23.3 C
Byron Shire
February 24, 2024

Mandy Nolan’s Soap Box: The Botox talk

Latest News

Lighthouse Road

The section from the bus stop on Lighthouse Road to the divide of the road to Byron Bay, is...

Other News

Last chance for Julian Assange?

This week the Australian journalist Julian Assange will find out whether he will be extradited from the United Kingdom to the USA, where he faces 175 years in solitary confinement for his role in revealing the truth about war crimes and the inner workings of empire, or conducting 'espionage', as America calls it.

Wallum: councillors failed to listen to the community

Thank you, Councillors Lyon, Pugh and Coorey for explaining what went wrong with the Wallum development application (DA) process on Facebook. The community f*cked up because they failed to object?

Affordable housing summit next week

As the affordable housing issue shows no signs of easing in the near future, key figures in the housing, property, and finance sectors will come together to tackle the country’s housing challenges at the ninth Affordable Housing Development & Investment Summit

Government amends Biosecurity (Fire Ants) Emergency Order

As the spread of fire ants into the north of the state becomes more apparent, the NSW Government has made amendments to the Biosecurity (Fire Ants) Emergency Order in an attempt to stem fire ant migration.

1,000 people attend BJJ tournament

Over 1,000 people flocked to Byron Bay on the weekend to either compete or spectate at one of Australia’s...

A True Pioneer in Deep House

Embark on a musical journey with Osunlade, a true pioneer in deep house and nu-jazz, as he graces the stage at The Northern Hotel in Byron Bay on March 9 for a three-hour extended set.

Frozen-2

Today Ivy asked me what Botox is. She’s eight. She’d found a humorous card on my bookshelf that depicts a 1950s mother and daughter with the caption ‘You’re never too young for Botox!’. She wanted to know (a) what is Botox and (b) should she be having it?

I am faced with a conundrum. Do I explain irony or Botox? To understand the ironic nature of the card’s declaration she needs to understand the larger political and social implications of mass consumerism and anti-ageing treatments. She’s only just got over her fascination with the Disney film Frozen. Hang on, was that film metaphorically preparing young girls for the faces of women in their future: Frozen?

The whole Botox story is hard to tell. I know she’s smart but the story of why women hate themselves is a bit bleak. How do you tell your little girl she’s perfect as she is and then tell her how we women butcher ourselves in the name of ‘beauty’? Do I also have to tell her about boob jobs and labioplasty? Nose jobs? Forehead reductions? Eye-lid lifts? Liposuction?

Self-loathing is a slippery slope to self-mutilation. No wonder so many young girls self-harm. Although when you pay a doctor to do it I don’t think they call it self-harm, I think it’s called self-improvement. All roads lead back to Botox. The gateway drug to plastic surgery. Explaining Botox to a child is complex because its very existence carries with it a whole lot of negative associations about ageing that I don’t really want to deliver to someone who’s just embarked on the ageing process. Sure, I’m happy to kill Santa and snuff out the tooth fairy, but I’m not ready to tell my little girl the truth about what we think about old people. That it makes clever women disappear. That we think wrinkly skin is repulsive.

So I tell her that Botox is a dance step. ‘Like the Nutbush. Except when you do the Botox it’s a lot stiller because nothing moves.’ She’s a clever kid and she knows when I’m bullshitting. She rolls her eyes and says, ‘Mum, tell me’. God, this is more confronting than the sex talk. ‘Botox is something mainly women use because they don’t like wrinkles.’ This seems like a more age-appropriate response than telling her it’s a paralysing nerve toxin used to render foreheads blank.

I hope she hasn’t picked up on the ‘mainly women’ part of my statement because I’m not quite ready for a Sunday morning discussion about patriarchy, the beauty myth and the consequent oppression of women through cosmetic means. I mean, what is the right age to introduce your daughter to feminist analysis? Ivy is naturally curious. ‘Are wrinkles bad?’ I say, ‘No’. So she says, ‘Then why do you need Botox?’ I say, ‘You don’t actually need it. People just get it because they don’t like the way their face looks.’

I’m not into Botox and I wish there were more of a conversation around it – but then I’m the first to admit I’m a hypocrite. Sure, I don’t do Botox or pump my face with ‘fillers’, but I do things to alter the way I look all the time. I wear makeup. I dye my hair. I get a spray tan. I wax. I’ve had fake nails. (But I couldn’t stand them because my long nails stopped me depressing the button on the loo and I had to flush by poking it down with a pencil.)

My friends who use Botox say it’s a choice. I guess it is. For them.

But what is the dominant narrative created by our choices? And what informs our choice in the first place? If my daughter’s choices are informed by a reality created by the choices of my generation, then has she really made a choice? In our Botoxed future is there a place for the wrinkled woman? Or will she just disappear in a whimper of skin?

When I saw Patti Smith at Bluesfest I found myself in tears. I couldn’t work out why; then it occurred to me how strange it was to see an older woman who has maintained her currency. A woman – without makeup, with grey hair, no fake tits, no Botox – with loads of relevance and currency, proudly and defiantly declaring old age.

I have drawn a line in the sand and when it comes to cosmetic intervention I have decided to accept the lines on my face. Or at least only cover them with makeup. Or a beard. Or perhaps a late-life conversion to Islam so I can hide those forehead creases and smile lines with a cheeky little burqa. Until then I guess You’re Never Too Young For Irony. But beware, it does crinkle your forehead.

Previous articleMeet you at Tullys
Next articleElixiba of life

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

4,000 failed

I attended the flood forum held at the Ballina RSL last Monday and was aghast to hear some of the facts presented. 4,000 people...

Knitting Nannas get behind Save Wallum campaign

With porcelain tea cups, lace-covered tables and plenty of knitting the Knitting Nannas Against Greed (KNAG) headed to the basecamp of the Save Wallum...

NPWS wants to remove beach nudity option

For 26 years, Tyagarah Beach has been an oasis for the region’s naturist community – a space where bodies of all shapes and sizes could roam free without threat of fines or reprimands.

‘Key workers’ removed from Ballina Council’s housing project as Mayor seeks full market rents

Essential workers were the losers at the recent Ballina Council meeting when councillors actively removed the category for ‘key workers’ from their development of rental housing on land it owns in Wollongbar.