Since then, billions of dollars and millions of women (and increasingly men) have had alterations, augmentations, erasures, fillings. There has been a seismic cultural shift and now sports stars, business and media figures, and even Reality TV personalities have made some women feel they should also get to look like that.
The good news is that cosmetic surgery is not all about recreating the way we were. "Interestingly, many women are saying their goal is not necessarily to look younger, but more to look refreshed and reflect how they feel on the inside," notes dermatologist Doris Day. "With the tools we have available today, we can accomplish this with a very natural and beautiful outcome. People are more upfront about wanting to look their best."
The viewing -and judging--public, meanwhile, still seems to have wildly mixed emotions on the question of "have they or haven't they?" For example, there are those who believe Jane Fonda has irrevocably traded in her feminism for narcissism. But when she told an admiring Oprah that "good work" was why she looked so amazing, the audience spontaneously erupted in applause. People snicker or gasp at the tabloid face-fodder devoted to Meg Ryan, Melanie Griffith, Goldie Hawn, and Nicole Kidman. Paul McCartney's eyes and Michael Douglas' chin have been closely assessed. Even the august New Yorker--in its lengthy profile of Bruce Springsteen--casually suggested that the Boss has had touchups.
When public figures do speak out, though, they usually find receptive ears. Fonda was likely applauded for her candor rather than the lift. Kidman finally confessed to having tried--and ultimately rejected--Botox. Jamie Lee Curtis--sort of the Betty Ford of Hollywood---admitted to having had procedures and told the Britain Express, among others, "It was the worst thing I ever did. It made me more insecure." (As one who had neck/chin work done two years ago, I second that emotion) The actress and almost-Senate candidate Ashley Judd earned praise when she took to the airwaves to say a/her puffy face was the result of steroids and b/ women should stop judging and start supporting each other.
Extra credit and compassion go to anyone who has to age in front of a watching world. And yet, what if Meryl Streep or Helen Mirren suddenly appeared noticeably younger and fresher? I have a feeling many would feel real disappointment, even though it's fair to assume they dye their hair and may even see the dermatologist occasionally. "People whose self-image--and self-esteem--is based on their intelligence, authenticity and so much more than looks, would likely not want to betray that image," says New York therapist Vivian Diller.
Among less celebrated folks, ten million Americans spent $11 billion on some kind of cosmetic procedure last year, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. That's an increase of 106 percent over the previous year. A million of those were men.