The Daily Mail isn't my first source for a fight-the-patriarchy fix, but today's couple of plastic surgery pieces made a darkly ironic, if unintended, feminist package. One details Demi Moore's new mission to speak out against ageism in Hollywood after reportedly spending more than $200K on plastic surgery. Now that the full-body makeover, including a reported $5,000 knee lift, failed to produce a career revival, Moore told Red Magazine: "If we are told we are not valuable once we hit 30, it is a problem. We all have more to give. We can't just wait for something to happen. We have to say, 'I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more'."
The other story, "What They Don't DARE Tell You About Plastic Surgery," offers a grisly confessional by Kate Mulvey, a 40-year-old everywoman who unsuspectingly went in for a "painless nip and tuck" to stay in the "mating game." She ended up spending three weeks in excruciating pain and emotional upheaval and allowed a photographer to capture the blotted and bruised postoperative ugliness. "I'm angry that the cosmetic industry doesn't tell women the truth," she writes. "It's selling surgery as a consumer product. It is not. It is major surgery, and I don't think women realise just how long it takes to heal." During her recovery, she didn't work for a month and spent much of that time drugged and in bed, being waited on by friends in shifts like a cancer patient.
Ironically, however, as the pain lifted and the compliments began to flow in, Mulvey forgets her outrage and begins to recommend the procedure right and left. Unlike Moore's cosmetic surgery, Mulvey's delivers the intended consequences. One hates to imagine what Moore or any other plastic surgery junkies in Hollywood have endured to turn back time. But it's a sad testament that Moore only gets "mad as hell" about discrimination against aging women, after what can only be described as medically approved, full-body torture. It's equally sad that flattery about a firmer jaw line can erase the realization that you've paid good money to be carved up like a Christmas goose. Perhaps the only vaguely silver lining here is that ageism against women is an equal opportunity prejudice: Whether you're a multimillionaire celebrity shagging the "world's hottest guy" or a single middle-aged nobody hoping for a date, the bleeding bottom line remains the same.