Did you see the firestorm surrounding Kim Novak's appearance at the Oscars? An 81-year-old veteran mocked for her over-zealous use of cosmetic enhancements. An easy target. Discovered as an attractive young refrigerator door accessory, Novak was encouraged into movies. But not before she was primped and preened to fit the current beauty mold. She was given bombshell roles, on the heels of Norma Jean, who had also received a name and appearance makeover, to the degree that the male bosses considered she had sufficient sex appeal. She was fawned over. Lusted after. Adored. Photographed. Her currency was her beauty. Then the years crept up and her sex appeal dehydrated with her skin. Is it any wonder she scrambled after cosmetic procedures to re-create her beauty--the sum of her perceived worth? And then a public that once worshipped her mocked her for her desperate attempt to preserve her appearance, to mask her age, to cling to any skerrick of sex appeal. Just as we complicity idolise the young and beautiful so that aging becomes insufferable, we lambaste the hen for masquerading as the spring chicken, the mutton for dressing as lamb. But what choice did she perceive she had when her appearance was, again, to be scrutinised by the world: adulation for looking good for her age, or pity for looking her age? Sure it was a gamble, but the odds were never in her favour.
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