About Renee Zellweger’s New Face, Our Shock, and Folks Telling Us to STFU
A woman got on the red carpet the other day, looking vaguely familiar. Or like the cousin of Robin Wright and Sarah Jessica Parker. Wait. WAYMENT. That’s Renee Zellweger! Shut my mouth wide open! WUT? What happened to her face? I mean, that’s kinda rhetorical because we know it’s plastic surgery but what HAPPENED? How much surgery did she get? Why goes she look so unlike herself? When did this happen? I haz so many questions and I am not the only one who does.
The whole interwebs has been marveling at Renee’s new look for the past day, because she looks unrecognizable. Folks have asked for extra receipts to really prove it’s her. What happened to the squinty-eyed, round-faced adorabo actress we all knew? Now she’s all copy and paste face white woman who was created from a mating session betwixt Robin Wright, Sarah Jessica Parker and possibly a dash of Helen Hunt.
Some folks (read: mostly white women) are really kind of outraged at our shock from Renee’s new face. We are being told to STFU and “stop attacking” her and to leave her alone. I am here to tell those people to have a gahtdamb seat. Because: reasons. Let’s talk about them.
In the discussions I’ve seen on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere, I haven’t seen many people say that Renee Zellweger looks BAD. Everyone says she looks different. People are saying that she’s lost what really made her stand out, and she’s Jennifer Greyed herself. Remember Jennifer? The lady from Dirty Dancing who got her nose done and it made her look so different that she lost jobs because folks didn’t recognize her in auditions.
I have seen very few comments from people calling her ugly or terrible or Quasimodo. The overall sentiment has been of the “HARPO, WHO DIS WOMAN?” variety. Who knew that wondering why she would do something so drastic was an “attack?” In all the convos I’ve had with grounded, non-evil people, no one has said anything hateful about her.
People are talmbout WHY DO YOU CARE ABOUT HER FACE? IT’S HER FACE. The same reason we cared why Rihanna wore beaded curtains to that event. Or why Marilyn Manson looked like he haunts our hopes and dreams. We need fodder and levity.
And she’s a celebrity who showed up to a red carpet where 50 cameras were to capture what she looked like. I am not losing sleep because Renee Zellweger has a new face. I slept wonderfully last night. What cuts her face doesn’t make mine hurt. What she eats doesn’t make me burp. But I will certainly talk about it.
We know society is hyper-critical of women’s bodies but does that mean we cannot point out when someone does something absurd? And yes, I find it strange when someone completely and permanently changes their reflection in the mirror for purely cosmetic reasons.
Hollywood does a THING on body image and I am not anti-plastic surgery, because hey sure go get a little botox here. And a tummy tuckapalooza. Maybe even a small nose job. Breast implants 1 and 2 cups up? FINE. What I am against is extreme surgery that makes you look like you might be hiding from the mafia since you are so far from where you started. People shaving their chins, and getting cheek implants. It’s a lot!
Does it make me a bad feminist to say “hey, I liked your old face. I wish you kept it?” If it does, then oh well. If feminism means we cannot challenge the choices other women make, then I pretty much suck at it (because I judge everyone equally. You’re welcome, world!). My form of feminism is the belief that woman can live on their own terms but I don’t think it means we’re above critique. Just as I don’t think Renee getting a new face makes her any less of a feminist, neither do I think people questioning her makes THEM traitors to the Love Pocket Land.
And while we’re at it, I’ve never seen this many people or even a fraction of people defend Lil Kim when we drag her all up and down and diagonal for cutting up her face.
As many times as I’ve gone in on Miss Jones and called her an Asian Mermaid, there is nary a peep from someone telling me to respect her right to look like whatever she wants. Let me guess… is Lil Kim the one who crossed the line? Oh ok.
Same thing with Nicki Minaj. How many “Leave Nicki Minaj alone and respect her body’s agency” thinkpieces can you find? And how many are written by white women? I’ll be here waiting (like Sonic the Hedgehog) for the answer.
Folks don’t even come to Kim Kardashian’s defense ever, and it’s funny because she tried to cut all the Armenian out her face but white people still don’t see her as one of them. She gets none of the privilege or protection. It’s almost like the more Black men she is paired with, the less love she gets. They totally “you can’t sit with us” her but that’s another topic for another day.
When the nudes of Jennifer Lawrence leaked, folks jumped to her rescue (rightfully), but I did wonder if Angela Bassett’s leaked, if she’d get the same enthusiastic defense. Because sometimes, white women are treated like Faberge eggs while the rest of us are like iPad 2s with the cases on them. *throws across the room* Oh it’ll be alright.
In a world that does a piss poor job of protecting women and keeping us safe, when it does choose to fight for women, it’s usually for white women only. The rest of us can go fend for ourselves because STRONG BLACK WOMAN and SPICY LATINA WOMAN are tropes used to dehumanize us, excusing the bad treatment we receive. Because we can handle it, right?
But NOOOO don’t come for the prototype of the Damsel in Distress. Don’t you dare criticize a white woman or the word “bullying” might get thrown at you real quick and everyone will run to play Captain-Save-A-She. Because at the intersection of racism and sexism is white woman privilege. And while some feel like they’re dismantling one system, they’re upholding another.
It is what compels many people to come to the rescue of someone that people are just pointing out looks different while someone else has been the butt of jokes for a decade and no one bats an eye in her honor. It’s the same privilege that allows a woman to write an essay for The Guardian, where she admits to stalking and harassing a blogger who she said trolled her, without fearing consequences (because she’s really well-connected). It’s the same thing that allows people to STFU when a woman of color is being harassed because “this is not my lane.”
So. Yes, I see the high level hypocrisy here and I scrunch my nose at it.
Apparently, we are all servants of the patriarchy by talking about how odd it is that Renee Zellweger pulled a FACE/OFF and now looks like Claire Underwood’s cousin twice removed. But these are the same people who write pieces about whether Beyonce’s a feminist just because she chooses to wear onesies. I don’t have time.
But we shouldn’t say nothing about Renee. We should ignore the giant pink elephant that is throwing glitter in the middle of the room. OK, girl. Thankfully, I’m an equal opportunity roaster. So it makes you feel better, I also think Kenny Rogers looks like the Ghost of You Should Have Left Your Face Alone Present.
And there’s my post on CarrotTop looking like a Thundercat. TAKE THAT, SYSTEM.
And we are so glad you sit on the moral high ground so the rest of us can ki-ki down here and roast bad fashions and bad or unnecessary surgery. But if you’re up in arms about this, I hope you gather the same zeal for the next time everyone picks on Kim Kardashian or Nicki Minaj or even Lil Kim for their cosmetic decisions. Otherwise, you can drink some Simply STFU Orange Juice.