It’s funny how often you hear the word «calm» when discussing botulinum toxin injections for wrinkles correction. Your face will look calm, the skin will be smooth, you will look younger and so on. I’m sure you’ve seen similar ads at one point or another.
Eradicating one’s facial expression means no more wrinkles—it is a well-known, scientifically confirmed fact. In more accurate terms, botulinum toxin chemically denervates the muscles, blocking the neuromuscular transmission process in them completely. Consequently, the stimulus sent by the brain cortex is rendered ineffective. You brain says,—You’re miffed, now frown!—but your muscles are unaffected by its command, your face stays serene and nobody notices your discontent. Some people might think it’s a good thing.
Well, I disagree. What’s so good about a person’s being unable to demonstrate their emotions? Why are we supposed to keep our anger, contemplation, joy or irritation a secret? I think, this new social standard imposed on us—keep calm and stay young—is really a remnant of a patriarchal society.
Indeed, when we talk wrinkle correction for men it is always «natural result», «smoothed out wrinkles» and «a more open face», but the natural ability to change facial expressions is supposed to be preserved. You can’t have a man’s forehead muscles paralysed completely—it is just not done. But doing the very same thing to the face of a woman—why, by all means let’s get on with it.
Imagine a woman, who never frowns when she’s upset. A woman who never looks too thoughtful. A woman who stays young and is always happy no matter what goes on in her life. Isn’t this a patriarchal ideal? Granted, women have been slowly but surely gaining grounds in the men’s world, but at the same time we are witnessing a tendency to go back to traditional values—and not letting one’s emotions show is a part of it. Keep calm and have botox so that everyone forgets you can think and feel.
I know, this sounds extreme. And I know that many people will say with a touch of exasperation—we just want to be rid of wrinkles. But the fact remains—the complete denervation of mimic muscles robs us of the ability to express our feelings with mimicry. All we’re left with is speech, verbal communication conflicting with the nonverbal one. You say that you are unhappy. But you still look calm and content. So why should anyone pay attention to your words? They sound insincere. In my opinion, a full or partial rejection of mimicry is bound to impair the interaction between people—the nonverbal communication is way too important.
I would go as far as to compare the denervation of one or several mimic muscles to the Chinese women’s feet binding. Back in the day lotus feet were a traditional symbol of beauty, but a woman with bound feet could barely walk and was completely helpless. Paralysing your face to get rid of wrinkles is like tying your hands behind your back to stop them from swinging when you walk. After all you can just learn not to swing them if it matters so much.
Soften your facial expressions to prevent creases in your skin—sure, I’m all for it. Give them up and hide your emotions completely—no way, count me out.