“I WANNA BE A BABE”
“I wanna be a babe.”
That’s the wonderful Pamela Stephenson’s jokey explanation for her long-term addiction to cosmetic surgery, which, according to her new memoir The Varnished Untruth, has led to a gruesome litany of surgical adjustments throughout her life.
Boob jobs (a total of three, had her first one aged 21), tummy tucks, eyebags removal, double chin removal, saggy neck tightening – there’s not much about the 60- something comedian and psychologist that hasn’t been altered.
This week she was asked by a young woman on the ABC’s Q&A about why she would want to “defy the natural processes of the human body.”
She gave her flip “because I wanna be a babe” answer and met with great applause and laughter. She lapped it up.
But there was a second part to the question, and the answer was fascinating, paradoxical, and more than a little poignant.
“Instead of encouraging people who change who they are, shouldn’t we be encouraging people to be happy with themselves and their appearance?” the young woman asked.
“Absolutely,” replied Stephenson. “In the very first chapter of my book I’ve written about an epiphany I had when after one of those surgical procedures to which you are referring I went to Brazil and discovered how culturally defined some of our notions about female appearance are.
“I went there and found myself on a beach surrounded by babes of all shapes, sizes, and ages wearing the tiniest bikinis you’ve ever seen in your life, fio dental they are called, dental floss, and you can use your imagination about where that dental floss goes.
Pamela “I wanna be a babe” Stephenson. Photo by Craig Borrow via The Herald Sun.
“I began to realise, for the first time perhaps in my life, that I have suffered from body image problems my entire life.
“These women taught me a huge lesson, that what I should have done with the money I spent on surgery, is move to Brazil, buy myself a flat and whole wardrobe of fio dental and live happily ever after.”
It makes you wonder how Stephenson, as a psychologist, would counsel someone who comes to her with body image issues.
Questioning women about their cosmetic surgery choices is perilously dangerous ground to tread – freedom of choice and a woman’s control over her own body has become sanctified, as it should be.
It’s wrong to judge the individual. But is it wrong to judge the context?
|Page 1 of 2||next >>|