, let’s move toward an acceptance of many different body shapes and sizes. But let’s not cast a scarlet letter on women who pursue the beauty ideal that is peddled on them at every turn. Let’s not continue the shaming and blaming of women for living in a society that tells them their voice is not important, that their choices are not moral, and that their bodies are not theirs. Let’s uplift women’s voices. Let’s safeguard their choices. And let’s leave their bodies out of our newsfeeds. There’s plenty of other topics to discuss.

Like, unicorns, for example.

#plasticsurgery #bodyimage #ReneeZellweger #face #girls #woman

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Maria Paredes, PhD, LPCS, CEDS-S

Three Birds

Counseling and Clinical Supervision, PLLC

Tel: 336-430-6694


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