The Insightful Troll

Rants and ruminations.

Should You Be Getting Botox?

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Inaugural edition of Jessica DeFino’s column Ask Ugly:

To self-soothe, I went home and wrote a detailed account of exactly how much time, money and effort it takes to maintain the ageless, expressionless “Instagram face” look for – roughly 16 cosmetic treatments and $17,000 a year. And that’s without 2023 inflation.

Still, understanding that the youth-centric beauty ideal is an algorithmic black hole designed to absorb my brain space didn’t make me feel better. For a long while after, I felt bad.

Who could blame me? The false equivalence “beauty = good” is everywhere: anti-ageing products are laden with religious significance – “holy grail” moisturizers, “miracle” ingredients. Anne Hathaway’s youthful appearance is credited to her “unproblematic” behavior. “You look good for your age” is a common compliment, with good meaning young – a construct designed to keep people consuming, and consumed by, a need to prove their worth.

Of course, Indigo Girl, you know this! Lots of people know this! It’s why so many are set on rebranding conventionally bad, ugly or negative traits as good, beautiful or positive traits. Stretch marks are now “warrior marks” or “earned stripes”. Wrinkles are now “signs of wisdom”. I saw an influencer refer to her forehead line as “a hard-earned mark of enduring and carrying on” the other day, and I’m sorry to her and the Indigo Girls, but I hate it so much! This “reclaiming” is not better than the original fallacy. It still frames the physical body as a marker of worth and assigns a moral value to a slab of flesh that intrinsically has none.


To answer your question, Indigo Girl, no, I don’t think you should be more proactive about anti-ageing. Not because your crow’s feet are good or beautiful or representative of some deeper wisdom, but because they come with the territory of having a body.