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I’m a feminist & I’m thinking about getting Botox

By February 7, 2020May 22nd, 2020No Comments

Welcome to Glow On, a new beauty column by Louise McSharry. Each month she’ll examine the beauty topics we’re all wondering about and feature some favoured products

I’ve been thinking about getting Botox. The lines in my forehead are getting to me. I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point, they crossed over from being absolutely grand, to intensely irritating. I see them in every photo of myself these days, and while the fine lines around my eyes and increasingly crepey quality to my eyelids aren’t bothering me, I’d love to make the forehead crevices disappear.


When I mentioned this on Instagram recently, a follower messaged me to say she’d be watching with interest, as she was struggling to figure out whether getting botox was incongruent with her feminism. I wish she’d never said it because I’ve been thinking about it ever since. Obviously, I wasn’t oblivious to the fact that the pressure on women to look a certain way is a symptom of the patriarchy, but I suppose I was happy not thinking about it in the context of this urge. Now that someone had asked me, I had to actually consider my position.

There’s no getting away from the fact that pressure on women to maintain a youthful look while men are believed to ‘get better with age’ is sexist. Women’s value seems to diminish consistently as we live our lives, you only need to look to the film roles available to middle-aged women or the dating site research which indicates that women are at their most desirable at eighteen, while men hit their prime at fifty. (I mean frankly, any middle-aged man who wants to have a relationship with an eighteen-year-old girl deserves one.) We live in an ageist, sexist society. But as a feminist, I should know better than to pander to the patriarchy’s demands, shouldn’t I? Why then, do I still want Botox?

It’s not about my partner finding me attractive, because he is appalled by the fact that I’m even considering it. It’s not about getting jobs, because I’ve given up on getting jobs you need to be stunzo for. It could be about the fact that so many other women are getting filler etc, because the playing field is no longer level. (Yes, that’s right, we can now blame each other for symptoms of the patriarchy. Great.) Really though, it’s about finding a particular thing annoying when I look in the mirror and knowing that I could quickly and easily change it, and that the results would go away if I want them to. Is the desire to rid myself of the lines rooted in the patriarchy? Yes. I guess I’m not immune to it. I guess I’m not a perfect feminist.

If, like me, you’re not a perfect feminist and you’re considering Botox, here are the guidelines I’ve set for myself. First, have it done by a doctor. We’ve all heard the horror stories of plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures going wrong – this is not a time to look for the cheapest option. Find a doctor who specialises in these type of procedures, and check out their reviews. In this age of the internet, they’re easy to find along with photographic evidence of their work. Do your research. 

Second, before you attend an appointment or consultation, be certain about what you want and don’t want. I’ve heard plenty of stories from people who go to appointments thinking they only want one section of their face done, only to have the professional recommend several other procedures. I don’t blame the professionals, to them we are a canvas upon which to work and they simply see potential. However, if you don’t want to slide down a slippery slope, be clear from the outset that you’re not interested in any recommendations beyond what you’re there to address. If you’re particularly concerned about this, then it might be worth asking around and waiting until you’ve had a personal recommendation from someone for a doctor who doesn’t have a tendency to recommend more and more. 

Third, if you can bring yourself to do it, be honest about it. I’m not saying you have to get it tattooed on you or announce it every time you meet someone new, but if it comes up, own up. I will always support a woman’s right to do whatever she wants with her body, but if we spend our lives pretending we simply don’t age we’re just as bad as super-toned celebs who claim in interviews that they never go to the gym and eat ‘absolutely loads’ when it’s widely known that they haven’t had a carb in a decade. I’m not a perfect feminist, but I won’t do that. 

What I’m loving…

I am a true commitment-phobe when it comes to foundation but I’ve recently been returning to this one from Catrice over and over again. It’s a very liquid-y formula, which I apply with a brush to the places on my face which need a little help. I find it blends well, doesn’t look cakey and leaves you with a natural finish. Its pipette applicator is a little annoying, but for seven quid, where would you be going? 

While I’m at it, I’ve been using the Catrice Liquid Camouflage concealer a lot too. In these ‘transitioning back to work after maternity leave’ days, I mostly do my makeup very quickly in the car park of wherever I’m going. I keep a tube of this in my car makeup bag, and use a brush to apply it to the areas of my face which need a boost. It melts into my skin smoothly but effectively conceals as well. I’ve used a lot of high-end concealers, and this one (for four euro) is just as good.

I was gifted a few Superstar Lips (€28) from Charlotte Tilbury in December, and initially, I didn’t think they’d be for me. I’m usually a matte lip girl, so the idea of ‘high-shine gloss with the staying power of a lipstick’ didn’t appeal. Well, I’m a fool, because I absolutely love these. They do have a gloss, but not the kind that makes you stick to everything or kind of screams in people’s face ‘I AM WEARING LIP GLOSS’. Instead, you get a pretty, elegant finish, in super-wearable shades. My favourite is Sexy Lips (mortifying, I know), but honestly, they’re all great. 

Main image via Mango


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