Enough About the Botox!

Every time Shobhaa De hurts anyone’s sentiments (which is pretty often), haters crawl out to target her age and surgical ‘interventions’ as if the fact that she’s had work done reduces her right to an opinion. One early instance that stands out in my mind is when a vibrant and bubbly Sonam Kapoor made fun of Shobhaa De’s ‘plastic-filled’ face, over a cup of coffee with Karan. Sonam justified her stand by declaring that her father has never gone under the knife and how good does he look?
How about hair weaving or transplant? Or that doesn’t count? Or perhaps he’s just never gone in for any procedure and hair just thins for Anil Kapoor at a different rate. God knows he’s always been blessed in that department. When the rest of us mortals start losing hair and pray to God to give us thicker locks, our prayers are purportedly answered when it starts sprouting on our chins. Science has thankfully come up with a solution and has installed Cntrl X and Cntrl Y keys in our hirsute programming. Everyone’s happy. Except maybe the guys who happily go bald.
Is it alright for bald men to criticize someone who’s gone in for weaving, just like those who have never had any plastic surgery feel entitled to criticize those who have gone in for it?
No. It’s not.
We need to stop giving ourselves medals for wearing the “embrace your age and be natural” tag. One time a seriously depressed and tired looking acquaintance said to me, “Oh I never wear make-up,” and preened as she waited for me to gush over her beauteous non-made-up looks. I stared at her in wonder. Does she even own a mirror?
There are some people who don’t wear make-up and still look fabulous, and those that look fabulous even without make-up but still choose to wear it for various reasons. Sometimes it’s just about making a statement. If we want to look bolder, stronger, more grungy, playful or glamourous, we turn to make-up as it helps us achieve these looks. The fact that is often helps us look better doesn’t hurt. So if we start feeling superior because we’re walking around without any make-up on, we really should get off our high horses and not talk about being au natural unless we’re sprouting a unibrow and handlebar moustache.
No one should tell us what an acceptable level of modification is. Our faces, our bodies. We get to decide how far we’re willing to go in this relentless pursuit of beauty. Some blowdry their hair regularly, some go in for chemical treatments. There are those who flaunt grey locks with pride, those who colour their hair just to hide the greys and those who regularly highlight their hair in varying shades of blonde and red. Can’t wait to get longer locks? Clip ‘em in. Don’t like your eye colour? Change it! It’s all good.
So where do we draw the line?
When I asked this question to my husband, he said he wouldn’t like it if I anything injectable done – being traumatised by a certain Bollywood actress’s lips – or went under the knife. Coloured contacts, highlights, lowlights… all else is fine. Of course, I don’t have to listen to him but if I do draw the line at fillers, that doesn’t give me the right to poke fun of those who don’t. A little less judgement, a little more kindness. Please!
Shobaa De recently posted a callous and shallow tweet about our country’s sportspersons. We are entitled to object or bristle, but constant references to her age and her “plastic-face” – things that have nothing to do with her tweet – is a little bit ridiculous. When a singer thinks it’s fair game to call her a “besharam budhiya” – well, that’s just disgusting. It’s not even true, because a “budhiya” is the last thing she looks like. In fact, if one wants to go in for fillers or face-lifts or whatever it is one does at a certain age, they should follow Ms De’s example. We’ve all seen horrific photographs of plastic surgeries gone drastically wrong. Shobha has done nothing very drastic. She looked good when she was young, and has managed to hold on to those looks with a little (or a lot!) help from science. She’s not blown her boobs out of proportion, she’s not fattened her lips to get a pout a la Angelina Jolie. She’s filled in the gaps, nothing more. If she puts her foot in her artfully-enhanced mouth, which she often does, feel free to disagree with her. But really, making fun of her because she’s older, pays attention to her looks, and doesn’t look like a “budhiya” should? Give it a rest.