We live in a world where increasing focus is placed on the body and its perfections, and imperfections. Gossip magazines are filled with pages dedicated to shaming celebs for not being ‘perfect’ enough. Imperfections are covered over, hidden and in some cases surgically altered. I realise that this is not a problem that afflicts just women, but it is women who seem to experience the brunt of the abuse. While reading an interview with Emma Wilson, the daughter of Ann Robinson, in the metro I finally realised how annoyed this subject made me. The article was entitled “Mum offered to buy me Botox for my wedding. ” I was like: ‘I’m sorry?” Foolishly I thought that the article would be a witty commentary on why Ms Wilson didn’t believe in Botox. However, alas, this was not to be the case. Instead, I was utterly disappointed and somewhat infuriated. When asked if she (Wilson) would ever have Botox she answered “I haven’t yet, but yet is the word, [Mum] looks glorious and it makes her happy so I have nothing against [cosmetic surgery].” I couldn’t help thinking that this was sad. Why was her success not enough for Robinson? Instead she was happy because her youth had been restored to her through a surgeon’s hand. The article went on to become further annoying when the author wrote that she couldn’t see why Wilson needed surgery, because “she looks far younger than she really is… she is even more striking and petite in person than she appears on screen”. For most of the interview they talked about her looks and her wardrobe and not her achievements. I couldn’t help but ask why women could never be interviewed without being asked how they look so young? What their beauty secrets are? Or how they dress so well? Why is this always the case? Why can’t women be allowed to age? Why can’t professional women be mentioned without a comment being made towards their appearances? This is something I think most successful men do not suffer with.
I myself am looking forward to my wrinkles; they will signal that a life has been lived. I hail the rare chance of seeing ‘real’ woman on TV, and delight when braless Mary Beard or makeup-less Bettany Hughes get their own series. Women of all shapes, sizes and ages should be allowed to express themselves without looking perfect. Yet in Western society our perception is so distorted by the images of Hollywood actresses, that there is a trend to delay anything related to getting old; and that I believe is a real shame.