In the upper-intermediate class, students discussed branding and image. Following the lesson, Debora wrote a piece on beauty and image in Hollywood and the pressure to remain beautiful when under the spotlight.

A huge debate about plastic surgery has been triggered these days due to the extremity of Renee Zellweger’s transformation; an actress paradoxically who became popular for her role as Bridget Jones. This has not been the only radical change amongst American stars. Others before Renee have already chosen this way to be able to arrive, or last, to the top of Hollywood. Probably, the most famous example of plastic surgery in relation to the Mecca of the movies is Mickey Rourke’s. In his case, plastic surgery was after his sport activity. The ex-fighter needed facial reconstruction, which had, as a result, a serious deformation to his appearance.

Hollywood can be the epicentre, but it is not the only place where people are submitted to beauty’s tyranny, and under the pressure of living in an eternal youth. Celebrities, actors, singers, even politicians worldwide, from Michael Jackson to Silvio Berlusconi, from Vladimir Putin to Pamela Anderson, all kinds of public figures have tried to improve their image through surgery, silicone, Botox, etc. In addition, actors, singers and other celebrities always look splendid thanks to other techniques (from make up to Photoshop and filters, lights and shadows). Of course, many of them could be an example to follow for anonymous people who want to look so wonderful and young; but the truth is that nobody wants to look old or become a faded beauty.

To what extent is plastic surgery positive? There is no doubt that it can have benefits in many cases, even if it has only an aesthetic goal. So the main question is not getting profit from the advances of surgery, but the reasons, the end and, of course, the repercussions. A few days ago, I read in a newspaper that the best moment for an actor comes at 52 years of age, but it comes at 34 for an actress, and therefore women have more difficulties to maintain their career: if this natural appearance shows their age, they will not be attractive anymore for that industry; if they go for plastic surgery, they will lose part of their facial expression. The profession of actresses should be the only one in which the years of experience are useless and vain. Ironic, isn’t it?

For centuries, humans have loved and admired a human image that is harmonic and balanced. However, nowadays, the obsession for a canonical beauty can lead us to the caricature of ourselves.