As anti-wrinkle and filler injections became more accessible in the 2010’s, there was a wave, almost a movement of women in their 20’s and 30’s here in Australia. They were making hard claims that they would ‘never’ succumb to the peer pressure of using such products.
“That was for Hollywood & we don’t need to prove nothing to nobody”
“How dare somebody tell me that l need to remove my god given lines on my forehead in the name of ‘beauty’”
“If you don’t like the way l have aged, then don’t look”
… and so on from my feminist sisters that l love from other misters.
Yet, l did not think like this. My thoughts were more of “what would l look like if l used them?”, “would it help correct my lazy right eyebrow?”, “does it help stretch out my angry perched top lip?”…. l would look in the mirror and think that my 30’s was not a time for such interventions as l was very happy with my face (isn’t that shocking that l was content at 30 something), but once l turned 40, l would be wide open to address the things that bothered me about me.
You see, not once had ANYBODY ever noted that my top lip looked angry, quite the contrary, l was often complimented on the shape of my lips. I never wanted to change them, it was and is one of my favourite features about me. My lazy right eyebrow was only ever noticed by my brow artist whilst sitting in the chair with the thread meticulously angled to measure the symmetry of the brows start, arch and end points (yes, my background is strongly in brows).
I decided to wait until l turned 40 to address these minor imperfections as a coming of age and a celebration that l had the ‘choice’ to address what l had only seen as areas l wanted to work on. Like my body, l go to the gym to work on it. Like my mind, l read and research daily to expand and delight it.
My face being injected twice a year with TGA approved products to ‘refresh’ me is not something l looked at as a sign of succumbing to the patriarchy. And this notion is now the new narrative that is testing my right to feel good about ageing in a controlled manner for ME.
I understand that a new wave of ‘clients’ entered this market of injectables with the pop culture trend that a 17 year old Kylie Jenner made very public. Her use of the products was not for a ‘refreshed’ version of her youthful self, rather a less invasive method of completely changing the structure of her face without going under the knife. Many of my feminist sisters in their 40’s+ who are strongly opposed to injections have had rhinoplasty surgery (l know, it was because of the sinus issue), but injections are a step too far.
When looking at before and after images of Ms Jenner, the question is left for you to decide whether she ‘needed’ it. But l do feel the problem of her extreme use of the products have left people to assume that this is the intention and result of what injections do.
If a young woman of 17 dislikes her nose shape and goes in for the surgery to have it straightened, as a culture we have come to accept this as her right to decide to do so. As her hype girls, we tell her that she does not need to in order to conform in society, but if it makes her ‘feel’ better about herself, then hell yeah, go get it done. It is her choice and more impressively, it is an OPTION she has to choose from. But, the choice is absolutely hers.
Now as ageing women are finding anti wrinkle injections and fillers more accessible, the noise of ‘you DON’T have to do that, age the way god intended or you are not embracing your authentic self’ is becoming louder and louder.
Two months after l turned 40 l had my first experience of such injections. They unfortunately did not make me feel better or even look better. My ‘why’ at the time was far greater than a lazy right brow or tightly perched top lip. My why was looking to escape the pain of divorce and the relentless tiredness l was feeling from raising a little baby on my own and running a large business.
It wasn’t until l was 42 and met the talented Dr Ceylan Yilmaz who assessed my face and gave me a QUARTER of what was previously performed on my face to, dare l say it, ‘refresh’ me. As she likes to say, give me the look of a really good nights sleep. Now at 44, with some small tweaks using anti wrinkle ‘correctly’ and fillers where ‘needed’, my face is still my very own. Like a pretty dress we buy for that once off event that gives you that hit of dopamine, these long lasting injections help me get my hit of happiness when l look in the mirror and l don’t see said ‘lazy right brow’ or ‘angry perched top lip’.
My ‘why’ today is truly for me and one that l may not need as l enter my 50’s or 60’s. I see my beautiful 72 year old mother who has not done a thing and her lines on her face tell stories of ‘living’ – l would never want to see her go under the knife for a facelift in a name of beauty. I imagine l will feel this way about me at 72.
Men are the minority of using such tools, yet, let me point out the most poignant part of all that l have told you here. Each day, we search for tools to make us feel happy, to get our happiness hit. Mine comes in the form of seeing symmetry in my face today, tomorrow no doubt my ‘hit’ form will change.
This is my graceful ageing right.