Hey girls: remember Jennifer Grey? She played Baby Houseman opposite Patrick Swayze in the top, top film Dirty Dancing. It was a masterful piece of casting and whilst she didn’t quite steal the show from Swayze, she got pretty close. But everything went wrong when she had the “nose job from hell”. Grey says that her career was ruined and no one recognises her anymore. So why did she have it done in the first place?
I look in the mirror and I don’t always like what I see. I am not narcissistic enough to take dozens of selfies, so the pictures of me that appear, say, on social networks are carefully regulated by me. Sometimes I look like someone with Bell’s palsy, other times I think I look old and shrivelled. I have a big scar on my face which means my face is not symmetrical. I don’t like looking at me. To be fair, I never did. One thing I would not do is spend a large wedge trying to change the way I look. I am what I am.
Plenty of people do spend a large wedge trying to change the way they look. Almost every middle aged actor and most old school rock stars have hair transplants and, in some cases, facelifts too. (Hello, Axl.) In the hair department, I have to date been very lucky but the rest of me is showing the signs of age. But I am a man and it doesn’t matter.
For women growing old, it does matter. The Daily Mail in particular tells you so, in the newspaper and, especially, on line. Women are not allowed to grow old, to put on weight and to let their hair go grey/white. Why not? Because the Daily Mail is run by men. It is no accident that hair dye is one of the biggest selling products of our age. I know that men are encouraged to dye their hair too, as well as have it transplanted, but in reality it’s mainly women who are targeted by the advertisers and the big stores.
Jennifer Grey, we are told by the Sun, is “now 57, and still looking surprisingly fresh-faced”. But she doesn’t quite look like Baby Houseman any more. Well, of course she doesn’t. She’s 57, not 27 as she was when Dirty Dancing was filmed. It’s probably me being paranoid, but what do you think the Sun means when it says that Grey still looks “surprisingly fresh-faced”? They are dropping a very large hint that not only has Grey had a “nose job”, but that other work may well have taken place.
In the eyes of this old codger, Grey looked fine as she was. The shape of her nose and the colour of her hair bothers me not one jot. We are slowly, very slowly, becoming a more equal society but still women are pressured to look a certain way and men are not.
Are we still in the world where every single woman should look a certain way, which is brown-haired, smooth-skinned, slim and wrinkle free? I’m old fashioned, but I quite like the lines of age on a woman, much more than the editors of the Sun and the Mail do. By all means, boys and girls, try to look as good as you can, but why not just be what you are, rather than what some aspects of society expect you to be?