Check out my video interview with Justin Bateman above, or read the excerpts below.
Two weeks ago I wrote about a new book by actor and director Justin Bateman, Face: One square foot of skin in which she asks why women still spend so much time in frustrating quests to “fix” a face in response to a culture steeped in anti-aging messages.
The response was stunning. Hundreds of thousands of you have read this work on TIME.com, and many have commented on Twitter or written to me. Most praised Bateman for dragging these secret fears into the sunlight, writing, “It’s nice to see Justina advocate for women to be themselves.” And: “The system needs fixing, not women.”
Others asked“How the hell do we make men stop caring?” Some were afraid of losing their livelihood unless they tried to look younger. Many men wrote, saying that Bateman’s unchanging face looked beautiful; others had support. Um.
The book sparked discussion online, so I thought it would be great to talk to Justin about the reaction and her battle cry # TheresNothingWrongWithYourFace.
Excerpts from our conversation are below.
In response to Face: One square foot of skin
“I was not at all ready for the scale of the response. I had hundreds and hundreds of stamps on Instagram saying, “I’m so glad someone is talking about this.” One woman said, “I work as a hospice nurse, helping people die. And yet my colleagues tell me I need to do something with my face” … and “it made me realize that I need to be less critical of my face because I have two teenage daughters and I don’t “I don’t want them to be like what they think of their own face.”
On rejuvenating products
“One very simple way to create a need for a product is to find that fears already exist and then publicize those fears.
I am interested in eliminating buttons that existed in me or may still exist in me that respond to them [fears]. “If people think my face is old, then …” I think every woman needs to fill out for that. For some it may be that they are afraid that they will not find a mate for someone else; perhaps they are afraid that they will not do so, their new business will fail.
I suggest forgetting about the face. It has nothing to do with the face. If you are afraid that you will never find a partner. It’s a fear that will stay with you for a lifetime, no matter what you do with your face. So why resort to this fear to get rid of it. So you can get rid of that fear. “
On letting go of her younger face
“I’ve always wanted to look like Georgia O’Keefe. So all these things that are starting to happen, you know, for example, with a loose neck and eyes with hoods and stuff, and I’m like, I’m on my way! I’ll make it! … Now you look at my face and know what you’re getting … I didn’t like my face, but I don’t feel like he represented me the way that face represents me, you know what I mean? “
To people who say she looks “old”
“When people say something like that, they tell me about themselves. They don’t tell me about me. They tell me how they look at life, and they tell me how they look at themselves. ”
“When someone runs a firm and a woman looks older and they don’t like it, it’s an interesting thing to dig into. What do we think is going on in this man or in the head of a woman that they don’t like, that they have an employee who looks older? I mean, we can guess. It may be the rule, they say, she does nothing with the face. And that’s the rule you need, and it breaks it.
It could be, “Oh, I’m afraid of that [an older face] indicates that we are no longer innovative. And I don’t want other companies to imagine that we’re not innovative. And so I have to get rid of this evidence – it’s their fear. Then I believe that a person is afraid that his company is not innovative. He imagines, “Oh, I can make that easy decision if I get rid of the old man.” And then, “Okay, I solved that problem.” But he can have everyone in the company for 22 years, and he will still fear that his company is not innovative. ”
Feeling we can’t be relevant when we look older
“I’m just saying maybe it’s not your face. Perhaps this is the direction you are looking for. Maybe a new direction is open for you and you don’t pay as much attention to it. And the time is right for you in that direction. Because I feel like everyone has a basket of opportunities as well as the skills and talents that come along with you when you were born. And I feel that this basket does not care what gender I am, what, what condition of my face, my age, he does not care.
It seems to me that life is fun. You have awkward things and comfortable things, but they all conspire to make you bigger and bigger yourself, another one of who you are. ”
Road upgrade! Thank you all for your kind wishes and kind invitations to my cross-country swimming. I’m flipping through the script a bit. Dog and I will now go west to east in late May and I will be posting off the road on Instagram @SusannaSchrobs
COMFORT OF CREATION
Our weekly recognition of animals helping us get through the storm.
Meet PEPPER MCDERMOTT, a life-changing puppy that is spreading in CARA.