BEAUTY AND THE FLEECED

As long as women keep fall­ing for these beauty myths, says Eilis O’Han­lon, they’ll keep on be­ing ex­ploited

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Life - - FIRST PERSON -

Aleaflet drops through the door from a lo­cal clinic of­fer­ing some­thing called mi­cropig­men­ta­tion. I’d have pre­sumed it was a kind of EU grant to en­cour­age farmers to breed tiny pigs, if it hadn’t been for the woman on the front, star­ing out se­duc­tively from un­der long eye­lashes and per­fectly sculpted eye­brows.

Turns out that mi­cropig­men­ta­tion is a treat­ment whereby your facial fea­tures can be per­ma­nently or semi-per­ma­nently en­hanced as a re­sult of the in­ser­tion of hy­poal­ler­genic min­eral pig­ments un­der the skin.

Which sounds re­ally hor­rific, when you think about it. Ba­si­cally, the mes­sage seems to be: your face isn’t good enough, girls, so just let your lo­cal Dr Franken­stein get to work on it. And the sooner, the bet­ter.

For a mo­ment, I won­der if I’ve been spe­cially se­lected. Maybe they’ve drawn up a short­list of women who they’ve judged to be in need of ur­gent cos­metic in­ter­ven­tion — but no, that can’t be right, be­cause the leaflet in­sists that this treat­ment is for both men and women.

Ah. That must be why there are only pic­tures of women on the leaflet. And why I’ve never met a man will­ing to splash out 200 quid on get­ting — and I quote — “soft, full lips with a con­trast­ing lip line”.

I don’t think men in Ire­land even know what a con­trast­ing lip line is, and I mean that as a com­pli­ment. Ir­ish men have many faults, but car­ing about whether their lips are prop­erly puck­ered isn’t one of them.

Once again I’m forced to ask what’s wrong with women that makes so many of them — OK, so many of us, if I must in­clude my­self in their ranks — fall for this sort of stuff, or lie awake at night wor­ry­ing about ‘panda eyes’. Be­cause that’s an­other prob­lem the mi­cropig­men­ta­tion­ers say they’ll solve.

Since when did women look­ing like pan­das sud­denly be­come an ur­gent is­sue? I’ve never seen a woman who looks like a panda. All the women I’ve ever met have, without ex­cep­tion, def­i­nitely looked hu­man. It’s out­ra­geous that women can be so eas­ily tricked into think­ing that there’s some­thing wrong with the way they look and that they should splash out on treat­ments to fix a prob­lem that isn’t there in the first place. This non­sense just in­creases their in­se­cu­ri­ties.

It’s very annoying. Yes, it’s ul­ti­mately that per­son’s own fault for fall­ing for it, but plenty of time and ef­fort goes into mak­ing them feel this way.

The leaflet even says that hav­ing these treat­ments will save women time. How on earth can it save time, when it just en­cour­ages women to spend more time ob­sess­ing about their ap­pear­ance?

Once you’ve got women hooked, then you have them for life. Be­fore you know it, they’ll be hav­ing fillers and Bo­tox and God knows what else, mak­ing their faces so stiff that they can’t even move in the mid­dle of a Force 10 gale.

Bo­tox has to be the strangest beauty treat­ment ever. Who de­cided that look­ing young meant hav­ing a fore­head so shiny that the light bounc­ing off it could dazzle on­com­ing cars? No one is fooled, ladies. Lit­er­ally no one. It’s eas­ier to spot a woman who’s been us­ing Bo­tox than it is to spot the ele­phant at a dogs’ home.

I don’t think I’m that both­ered about my ap­pear­ance. I’ll slap on a bit of make-up if I’m go­ing some­where spe­cial, and I do have some face creams and what­not in my cup­board that are an ut­ter mys­tery to men, but in­creas­ingly even that seems like too much ef­fort. It’s ex­pen­sive, too.

It could be worse, I sup­pose. A few years ago, the so-called geisha facial was all the rage. This is a treat­ment formed from the poop of nightin­gales. No, re­ally. Then there was Thai face slap­ping, which does ex­actly what it says on the tin. Ba­si­cally, you pay some­one, prefer­ably from Thai­land, to slap your wrin­kles away. I’m think­ing of set­ting up my own business, where, for a small fee, I slap any woman who’s stupid enough to sign up for these ridicu­lous treat­ments. It prob­a­bly wouldn’t bring them to their senses, but the sense of sat­is­fac­tion for me would more than make up for it.

‘Since when did women look­ing like pan­das sud­denly be­come an ur­gent is­sue?’

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