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I already posted on the discussion about Renee Zellweger’s changed appearance in 2014. As the link shows, I do have concerns about not only the changes to Zellweger’s face but also the criticism of their scrutiny. The topic has reemerged thanks to release of the trailer for Bridget Jones’ Baby, third installment in the series on the plucky British chick lit heroine.

 

It has raised to a fever pitch due to Owen Gleiberman’s Variety post asking “If (Zellweger) No Longer Looks Like Herself, Has She Become a Different Actress?” and actress Rose McGowan’s (mostly ad hominem attack) Hollywood Reporter response calling Gleiberman’s post “vile, damaging, stupid and cruel.” Social media is buzzing about the two pieces; most of what I have seen is very critical of Gleiberman.

It’s right to note the double standards that women face compared to men when it comes to appearance and its regulations. It’s also right to be concerned about men in the media industry writing critically about women’s appearance. However, I don’t think it’s fair to outright dismiss Gleiberman’s piece based on those concerns. For one thing, he’s asking a lot of the same questions I admit asking in my own research. What does it mean when a mediated body changes? What are the effects? How is the body used and interpreted differently in relationship to these changes? How do identity factors like race and gender relate to this? How are those changes perceived and by whom?

For another thing, in my interpretation, he is speaking exactly to the concerns that people have about the pressures actresses face over appearance. This quote below is my focus for understanding the piece. Read More