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Opinion: Renee Zellweger’s about-face needs explanation


On left, Renee Zellweger attends a press conference for Breast Health International in Italy on April 6, 2011. On right, Zellweger attends the 21st annual Elle Women in Hollywood Awards in Los Angeles on Oct. 20. Credit: Courtesy of TNS

Since I have thick, curly and unwieldy hair, I typically let it do its own thing post-wash. When I decide to intervene with a blow dryer, though, people audibly freak by the noticeable difference.

And that’s just my hair. I just blow dried my hair, and I have people from all sides of campus going, “Oh my God — I love it! Did you get a haircut? Brazilian blowout? Is that a wig?”

A public reaction isn’t what I expect, let alone aim for, when I blow dry my hair, but I understand it as a natural response of curiosity when someone looks different — not better, but perhaps enhanced — from his or her daily, normal appearance. It’s one of the wonderful blessings of the human brain — being able to out-remember a goldfish and apply past experiences to a situation of the moment.

What do they call that again? Oh yeah, thinking.

So, allow me to review: I didn’t blow dry my hair and get a little work done on my face after my shower. I didn’t blow dry my hair and pluck the shape out of my eyebrows. I just blow dried my hair, and you would think I got a face tattoo from people’s expressions.

Renee Zellweger, though, not only blow dried her hair — but she also changed the features of her face and walked out Monday on the red carpet at the Elle Women in Hollywood Awards in Beverly Hills. However, she has no idea why people are making such a big deal out of this.

In fact, she thinks it is “silly” that people are noticing that her small, signature eyes are distinctly more rounded and open and that her face has thinned out.

“It seems the folks who come digging around for some nefarious truth which doesn’t exist won’t get off my porch until I answer the door,” Zellweger told People magazine.

And the truth?

“I’m living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I’m thrilled that perhaps it shows.”

She’s so right. The last time I substituted a handful of Cheez-Its for a pack of 100 Calorie Right Bites, the bump in the bridge of my nose smoothed out.

Whether the changes in her face were a product of medical intervention or a lifestyle awakening is beside the point, though. If she did get a few nips and tucks, it’s her right and prerogative. If her face changed because she now goes to bed at 9 p.m. instead of 10 p.m., then she has some explaining to do regarding the fact that her water bed is filled with the flowings from the fountain of youth.

What is a bit ridiculous, though, is Renee copping an attitude because people have taken and vocalized notice; rolling her eyes to the fact that more than a few celebrity news outlets have picked up this before-and-after picture of two seemingly different people claiming to be one.

It’s a bit insulting, actually — “I am Renee Zellweger. Look at this dim-witted pack of sheep. So bored with their own lives and concerned over the drastic restructuring of my face. How frivolous; how bourgeois.”

It’s not that Renee looks better; it’s not that Renee looks worse. It’s not that the general public is constantly on the edges of their seats waiting to see what Renee Zellweger looks like today.

It’s that Renee Zellweger chalked up people’s reaction to the fact that they are just not familiar with how she looks in her 40s, forgetting that when she attended the Met Gala in 2013, she looked like she came straight off the set of “Bridget Jones’s Diary.” You know, how she had looked for the past 20 years.

Also ridiculous? These headlines:

  • From Vox.com, “Renee Zellweger’s new looks reveals the pernicious demands we make of all women”
  • From The Daily Beast, “Renee Zellweger’s Fine, But We Need Some Work”
  • From The Guardian, “Nothing’s wrong with Renee Zellweger’s face. There’s something wrong with us”

I’m the first person to try to dig a feminist angle out of any story that is even slightly derogatory to a woman’s appearance. I’m the first person to convince my reader that the patriarchy works day and night to make “the media” and general public succumb to its masculine ways and bring down the female based on how tiny or large her waist is.

But this has nothing to do with feminism. This has nothing to do with the patriarchy. This has nothing to do with society.

If anything, her impractical reasoning has women of all ages believing they are insufficient if their cheek bones don’t creep up simultaneously with their age.

This has everything to do with the fact that Renee Zellweger thinks she can slide a reeking load of crap past the general public. It’s about how an Oscar-winning actress believes she can walk out of the house with a new face — the very brand of who she is in her career — and seriously be bewildered that people are asking, “What changed?”

That’s show business, baby. If you don’t like it, you can sign out any time.


  1. Hmmm. I’m sorry if she did this to look younger, because she doesns’t look younger. Different, but not younger.

    Fact is, she made a lot of money and a lot of fans with the old face. Her surprise at the commentary she stirred up just doesn’t ring true.

  2. Omg please stop posting this trash also no one gives a sh*t about you blow drying your hair but really thanks for beating that point dead for 7 paragraphs.

  3. Anonymous at 2:05 am, it was only 5 paragraphs!!!!! 🙂

  4. I’m concerned with the fact that everything turns into a femaninst issue. As a male it’s not all about you, female counterparts.

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