Renee Zellweger: Fantastic or Plastic?


Bridget Jones, What Happened?

All week long the media has been trying to recognize Renee Zellweger. “Surely that can't be her!” we decided. Our beloved Bridget Jones wouldn't go under the knife like that! But, in a classic case of us forgetting that celebrities are real people, we forgot that Zellweger is not her zebra-panty-wearing, drunk-on-christmas silver screen counterpart. She is her own person, who apparently would go under the knife- and [allegedly] did.

 The new shape of her eyes from slightly squinted and elongated to wide-eyed and rounded seems to have garnered more press this week than the Ottawa shooting, ISIS, or even that New York man who attacked a cop with an axe. If eyes are the window to the soul, they are also the window to headlines, at least for Zellweger. 

If celebrity news is the ultimate escapism (and I argue it is definitely up there) we have to ask: why do we care so much about Zellweger's new look? In part, we care because it was like no longer being able to recognize an old friend. The wholesome every-girl we grew up watching in Jerry Maguire and the loveable schlub that was Bridget Jones were more than movie characters to most of us. They were extensions of ourselves. We found a friend in these women as we admitted to being a bit lost, frazzled and fearful in the face of love. 

Zellweger's characters are the types of women you go to brunch with and share every minute detail of the Saturday night prior. They'd also convince you to follow your heart because there's always a lesson in there before the credits role. In short, they're my favourite type of women. And I bet they're your favourite, too, which is why we both ended up needing prescription glasses this week after staring at her new face on a laptop screen (I exaggerate, but you know what I mean!).

But, aside from the sadness of not recognizing our wannabe gal pal there's a couple deeper things at play here. 

The first? A tidal wave of our own insecurities are flooding to the forefront of the “did she or didn't she” conversation. We desperately hope she didn't have surgery because if she did, then we may have to, too! If hers were the characters that made us feel refreshingly adequate, and they very much were then by extension, Zellweger's own hooded eye version of beauty made sure we all remembered there was more than one type of pretty. If she needs to change her looks, what does that say about us? We silently wonder, while seeing non-existent crow's feet in the mirror.

The second deeper thing? It's no secret that our culture is still wildly sexist. We objectify women and judge them by their appearance on such a regular basis that it seems just that: regular. And when we, the high throne that is public opinion, decry someone as attractive? We expect to be listened to. Let her think what she wants about herself. We've decided she's pretty and that should be enough for her, even if she wants to be seen as beautiful and feels that this surgery will do that for her we feel we should have the final call. 

To all those tweets and articles asking “Before or after? YOU be the judge!” could use the reminder that we can judge all we want but that doesn't make it our choice. Period. But, before deciding that Zellweger's new gaze is reason to reach for the wrinkle cream, remember this: one woman's choice to play by conventions of beauty doesn't mean we all need to. As much as her distinctive eyes may have made her look beautiful in that different, real kind of way her changing her looks says just as much. It proves that no matter what others think about you you must always define your beauty in your own way- no matter if that means staying just how you are or going for a radical change. I think that's something even Bridget Jones would agree with, don't you?



Morgan Mullin for

Morgan Mullin for

Hi! I'm Morgan Mullin, a coffee-loving vegetarian from Trout Brook, Canada. Raised in the country but always a city girl at heart, I love travel, adventure and all things fashion. When I'm not traipsing around town highly caffeinated in unpractical footwear, I'm working on my blog, Hedonist In Heels. It's a place where I discuss how fashion and culture and daily life mix (along with lighter topics like city guides and boozy recipes). My favorite season is fall  and my favorite author is Jack Kerouac. I love black and white movies, romance, and carbs of all kinds (but especially the ones that come from pasta!).