The fact that I feel the need to title a story “In Defense of Renée Zellweger’s Face” is ridiculous. But alas, the amount of ridicule Renée has gotten over her supposed “new” face — whether overtly malicious or masked as concern — is also ridiculous. So in defense I come.
This a simple tri-point argument:
A) Who cares? Unfortunately, the answer to that is apparently “everyone.” When ET Online ran the photos of Renée, it was our top story. So maybe the better question is, why do you care?
Renée herself responded, saying, "I'm glad folks think I look different!…People don't know me [as] healthy for a while. Perhaps I look different. Who doesn't as they get older?! Ha. But I am different. I'm happy."
So maybe it IS just happiness. But when it really boils down to it, IF Renée got plastic surgery — as some, including actual plastic surgeons, have speculated — that is her body and her choice. And IF she got plastic surgery, she probably had a reason why. That’s her business. We can speculate what her logic was (which I will do if you keep reading), but nonetheless, it’s not our face. Not our face, not our problem.
Especially when said person has verbalized how much this ridicule has hurt her in the past: "It's not very pleasant to read reports which say you've gone too far or this or that,” Renée once said.
B) What do you expect? IF Renée did get some sort of plastic surgery, can you blame her?! It’s not even a secret anymore: Hollywood treats women horribly. Because America treats women horribly.
Yes, famous actresses have money and clothes and access to fun parties, etcetera etcetera. They also have to live this nightmare every day: Having to be skinny enough, pretty enough, young enough. The stuff every woman has to deal with, but on a global scale, with millions of people picking her apart and pointing out exactly what they hate about her.
We, as a community, praise women for their youth and beauty, but abhor plastic surgery. We put youth on a pedestal, but there is still — and always will be? — a stigma against a nip or a tuck. We want women to be 60 and look 30. How do you think that happens?! There is no magical elixir. There is no time machine. There are only surgeons in Beverly Hills.
C) What would you prefer? At 45, Renée is surely already feeling that pressure. Which is insane. Forty-five! But that pressure to be young, to be pretty, that pressure that all women feel can cost you your jobs in Hollywood. Not many other professions can say that (because it is illegal in other professions — it’s called ageism).
We say we want natural women. We honor "natural" women. But women over a certain age don’t get the roles the newest “It” girls get. The public pays to see movies about attractive, often youthful women. So, Hollywood casts attractive, often youthful women as their leads.
We, as the consumer, can change this. Which would make Hollywood, the industry, change. Eventually. So if you have a problem with Renée’s quote unquote new face, you have a problem with how we are behaving as a society. And if you have a problem with what Renée does to herself, well, you should keep that to yourself.
Because, in the end, I don’t think she’s truly unrecognizable. If you look at the photos, you can still recognize that it’s Renée Zellweger. If you couldn’t, we wouldn’t be here.
So give Renée Zellwegger a break. And give women a break. And, after all of that, do we even need to point out how tragically ironic it is that this was at the Elle’s 21st Annual WOMEN in Hollywood Awards?