More and more, I’ve been receiving DM’s on Instagram saying, “Do you get botox? Should I be getting it? Help!”
And to be honest, it has taken me awhile to really wrap my mind around all my thoughts here.
First of all, let’s just get it out there–Botox is freaking magical. I mean, let’s all celebrate the fact that something like this exists, that it’s much more within reach for many women affordability-wise than it used to be. It’s come a LONG way.
I’ll say it once and I’ll say it until I’m blue in the face: I support any woman’s decision to do whatever she wants to do in order to feel beautiful and confident and this is how it should always be!
And I say this as someone who very likely will get Botox at some point – I am honestly very torn with how I feel on the subject, being someone who just turned 30.
It seems like the “appropriate age” to start getting injections is getting younger and younger. I received a message from a girl who was 25 a few weeks ago–and it really broke my heart. I thought to myself, “this can’t be good.”
When I told her I’ve never had Botox, she actually expressed relief. Thinking that if I was 30 and hadn’t gotten it yet, then she hadn’t missed the boat.
Somehow this gave her permission to stop shaming herself.
What is this world coming to? Why would a beautiful TWENTY FIVE year old woman think she needs Botox? And if we’re really digging into this–why would a 35, 55, or 65 year old women thinks she needs Botox to be beautiful either? Maybe it’s the “need” vs. the “want” that isn’t sitting well with me? Is that it?
As I mentioned before, we are very lucky to be “coming of age” haha–so to speak– at a time where things like Botox are freely discussed and the price is much more accessible. It’s a topic wrapped up in casual banter between girlfriends, happily exchanging their recommendations on which doctors are the best, how much they paid, and the like.
I also think the idea of cosmetic procedures in general have moved from being “hush hush” to on par with swapping weeknight recipes. This is definitely something to be celebrated! Again, whatever any woman wants to do to feel like the best version of herself. I’m ALL for it.
But this new “openly discussed” freedom also brings up an elephant in the room here that we, as millennial women, are not addressing.
Is this everyday accessibility of Botox feeding the beast?
This is something I have discussed with my friends at length–and I thought my best friend Michal‘s observations were particularly interesting:
“We grew up ’90s,” she said. “When plastic surgery was portrayed by the media as “over-the-top.” Now I am surrounded by women who just got out of getting new lip injections, preventative botox, and I believe the stigma has faded almost entirely in mid-to-upper class women in their 20s and 30s.”
So sure–we’re freely talking about it–but is this making us even more self-critical than we were before? Have we created a phenomenon where women think that Botox is a box that they *should* check upon turning 30?
I will admit, there was part of me that panicked right before my wedding when I opted not to do the “baby Botox” injections (AKA, just a little bit of Botox) like many of my friends had. Did I make a mistake? Theirs looked SO GOOD. Am I going to look in the mirror in my wedding dress and say, “UGH look at my forehead wrinkles!”? (The answer: No, I did not–I had bigger fish to fry that day ?)
And despite how vain and ridiculous this might sound, the second I started noticing those fine lines in my forehead, part of me started mourning the fact that my years of being “my most beautiful” are behind me.
I have now crossed over to the part of my life where people start saying, “you look great for your age.”
Is it silly to think that way? One one hand, of course. I think my mom is the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met–and I’ve always felt that way. I don’t look at her now and think she’s any less beautiful than when I was a little girl. She’s just a different kind of beautiful. Why would I look at myself any differently?
But I do. We all do.
Maybe it’s because we never thought aging would happen to us. Remember when we’d lay out in the sun as teenagers, our mothers warning us of the terrible aging effects of the sun? We’d laugh and say, “oh, by the time we get old, they’ll have invented some magic formula to get rid of wrinkles!”
Well–we were right, sort of.
And if I’m being honest (which, as you know, I always am) it’s this that I’m personally most afraid of:
Once I get it–and once the effects wear off–will I always, from that point on, think I’m less beautiful without it?
Part of me wants to have the confidence to look at my reflection in the mirror and embrace it, to roll with the punches and continue to re-define my perception of beauty as I age.
Aging is a gift that so many are not lucky enough to receive. Why would I hide it?
I guess what I REALLY grapple with is this–as someone with a platform, a voice, and an audience of hundreds of thousands of women (especially those younger than me) watching me go through this process. If I got Botox, am I setting a good example or a bad one?
By doing so, am I reinforcing the bad things we already tell ourselves as we start noticing those first fine lines? That we’re past our prime–and beauty=masking the lines in your face? I would be devastated if I inadvertently evoked that feeling in someone.
(I’m not asking this for validation. I’m not looking for “girl, you do you” responses. I am asking this question acknowledging that I am someone who has a platform with the attention of many young women.)
An equally strong case can also be made for the opposite side. If you aren’t feeling your best–why WOULDN’T you get it to make yourself feel more confident and beautiful? After all–isn’t it the same as dying your grey hair? Of getting eyelash extensions? Facials?
How is it different? Why the bias? Ridiculous–right?
I definitely don’t think there is a “right” answer here. But maybe the solution is to just be cognizant of the real motives behind getting Botox in the first place? In my personal opinion, there should never be a “for” or “against” Botox discussion. I think it’s a decision that every woman can make for herself–and either decision should be supported with equal enthusiasm. But it’s definitely something that’s been weighing on me, and I have a feeling it’s one you’ve been thinking of as well.
Before we jump into a discussion in the comments (and I really want to know your thoughts) I wanted to leave you with a really great parting reminder from my friend Michal–something I think we all need to remember!
“I can’t help but hate the fine lines in my forehead, and I recognize the fact that all my friends getting botox, at times, makes me feel “ugly” or “older” because I don’t personally get it.
But I have to remind myself that I make the choice to compare myself. I can choose to embrace these things, or I can fall into the trap where I compare myself to other women.”
Of course, there is no “right” or “wrong” way to approach this topic, and I would love to know–what are your thoughts on how we, as millennial women, should be approaching the discussion around beauty and aging? I’d also love to hear thoughts from my Gen X and Baby Boomer women! Please share in the comments below!