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Thread: Actress Justine Bateman's book "Face: One Square Foot of Skin"

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    Default Actress Justine Bateman's book "Face: One Square Foot of Skin"

    Source: Vanity Fair

    Justine Bateman Doesn’t Want You to Call Her New Book Brave

    The actor and author of Face: One Square Foot of Skin wants to push back against the ubiquity of plastic surgery—because it’s a Ponzi scheme, and “you’re never going to win.”

    By Mike Sacks

    April 9, 2021

    Writer, director, and producer Justine Bateman, who broke through in the 1980s as one of the fresh-faced teen stars of the NBC sitcom Family Ties, has already grappled publicly with the fickle nature of fame. In 2018’s Fame: The Hijacking of Reality, Bateman recalled the “nauseating experience” of discovering how strangers on the internet were critiquing her looks; a number of online critics made it clear that “Justine Bateman looks horrible now.”

    In her new book, Face: One Square Foot of Skin, out now, Bateman has produced a follow-up that expands into a more specific account of how she, and other women, must grapple with the “imagined reality that older women’s faces” are often thought of as being “unattractive, undesirable, and something to be ‘fixed.’” It may go without saying that in Hollywood, it’s even tougher.
    In Face, Bateman provides the reader with 47 “short narrative blasts” that take into account other women’s experiences, which Bateman herself has gathered from dozens of interviews she conducted. Ahead, she discusses the “Ponzi scheme” of plastic surgery, the actors who embody the kind of aging she hopes to do, and what it takes to walk out into the world with an attitude that says: “Fuck you, I look great.”





    Vanity Fair: The word brave is used frequently in your new book’s blurbs. Do you think of yourself as being brave?

    Justine Bateman: [Laughs] No. I think that whole phrase is such bullshit. To me it says, “I’m so embarrassed for you. This is so brave.” I fucking hate that term. No, I don’t think it’s brave at all. I’m just saying that we as a society somehow leapfrogged from “Wow, that plastic surgery is so extreme” to “When are you getting your plastic surgery? Is it going to be at 20, or is it going to be at 40?” It’s almost your duty now as a female to start cutting up your face. How did this thinking become so set in our society? How about just saying no?

    This pressure to alter one’s appearance is that much more intense under the microscope of celebrity and Hollywood. It’s merciless.


    When we talk about Hollywood, we’re talking about a bunch of fairly attractive people. So if these fairly attractive people, by society’s standards, are looking to erase character from their faces, what does that say to people who don’t look like that? What does that say to people who are, by society’s standards, more average-looking? Are they getting the message that “Jesus Christ, you better catch up”? I just think it’s the wrong direction. Everybody’s talking about “empowering women,” which I also find to be kind of a flaccid statement. Empowering them for what? To shove plastic in their faces? I don’t get that. How about feeling empowered to walk out in the world with an attitude that says, “Fuck you, I look great”?

    Can you understand, however, when an actor does make the decision to undergo some form of cosmetic surgery?

    Well, I think there are a few things going on. First of all, it’s germane to being an actor, wanting to make changes that you believe will encourage more employment. Of all jobs, I find acting to be the least proactive. It’s like grammar school; you’re waiting in the line to be picked by the team captain during recess to play dodgeball. You’re not generating work, and so you start getting into your head, What can I do to help this along? Which is silly. Most of the time it’s not at all about what you are, or are not, doing. It just comes down to the fact that you’re not the right ingredient for that particular recipe, that film. But you’re like, Maybe if I dyed my hair blond. Or maybe if I had different representation, maybe that would do it. Or maybe I need to lose 10 pounds. Maybe I need to gain 10 pounds. But it doesn’t really work that way.




    So these actors are doing what? They’re trying to control and navigate through this extremely difficult world by kowtowing to what they
    think others want them to look like?
    They’re trying to control the variables. You can’t control a lot in this world. You’re chasing your tail. It’s often not true that you weren’t picked for a role because you have blond hair or because you have a crease on the side of your mouth. And in fact, you might be making changes to your looks that do become reasons you won’t get picked. It’s like a Ponzi scheme. You’re never going to win.

    You
    ve been in the business a long time. Why do you even read online reviews from mean-spirited people? As you write, one compared your face to that of a crack addict’s.
    That’s a good question. When I first came across negative views of my looks, I was morbidly fascinated and shocked. I was, like, 42 or 43. I didn’t really have anything going on with my face. Does someone really think that?! Should I be subscribing to this? Am I kidding myself that I look okay?


    But here’s the thing: If you had gotten work done to your face, you would have most likely been criticized for that.

    Oh, 100%. By the same people.

    At the same time you’re never going to see Tommy Lee Jones being told to get a face-lift.

    That’s true. It just comes down to a real fear women have that is irrationally attached to the skin on one’s face. Or in an irrational assumption that if I do such a thing, tighten or change my face, then I will have all these things come to me. Which is sort of a weird connection to imagine. It’s a little OCD to me. If I knock on the door jamb five times before I step through, XYZ will occur, or I’ll be making sure ABC doesn’t occur. It’s not a direct correlation. People may think it is. They’re like, “Here’s my math proof. It worked out. I did this and then I got that.” Well, what if that opportunity was coming your way anyway? Whether you changed your face or not?


    You write in the book about idolizing and admiring older European actors when you were young: “I longed for Jeanne Moreau’s under-eye bags, Charlotte Rampling’s sharp cheekbones and hooded eyelids, and Anna Magnani’s deep and dark creases extending down from the inner corners of her eyes.” Beyond saddened, you seem genuinely puzzled that an aging woman can nowadays be looked at with such disdain.
    I am genuinely puzzled, but I don’t think I’m so uniquely insightful or anything like that. I think that when I look at those women, the thing that shines through for me is their confidence. And so for me, in my 20s, that’s what I wanted, that confidence. I’ve not found that level of confidence oozing from the pores of women who’ve had a lot of plastic surgery. It’s just not been my experience. I’m sure they’re out there, but it’s not been my experience.



    Do you think that being critical of an aging face is an inborn trait, or is it something that we’re all taught from a young age?

    I do think it’s taught. And this is just anecdotal from my experience, but when I was younger, I don’t remember being repulsed or taken aback or needing to adjust my perception of a person if they had an older face. I was just able to get a sense of who they were as a person. One of the ways we’ve been able to survive as a species, through evolution, is our ability to read people and to notice that they’re aging: Oh, they’re older. They’ve had more experience. They’re a little wiser than somebody who has a face that looks like it hasn’t been around as long.
    But beyond that, how do they carry themselves? What are the things they’re saying? What’s the tone they’re using? How are they sitting in their chair? How much attention are they paying me or not paying me? These are all things that give us a lot more information than how many wrinkles somebody has on their face.


    What do you hope to achieve with this book?

    I really wanted to touch on all these different reasons why women have this vulnerability. Because it’s not really tied to the actual look of your face. It’s tied to what we think that means. In essence, a lot of these women are getting plastic surgery because they don’t want any of the things they assume will happen if they have wrinkles on their faces. They want to shove those things off. But the truth is those things could still possibly happen. And then you have two problems: You’ll still have the things you were afraid would happen as a result, and you’ve also cut up your face.


    I think it’s possible that I’ll be criticized by those who have decided that plastic surgery is some kind of feminist position. That criticism of “how dare you be critical of women that have taken control and are making the changes that they see are necessary?” But look, this is just how I see things. My hope for women is that they can get a steel spine as far as how they feel about themselves. That the condition of their face is completely immaterial. We assume others are going to reject us. We don’t trust that things are going to be okay. Because of that, women feel they have to make sure all these other people are okay with what they look like. As if that’s the only way they’re going to move forward.
    And I don’t believe things actually work that way.
    I kind of agree with her. On the other hand: she looks rough for 47, just saying.
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    fgg
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    ^i read that she's 55. even so, she still looks really rough and i don't think we should be asking her what her skin care regimen is unless to know as a cautionary tale.
    can't post pics because my computer's broken and i'm stupid

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    Her face looks like a smoker’s face.
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    “I longed for Jeanne Moreau’s under-eye bags, Charlotte Rampling’s sharp cheekbones and hooded eyelids, and Anna Magnani’s deep and dark creases extending down from the inner corners of her eyes.”


    Okay, Mallory.

    She looks awful. She kept her figure but yes, look at her, the face is bad. She doesn't want to look pretty and full of health and life? She wants to look haggard, tired, lifeless? You got it. This annoyed me because she's judging too. She doesn't need plastic surgery. Perhaps her audience didn't expect such a dramatic change. Genetics, sun, smoking, misery? Something is showing up on her face. It's sure not typical of the people I know in that age range.
    DawnM74 and holly like this.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fgg View Post
    ^i read that she's 55. even so, she still looks really rough and i don't think we should be asking her what her skin care regimen is unless to know as a cautionary tale.
    Yeah, I stand corrected: she is 55. Doesn't matter: she still looks rough, even for that age (2 years younger than me). She looks old beyond her years and kind of manly, in an Iggy Pop kind of way.
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    I'm against plastic surgery too, but I'm very pro-moisturiser and sunscreen.
    Be excellent to each other.


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    She's got a definite Patty Smith vibe going on.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chalet View Post
    “I longed for Jeanne Moreau’s under-eye bags, Charlotte Rampling’s sharp cheekbones and hooded eyelids, and Anna Magnani’s deep and dark creases extending down from the inner corners of her eyes.”


    Okay, Mallory.

    She looks awful. She kept her figure but yes, look at her, the face is bad. She doesn't want to look pretty and full of health and life? She wants to look haggard, tired, lifeless? You got it. This annoyed me because she's judging too. She doesn't need plastic surgery. Perhaps her audience didn't expect such a dramatic change. Genetics, sun, smoking, misery? Something is showing up on her face. It's sure not typical of the people I know in that age range.
    Quote Originally Posted by HWBL View Post
    Yeah, I stand corrected: she is 55. Doesn't matter: she still looks rough, even for that age (2 years younger than me). She looks old beyond her years and kind of manly, in an Iggy Pop kind of way.
    Yeah, the word "craggy" comes to mind, and not in the good way an aging man can get away with. She doesn't have to "cut up her face" but it's almost like she revels in looking bad. She wants to look like an old aging hippie chick with a greasy unflattering hairstyle, showing off her jug ears and unwashed unmoisturized face and lips, and unplucked brows? Go for it. But stop bitching at everyone else who tries to look presentable. She obviously took to heart any criticism of her looks, but let's face it, she was never a beauty even in her prime.
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    Elite Member tiggle's Avatar
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    Well the premature aging can't be in her genes. Her brother Jason is very handsome.

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    She looks like she sits under the sun a lot too.
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    She was very cute on "Family Ties" (before and after photo below). I also added Iggy Pop because someone mentioned it earlier. I'm married to someone who is actually a year older than Bateman, and it seems like a number of things are at play with Justine. Her eyes, nose, and cheekbones have changed very little. It's the bottom part that has lost collagen, and where you see age/wrinkles. Her hairstyle is pretty bad, and I think it just accentuates that she is older. I think that style would look good on very few people.

    I also don't understand the makeup technique, which seems to be very persistent with her, if you look at recent photos. It really seems like it consists almost exclusively of super-dark eyeliner that is practically inside the eyelid. It's actually way more subtle in her younger shot. I think Sara Jessica Parker does this, too, and it doesn't help her either. In both cases, I feel like they have no sense of how they are coming across or how to work with their features.


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    Yeah I never understood that either. I mean, if you want to go make-up free, go for it. If you want to let your hair look greasy, your choice. But why bother using an eyeliner and just painting your tearline? It just looks weird.
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    I think if her eye liner wasn't so dark and her brows were tamed she'd look a lot less wrung out.
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    She doesn't need plastic surgery, she just needs a makeover. Desperately.

    And I don't understand showing up to a photo shoot with greasy hair. Where's your self-respect, man?

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    could mods merge the two threads?
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