It’s inevitable to notice something different about the appearance of someone we know. We have a pretty good picture of how she looks like, especially if she’s an artista we see a lot on TV and in advertisements. So if we sense that something’s different about her face, it’s inevitable to wonder if something did in fact change. Is it her nose? It looks thinner and longer, right? Or is it her lips? They look fuller than they did before.
If we spot the difference, it’s okay to not be a fan of the change. We have our own preferences, after all. It’s equally okay to be shocked and to not find the artista pretty anymore, especially if the surgery was botched, or if we think she didn’t need to have anything altered on her face to begin with.
What’s not cool, though, is making a big deal out of it, looking down on celebs who’ve gone under the knife, and losing respect for them.
Most of us know someone who’s dug through the archives for an artista’s old picture to be placed beside a current one, with a caption like, “She wasn’t contented with her looks. Look what happened: Pumangit tuloy siya.” Or worse: “Parang baboy yung lips niya, sa totoo lang.” Sure: Saying that Artista X did have plastic surgery and that for you she doesn’t look good anymore is your way of expressing yourself. What’s wrong with that?
Nothing, except for saying those belittling words out loud, with the intent of bringing an innocent person down. It’s a pretty low move, to be honest. Would we say those things out loud and in that way to our friends, our colleagues, our moms, our titas? Those of us who are well-mannered and have any sense wouldn’t.
Artistas are easy targets of our insensitivity and harshness, because they feel so distant from us. They’re molded by the showbiz industry to be the kind of people we aspire to be like: Fashionable, beautiful, sexy, picture perfect—like they never experienced a bad day. This can be pretty bad for the celebs and for us. Bad for us mainly because we feel compelled to uphold something so unrealistic, in spite of not having that much time and money to get our skin done by Derma X or go to Trainer Y three or four times a week (or at all).
And bad for the celebs because it’s easy for the general public to forget that they’re people too. We know how harsh netizens can be when a celeb doesn’t fit into the “perfect” mold and is instead a lot like us—“Bakit at pa’no pa siya naging artista?” some people wonder. Others shame the celeb on her social media accounts.
As we think it’s their job to look perfect, we forget or don’t realize that as people, artistas have their own insecurities, issues, imperfections, feelings, aspirations, and ideals.
So why would we take it against an artista for changing something that’s been bothering her? Or to improve her features in the way she finds desirable? If the surgery was done well into her adulthood, we can assume she’s given it much thought and has probably saved enough money for the procedure. I don’t know about you, but isn’t it better to do something about what you don’t like rather than endlessly whining about it?
It’s true that cosmetic surgery isn’t a ticket to ditching one’s insecurities. There are people who go through it and don’t come out happy or satisfied. One can always feel like she’s not pretty enough—that there’s always something to pick apart in her face or body. She can be disappointed to find out that the pressure from the showbiz industry and dealing with mean people don’t end even when she looks better. And a botched procedure? It just ruins a terribly insecure person who has a career heavily reliant on her looks. Nonetheless, plastic surgery has helped some people be more confident. The possibility of it yielding bad results doesn’t go away. So undergoing cosmetic surgery is a risk that they are willing to take in hopes of feeling more at home with their bodies, or to conform to industry standards.
Some celebs most likely feel the pressure from the showbiz industry and from us to look hotter, sexier, or more mestiza, because their fame and their career depend on their appearance. Plastic surgery then is a way for them to become or stay popular and get high-paying bookings to support themselves and their families.
Even Hollywood stars feel the pressure to look a certain way (read: to look ageless) to not only stay popular but to also get roles in movies and keep being put in a good light by the press. Whether society in fact has troubles accepting an old woman on-screen, celebrities believing that they need to look ageless to stay popular makes it so, and makes them consider going under the knife.
It’s easy to say that celebs should just be content with their looks, forget about what society thinks, or do something that’ll change people’s perspectives on the current beauty standards.
For sure, accepting one’s appearance is better than going to a surgeon—the former won’t cost you a single cent, and will make you feel strong and untouchable no matter what. But that can be said in ignorance of the pressures especially of an industry where we are mere outsiders and do nothing else but consume what it puts out, and criticize the celebs who don’t meet our ideals. We don’t know what the people inside really go through—how they think and feel about having to look perfect as part of their jobs; and about the criticism they get when they do try to look good for themselves or for us. (Some of us are mad if they do; others, mad if they don’t.)
It’s okay to be iffy about plastic surgery. It’s definitely not for everybody. It’s disheartening though that there are people who bash an artista, just because it’s hard for them to respect her for her "now-funny" or glaringly unnatural face. As if the surgery were done on a whim when it wasn’t. As if looking different makes her a bad actress or a bad person—it doesn’t.