Raising the beauty bar – again

There was another piece about celebrity middle aged bikini bodies in last weekend’s paper, citing the latest entrants to the Fabulous For her Age club like Cindy Crawford and Courtney Cox Arquette, who have managed to maintain their bodies at perfect 20-something standards well into their 40s.


google image results for ‘Nicolette Sheridan beach’ – she’s 45…

This is perhaps a natural evolution of the Helen Mirren in a bikini fuss from last July, where she was widely applauded for looking Fabulous For Her Age, but at least she looked brilliant for her age, rather than brilliant when compared to women two or three decades her junior.

It seems that in the last few years (or even months) the beauty bar has been raised significantly.  And women are responding to this with more than a little help from the medical profession.  At dinner the other night, both of the thirty something women I was dining with had just had their braces removed.  I can think of another three women I know who are currently sporting train tracks, a couple of recent boob jobs, one botox and a lady who went off and quietly got a facelift so good I thought she’d just been on a very restful holiday. 

I can’t help wondering who we are spending all this time and money improving our appearance for.  Is it for self confidence?  Or is it because the perceived pressure is now there for us to become ageless beauties?

If the external pressure to conform to this model of perfection continues, the world is going to become a very boring place full of ageless practically perfect faces and bodies.  And I don’t know about you, but I’d rather be less than perfect but uniquely me.

6 thoughts on “Raising the beauty bar – again

  1. I’m not so sure.

    People like to be the best they can be and if that raises issues then why not start with the cosmetic industry’s lipstick and blusher. Makeup raises some interesting topics as I’ve learned from listening to women in focus groups including office hierarchy for skin darkness in Asia and used to sell skin whitening creams.

    Quite by coincidence I saw one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever seen last night in a well known nightclub. I’ve seen hundreds if not thousands of beautiful women at the same place and never thought twice about it, but on this occasion I introduced myself and conveyed that she was ‘remarkably beautiful’

    I said it with sincerity as I wasn’t seeking anything.

    Unsurprisingly her response was less than graceful and so I also explained that she might be an ugly person on the inside but outside looked pretty flawless. But the beauty had already slipped by then and I was on my way.

    That didn’t stop her from subsequently following me to another room, but you know, people only get one chance to take a compliment from me and a ‘thank you’ looks good on anyone.

    I’m waffling aren’t I?… ;)

  2. I suppose that brings us to the difference between ‘perfect’ and ‘beautiful’ and I’d like to think (hope)that they are two different things.

    Perfection can be achieved, beauty comes from within, is in the eye of the beholder etc – its more subjective :-)

  3. Totally agree. I’ve just finished reading The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf which includes some quite extreme views but she raises some interesting points on this theme.
    I think the key thing, as you identify, is motivation. Who are we doing it for?

  4. It may be related to the economic situation. In times of recession people suddenly become extremely health-conscious and conscious of their appearance (knowing they may have to sell themselves in a tight jobs market). Which is why pharmaceutical companies / diet pill peddlars / gyms etc tend to do well in a recession.

    The trend for physical perfection has been going on for some time, but (this is just my opinion, no evidence) seems to have developed in sectors under economic strain since the 80s and 90s recessions.

    If it is any consolation, men are also under this pressure. If you look at re-runs of The Sweeney etc you can see male actors in the 70s were flabby and out of condition. They would never get away with that now!

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