Renee Zellweger’s back? Wait … who the heck…

Renee Zellweger, who’s performances in Reality Bites, Empire Records, Cold Mountain, Chicago, and Jerry Maguire I loved, is back in the spot light. But not so much for her upcoming film The Whole Truth.

It’s because she doesn’t look like Renee Zellweger any more. Okay, I know people can change in five years … but they don’t tend to be unrecognizable when they come back.

Have you read my rant about how our culture is obsessed with looking young and denying that the process of aging is incurable? Or the one where I point out that no one can look perfect all the time and expecting our celebrities (our female ones especially) to be red carpet ready all the time is stupid?

This isn’t about that.

If Zellweger wanted to get something lifted, tucked or tightened, okay. That’s a hazard of our appearance obsessed culture that is especially harsh on women in the spotlight, and she probably has the money to afford all the medical hoodoo and personal trainers she could ever want to maintain her looks.

It’s that she looks different enough from the Renee Zellweger that when a coworker showed some of us the article on her smartphone, we thought that the press had used the wrong picture. She has said she’s happy that she looks different, and as my mother has observed, it’s her face she can do whatever she wants with it.

But, I’m going to miss her original face.

That was the face I watched all through high school, college and into my adulthood. I’ve seen that face for the majority of my life. That face was the face of characters that made me squeal with laughter, cheer when they found their confidence, and cry with them.

It was a beautiful face without fitting into conventional standards of Hollywood beauty. So, yeah. I’m going to miss Renee Zellweger’s face.

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Gamer Gate? Seriously?

To be absolutely honest, I would never have heard of Zoe Quinn if the so-called “GamerGate” hadn’t come up on my twitter and facebook feeds. Because two men I respect and find amusing brought it up or replied to others in their posts. I never would have heard about Anita … I can’t even remember her last name much less how to spell it. That woman making all the really good points and critical observations on Feministfreqency over on YouTube.

But here’s the thing. Spreading the personal information, addresses, locations, financial information, and phone numbers of other people all over the internet … this Doxxing crap? It’s a crime. Making threats of rape and murder? That’s a crime. That’s terrorism.

Here’s what it boils down to: So what if Zoe cheated on her former boyfriend? That’s between her, her ex, and whoever else. If you weren’t having sex with her, it isn’t your business. If you were, that’s none of my business. And if you’re going to start screaming “journalistic integrity” how about screaming it at the journalist instead of the game developer? Oh, and before you start pointing out all the real celebrities who’ve had their personal lives splashed across the media? I don’t care, that’s none of my business either.

So what if you don’t agree with Anita’s observations on her YouTube videos? You’re allowed to disagree, you’re more than welcome to offer a different viewpoint, but calling people crude names and threatening violence, especially sexual violence, is really just proving that she isn’t wrong.

If you can’t figure out a way to express your disagreement in a mature manner, well, it’s only ever going to come off as you being a twelve year old stomping his feet in the middle of the arcade screaming that girls aren’t allowed to play after your high score got wiped out by someone in pigtails and a Hello Kitty tee-shirt.

Y’know what, though? Half of all the people playing video games in the US are female. Some of us have been gaming since we had to beg our parents to give us our allowance in quarters and give us a ride to the nearest arcade so we could spend the entire roll on a beat ’em up or a shoot ’em up game.

We have been here just as long as you have. Playing video games, reading comic books, watching Star Trek, Star Wars and Doctor Who, and collecting dice for table top RPGs and action figures.

We have as much right to enjoy and create and even criticize games and game culture as you do. That goes for the act of being a nerd and/or geek in general, actually.

And we aren’t leaving.

So go make your own sandwich, we’re busy.

Aging Resistant Culture

At what point did aging become something we aren’t supposed to do? And something we should be ashamed of when it does happen? When our hair starts going grey we’re supposed to dye it, and having our roots show is a fate worse than wrinkles. Except we’re not supposed to get those either. Our skin isn’t supposed to sag and the gods of media forbid that our butts and busts start heading south. Losing your hair? There’s an app for that! Or at least there are medications, oral and topical, for that as well as surgical options.

But why? Why all the dyes, creams, lotions, pills, lifts and tucks? When did aging become a horrible illness?

Ah, probably always. The myths and legends of things like the Fountain of Youth, ambrosia, and various golden fruits have been around since before recorded human history.

The problem is that it’s now a big business. The cosmetics industry is laughing all the way to the bank because of our obsession with looking younger for longer. And they’re using advertising to make us feel insecure about time’s effect on us. Getting old is not longer proof that we’ve survived, it’s almost a social crime. We spend the first two decades of our lives trying to grow up, then we spend the rest of our lives trying to convince everyone that we’re still young.

Y’know what? My hair is starting to go grey. My waist is thicker than it was ten years ago. I’ve never had a butt, and my bust lost the battle with gravity a long time ago. I’ve got a frown line between my eyebrows, creases in my forehead, and I’m starting to get crow’s feet at the corners of my eyes. But other than generally take care of myself, I’m not planning to do a damn thing about it.

Because I am getting older. And there’s nothing wrong with that.