Botox has been a hot topic in the news for the last few years as one of a string of new less-invasive cosmetic surgery routines. For those unfamiliar with the procedure, it involves injecting a strain of botulin toxin (hence the name Bo-tox) into facial muscles in order to paralyze them, decreasing the user’s ability to wrinkle their face, but also their ability to make certain expressions, particularly the microgestures essential to meaning.
There is evidence that women are the main targets of the Botox revolution. Part of this may be a systemic preference for younger people. A recent Wallstreet Journal article details the pressure women feel to look physically younger for the advancement of their careers. After wondering “Who would ever dream that ’20-plus years of experience’ would be a liability?” Lisa Johnson Mandell, the focus of the story, opts to freshen her resume by removing earlier work on it and attaching photographs of herself in youthful clothing.
Sarah Haskins, author of the funny and informative “Target Women” series of videos, discusses the roll advertising plays in picking out women for youth-oriented products, particularly those that have the curious tendency of homogenizing women’s expressions.
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