Tuesday, May 27, 2014

"Styles" peak outrage

Women are now getting cosmetic surgery for the express purpose of looking good in their engagement-ring hand-selfies! All women? No. Lots of women? No. A bunch of the author's friends? No. Two women. The Style section tracked down a sum total of two women got their hands altered (presumably both hands - symmetry and all that) so as to show off their rings. Actually, not even two - one is simply planning to do so. The rest is inferred: many women wear engagement rings (true), and of those, a good number take photos and post them to social media (also true). Meanwhile, cosmetic surgeons and dermatologists can be tracked down who'll confirm that hands are part of the human body, and thus that there are people willing to spend money to have these parts somehow improved. It's therefore possible that we've got a hand-selfie-surgery epidemic on our, uh, hands, but not all that likely.

That said, this was - and Miss Self-Important, I want your thoughts - the perfect Styles story. Engagement rings themselves, as a topic, elicit tremendous class-and-gender outrage. The cost! The ethics of diamonds! The problematic sexism of the "tradition" if we can even call it that, invented as it was by DeBeers, which has been written about a ton but which you, foolish woman distracted by shiny objects, probably somehow missed! The resentment of women who want these rings but don't have them! The assumption that all women want one! The lemme-see-the-ring that follows engagement! The implication that this isn't enthusiasm for a friend or colleague's news but rather an attempt to figure out how much money her dude has or is willing to spend on her!

But this latest story brings all that outrage and crosses it with existing fury about cosmetic surgery. The ring-oriented hand-lift - invented though it may be - is like an extreme version of painting the nail of your ring finger to highlight the rock. It's so infuriating that it might even manage to rile women who do wear engagement rings and aren't losing sleep over said rings being problematic. So much outrage! So much that there hardly needs to be a trend of women doing this. I mean, it's nice that they found the one woman who did, but really, it wasn't necessary. 


Miss Self-Important said...

Yes, I do think the reporter really enjoyed writing this piece about the outrageousness of the rich which she is herself so above but also simultaneously below because she couldn't afford them if she did want them. So high marks for outrageous behavior identification (and false numerical amplification), but I give her low marks for outrageous quote inducement, which is really the Art behind a fine Styles style piece.

Phoebe said...

True, no good quotes. One bad quote, even: The doctor saying “Absolutely, the rise in social media is a reason people are getting a ton of stuff done, not just to their hands” makes it clear that this is a trend the journalist invented.

But what makes up for that is the inclusion of what seems to be an honest-to-goodness engagement-ring hand-selfie from the woman who did undergo major hand-refurbishment. And the hand looks like...a hand. After all that!

caryatis said...

Would have helped to find someone willing to say that imperfect hands are disgusting or show low self-esteem.

Phoebe said...

Yes, that might have worked. But ideally it would have been more ring-focused than hand-focused. At least going by the outrage the story provoked on Facebook, the issue was more, how dare women unapologetically wear generic-looking diamond engagement rings, and less about the hand-refurbishment.