Renee’s New Face And What Our Reaction Says About Women

English: Renee Zellweger in Miss Potter Premie...
English: Renee Zellweger in Miss Potter Premiere 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I too am guilty of judging Renee Zellweger when I first saw those shots of her ‘new’ face splashed across my Facebook homepage. Shocked at first, I admit to then experiencing a secret, guilty pleasure that the sweet and natural face of Bridget Jones has aged like the rest of us.

It’s unfortunate for celebrities that when they make the choice to disappear from the public eye for a while, they are expected to look exactly the same way when they return. Which is why many of them resort to plastic surgery – to keep the Peter Pan dream alive.

For females celebrities, that expectation is even greater. And therein lies the problem.

My reaction to Renee’s face was not to question WHY she chose to have plastic surgery – if the press are to be believed, she’s been doing that for a while now (and I personally believe that every woman has a choice about what they do to their own body) – but I did question why she needs to cover up the life story on her face?

The argument for plastic surgery from such celebrities in the movie industry, is that women are left out in the cold, professionally, once they begin to age; whereas men become more bankable, more distinguished and sexy.


But the reaction to Renee’s facial metamorphosis hasn’t helped the cause of those women who continue to fight against the discrimination that women are judged more by their looks than men. What it has proved, though, is that although we resent a society that judges women on their looks, many of us are guilty of doing the same thing.

Renee’s New Face And What Our Reaction Says About Women
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While many middle-aged women condemn society for treating them as ‘invisible’, they are often the first to point the finger at other woman for how they look and live their lives.

Plastic surgery is a choice, just as abortion is a choice and just as Amal Amaluddin made a choice by changing her surname to Clooney. ‘Choice’ is what we women have always fought for.

Which is why we don’t have the right to challenge other women about the choices they make.

Surprisingly, Renee has responded to the press in justification of her new look. She hasn’t admitted to any ‘work’, but she has conceded that she looks different, with the explanation that her new face is the result of a new and happier lifestyle, away from the limelight.

There’s no doubt that past experience and your personal life story begin to etch your face once you hit your forties. Those tell-tale lines, whether they emanate from alcohol, sleepless nights, illness or stress, carve visual memories as the rest of the body adapts to the next phase of life.

Like stretch marks, some women choose to wear those lines with pride, others will try to hide them.

It’s funny how you don’t really notice yourself ageing as you get older, though. When I look in the mirror these days, I’m not horrified by my reflection. I see the same face I’ve had all my life, and it’s only when I see photos of myself that I think WTF.

But am I bothered enough to conceal the story my face tells and pretend to be something I’m not? I have nothing against plastic surgery, but for me, at this stage of my life, it’s strangely liberating not to be judged by my looks, to be invisible or visible if I choose to be.

To have a choice.

As long as I never become invisible to the people that I care about.

7 thoughts on “Renee’s New Face And What Our Reaction Says About Women

  1. I think everyone has the right to do whatever they like to their body, be it plastic surgery, botox, piercings or tattoos. But I do think that, like most people, I was just shocked at the change in Renee. At first I thought the picture had been mislabelled, but as I looked I could see a glimmering of the ‘old’ Renee. I do think it’s rather naive of her to think that we would believe that her face has changed that much simply as a result of aging only 6 years. But, her face, her choices.


  2. I have been secretly holding out for another Bridget Jones movie… the next book of life if you will… I imagined the character to have all sorts of complicated and wonky approaches to navigating marriage, babies and career as we watch her hold her head high and carry on… but my dreams have been dashed, Renee no longer looks like any version on Bridget now. * sniffle*

    But as you said, it is not for us to judge the choices she makes, but I do mourn the loss a little.


  3. I must be right out of the loop. I never read the books and the previews of the Bridget Jones’ films made me barf. But I did love her cheeky smile and her pretty cheeks, which, I admit, looked like they were storing nuts for the winter, but very pretty anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t think its a question of choice per se, of course Zellweger has a choice and the financial resources to make whatever youth enhancing changes she wish to her face and her body. The real issue is the context within she made her “choice” and the repercussions to her career if she chooses to age naturally. having said that, the entertainment industry and the public insist that women remain perpetually youthful, at the same time, those who take the surgical and nonsurgical steps to meet those demands are ridiculed as desperately holding on to a youth long gone (I think that’s 35 in Hollywood!!). In other words, you can’t win for losing. Even young women are air-brushed to “perfection.” What is required here is not a army of dutiful women who dress or style themselves in a so-called feminist uniform that hides their individualism to protest the beauty industry, but rather women of all generations of women celebrating the beauty of different stages in our lives by adopting a style that reflects their creativity.


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