Last week social media took a break from spreading Ebola fear to lambaste actress Renee Zellweger, who stepped out in public with what appeared to be a whole new face. Zellweger denied having plastic surgery, but it sure looked like something drastic happened to her distinctive movie star face. Outrage ensued. Facebook users and the Twittersphere generally saw in the The Zellweger Transformation a terrible mirror on our culture, which demands youth at any price–especially among women. So sad, people wrote, that Renee felt she had to do this.
Maybe she just wanted to. (If indeed she, despite her denials, did have some surgery.) The desire would put her in a lot of company, and it ain’t all movie stars. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that 15.1 million cosmetic procedures were performed in the US in 2013, up 3% from 2012. Facelifts and eyelid surgery were both up 6%. Americans had soft tissue fillers put in their faces 2.2 million times, up 13%. 15 million procedures–that’s 5% of the country.