Can authenticity and cosmetic surgery co-exist? Jane Fonda renews this conversation.
As a woman ages, “authentic” can mean several different things. To the feminist, the truly authentic woman is the one who just lets physical aging happen without a backward glance in the mirror. Others see “authentic” as being true to oneself, even in the face of negative societal judgments.
Most of us want to look our best and are willing to spend money to enhance our appearance. For some, this might mean coloring away gray hair, investing in porcelain veneers, getting facial treatments to beautify our skin. For others, cosmetic surgery answers the call. No matter the choice, many of us feel the conflict. We are torn between “Authenticity” and “Beauty”. It is not always easy to be true to oneself.
Why such inner conflict? I question how much women support one another as we each draw our own personal line between authenticity and beauty? To me, it means not being judgmental or telling this woman how you think she should have made that call. It means supporting her desire to look as good as she feels and appreciating her resolve to invest in herself. But I do believe there’s another side to authenticity – being true to oneself and avoiding glaringly inconsistent messages. To me this means taking ownership of your choice – not necessarily broadcasting it far and wide, but not being deceitful about it either. When Jane Fonda went on her recent book tour encouraging women to embrace their aging selves while admitting on prime time TV that she has undergone extensive work to defy the effects of her personal aging clock, many criticized that duality of perspective. But I didn’t see it that way.
Although I suspect the debate surrounding the co-existance of authenticity and cosmetic surgery is likely to continue to rage, I would like to shift gears to what I consider a more productive focus – a discussion on what it means to live one’s life being true to oneself.