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Yesterday, a good portion of the world went wild when pictures of what seems to be Renée Zellweger’s new and plastic surgery altered face appeared on our computers, notepads, and cell phone screens. She seriously looks like a different person. Like a car wreck on a highway, it was hard not to stare and wonder what happened. Some people did exactly that. Loudly. They criticized and taunted Zellweger, questioning why she, now 45 years old and basically an old lady in Hollywood, would do such a thing..

We like to pretend that this is a “white woman’s issue.” How many of us have heard or said that, “Black don’t crack.” Although I remember this funny episode of the television show Half & Half (totally underrated show by the way) where Telma Hopkins’s character says, “Black might not crack, but it definitely does sag.” Right. The point is that we all get older. Black women included. And it shows. In various places. That’s just life.

I have been watching Hollywood Divas on TVOne and the first episode showed Countess Vaughn in the plastic surgeon’s office wanting to get liposuction. She was joined by fellow Moesha cast mate, Shar Jackson, who admitted to having a tummy tuck since she had, “Had all those kids.” As the other actresses appeared, Paula Jai Parker admitted that she too had gotten liposuction. And honestly, Golden Brooks and Elise Neal’s faces seemed a little too tight. And did you see Vivica A. Fox on Oprah’s Where Are They Now? Everything is snatched.

And even if Black women aren’t getting their faces tightened, they might be getting other parts adjusted. I don’t believe all those big butts on these Love and Hip Hop and other reality show stars are all real. Some chicks are getting altered, injected, or whatever – so they can adhere to the Black man’s standard of beauty where as my granny would say, “It’s all about the booty.”

Being youthful, looking youthful, seeming youthful and like nothing ever sags or wrinkles is the curse for the woman. Not just in Hollywood, but in American society at large. Americans had more than 11 million cosmetic procedures in 2013, according to stats from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery — 12 percent more than in 2012, and six times more than in 1997.

This need to cosmetically alter is a very real thing.

What happens in Hollywood – woman’s faces and bodies put under a harsh microscope – is a mere reflection of what the everyday woman must endure. How many women fear turning 40 or 30 even because they think they will become undesirable? And how many men basically legitimize this fear? Sex and sexuality are so much more prevalent nowadays since so many woman are “Instagram models” displaying all the goodies, that there are tons of perky breasts and tight butts available for men to gawk and compare you to. This is how you should look, society screams. Show us cleavage! Wear a shorter skirt that displays legs. Don’t get old! Ever. It’s one thing to eat right, work out, and moisturize so you can, ‘look good at any age,’ but it’s another thing entirely to try to freeze your face and body at the age of 25. Not gonna happen. Because there’s a real 25-year-old out there who you know looks 25.

The gift that is growing older is scoffed at and abandoned because the obsession with youth and to look young blinds us to the very real fact that we are aging. Our bodies shift and change. Wrinkles form. Sagging occurs. Can this be changed? Sure, a doctor can push this up or tuck that in, but it will never be natural. And that’s no judgment, just fact.

What are your thoughts on plastic surgery and alterations?

Diana Veiga is a Spelman woman, a DC resident, and a freelance writer. Of course, she’s also on Twitter.

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