Botox @18? Is the anti-aging pressure insane?

by Liz Brody

For starters, “B” (that would be Botox) is apparently the new drug among teen girls. While Dolgoff’s birthday spank came at 40—the year she started feeling “formerly” hot—”Glee” singer, Charice Pempengco, is only 18, and makes no bones about getting Botox on her Cabbage Patch doll face. Her PR rep claims it was for jaw pain. Uh huh. So what about the Thermage, a skin tightening treatment, Charice also had?  In any case, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, more than 12,000 teens, 18 and under, used Botox or Dysport in 2009—a pretty substantial rise from 8,194 the year before.

Can we stop the insanity? Dolgoff has some advice:

5 Things to be Wary and Aware Of

* The Botox Baby Boom. Here’s what Dolgoff says about that: “Just be aware that this is based on a made up expectation, and you don’t have to accept it. Not that long ago, people whispered about having work done on their face. Then all of the sudden, it was out of the closet. Now it’s, ‘Big deal. I did it for my career.’ I’m not saying that you should lie or sneak around, and I definitely think it’s healthy to care about your appearance, but when having something injected into your face becomes the new ‘normal,’ it moves the bar. And they can just keep moving that bar. And moving it and moving it—until it’s impossible to be happy with how we are. And where does that leave us?”

* Anti Aging War Talk: Prompted by an ad on Facebook for a cream to combat “Murder Wrinkles,” Dolgoff went on a hunt and found that marketers tend to use violent language—”destroy,” “blast,” “torch,” “annihilate”—when describing anti-aging products. Subliminally it gets to you. She compares the tactic to extortion. “These people are trying to make money off of your fear of getting older,” she says. “The fear is you’ll never meet anyone who loves you, or you’ll wind up alone, or you never get hired. I use some of this stuff myself. But the truth is, the more we accept these messages unthinkingly, the more power they have.”

* The Old Shoe Shopping Trick. Here’s a snippet from the book about Dolgoff’s husband: A few weeks ago he was nearly concussed by a (gold metallic Sven) clog when he tried to take something off the top shelf of my closet (he’ll only do that once). I gave him the Boo Boo Buddy we keep in the freezer for the girls, and he didn’t say a word. What could he say, really? That I had too many shoes?  Shoe collecting, she maintains, is her strategy for denying death—the logic being that, because she can’t possibly wear them all out, they’ll continue their journey on earth long after her feet are comfortably up and resting six feet under. Not to mention, supercute shoes are doable at any age, and “they always fit, even if our other clothes, over time, do not.”

* Ban these labels: MILF and Cougar.  While some of Dolgoff’s “formerly hot” friends see MILF (explained here), as a compliment, she does not. First of all, it sounds like “milk”—which makes her think of breastfeeding and “swollen, leaky boobs, and sore nipples,” not exactly a formula for sexual magic. “I can’t get past the idea that MILF implies that attractive mothers are such a freaky fringe concept, they require a separate acronym,” she says. “Cougar” can also bite the dust in her opinion. That word, she says, “signifies that a not-young woman, who might actually want to have sex, is so uncivilized that she belongs in a National Geographic wildlife documentary.”
While we’re at it, let’s agree to dispose of the catty monikers that have trickled down to younger ladies. Like “puma” (20-somethings) and “hyena” (girl teens.) This name-calling is a form of cruelty to animals, both humans and felines. Where is PETA when you need them?

* Also ban “for your age” (as in “you’re beautiful for your age.”) This phrase, Dolgoff points out, assumes that you’ll automatically go downhill.  “Sure looks matter, but you can be beautiful at any age. The older you get, the more important it is to project outward, and less important it is to show the world who you are by how you look.  But the idea that there’s only one way to be beautiful, or one way to be hot, is again, a message that’s been put before us. We don’t have to accept it.”