Body acceptance advocate Katie Sturino is doing ads for Botox. Why?
As someone who bi-annually enjoys having herself stabbed between the eyes with neurotoxin, even while agreeing with you 100% because...vanity, I want to thank you for serving up the cleanest, most logical argument for radical change in the beauty industry. Sturino is confusing and probably also confused and I would love to know what motivated her to choose to do that ad.
I was in the middle of commenting on Katie's post when she deleted it. There were a lot of comments calling her out.
Thanks for bringing this to our attention, bullshit is bullshit.
Late to the comment party on this, but I've been thinking a ton about the demarcation point between body acceptance and face acceptance (is that a thing? I may have just made that up), and how you insightfully link the two through the lens of beauty culture.
Part of where I think it gets slippery, and why people like Sturino proudly promote Botox/fillers/etc, is that one of the central tenets of diet culture demands overt work/sacrifice/deprivation on the part of women. You are supposed to be dissatisfied with your body/your weight because of the very capitalist mindset that you are not doing enough: you are not exercising enough, you are not eating "well" enough, you are not starving yourself enough, you are not "resisting temptation" enough. Diet culture is all about making women feel that they are exerting inadequate control over themselves and their lives. You see all this bullshit messaging everywhere, like "nothing will change unless you do" which is diet culture wrapped in vacuous motivation-speak. Women, to "succeed" in our diet-culture infused world, are expected to layer on hours of physical/mental energy and TIME toward conforming their bodies to an unrealistic standard.
"Beauty"/face treatments like Botox/fillers, though, are passive. You sit back and let the aesthetician do what they will with their syringes. (As the hosts of a beauty podcast I've listened to observationally a few times said, you often are encouraged to let the "experts" decide for you what the put into your skin: "You don't tell the dentist where to drill!"). All you do is hand over a check at the end. And that's the thing: Diet culture is positioned the sweat and grunt work of capitalist labor, and for women, injectables are supposed to be what we reap. They're extremely pricy, but figured as a reward. A way to "treat yourself." Something you've "earned." Once you've reached certain capitalistic milestones, where you can fork over thousands to smooth out the signs of your work from your face, you are supposed to have arrived.
It feels that where people like Sturino fall through the trap is pushing back against the toxic grind/expectation of time and effort diet culture imposes on women, but failing to see the same issues that bleed into what is dangled in front of us as the reward. Thank you for pointing out how clearly the two are linked.
Thanks, Jessica. I've been kind of grossed out by some of the advertisements and articles I've seen in support of Botox Day. Perhaps you've also read this recent critique in the NY Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/15/arts/botox.html
This is so spot on. There’s another “body positive” influencer that I follow and I’ve felt the same about her. Her whole thing is posting self acceptance and loving yourself the way you are. And she turns around and talks about her lip fillers and Botox treatments. I can’t believe more people don’t question her authenticity. Not to rag on this particular account but it’s just a top of the mind example of how outwardly accepted some of these beauty practices are.
This is such an amazing introspective piece. I love every question it brings the surface of my mind. I consider myself a beauty healer---in that I coach humans how to AFFIRM and APPLY their products and actually begin to understand their relationship with beauty as a catalyst to understanding themselves. It's not a coincidence in my mind that LIGHT in the spiritual sense is something that is so important to connecting to your inner source energy, and as beauty consumers most of us are obsessed with light, in the form of radiance/highlighting, etc. that "glow". I absolutely love that you called out the influencer in particular because you forced her to better understand her values. Thus you challenged her to introspect. As someone with such a large platform (and brand) she does have a responsibility to her audience to be authentic to her messaging. It is very likely that she never make the connections that you have, being so close to the beauty industry. Katie in particular though having a beauty brand, certainly "could" have thought about this impact. I have grappled with my desire to explore botox and the adverse effects it is said to have with respect to true self love. Questions I ask myself every 4 weeks when my premature grey roots come in, Can I still love myself and dye my hair? Can I still be authentic and dye my hair? What is the difference between dying my grays every month and getting botox every quarter as recommend? In the end I reached a conclusion, that if you know who you are, what your values are, and your reasons for engaging in any practice that brings you joy, whilst not harming anyone else, and you can express those reasons in a healthy manner, there is nothing that is out of bounds. You can practice soul ascension, mindfulness, and still get your botox all the while truly loving yourself, the way you do---the most important person in your life. I love this piece and am so glad I stumbled on you today and this newsletter.
I HAVE SO MANY THOUGHTS JESS!
Personally for me, the rise in visibility around body neutrality/acceptance essentially helped save my life from a 20 year eating disorder. I've been getting botox regularly for 3 years (38) & it never actually 'clicked' how much beauty culture & diet culture are linked until about a year ago/I fell in love with you heheh. How my botox usage eased my anxiety around aging but at the same time is promoting the collective societal anxiety around women aging. I do not have an answer. BUT I would love to see if she has been able to make the connection now too.