Archive for the 'nose' Category

cosmetic surgery doesn’t have to be shameful

When people imagine someone who has had plastic surgery, they often imagine a woman with pushed up, too-round breasts and a stretched, unnatural face. There is something sad about her. It is sad that she “needs” it. It is sad that she is vain enough to get it. She lacks character, she has the wrong priorities, she is admitting defeat. She is, above all, superficial.

No one can ever guess by looking at me.

The end result is nothing like the stereotypes, so people say things in front of me about women who get plastic surgery. Those things are never nice. Sometimes I just listen, too uncomfortable to chime in with my own story. It’s not a story I like to tell. It’s an awkward story about awkwardness. It implies the kind of self-dislike that feels like a messy secret. It’s inherently painful. It’s also a story with a happy ending.

It’s not just me — I know a lot of women who have chosen cosmetic surgery. Young women who I was friends with for years before they mentioned their breast reduction. Older women who finally whispered something about their face lift, confessional, nervous. Lipo, eyelids, jaw, breasts increased or decreased—some of the surgeries sound (and are) more medically necessary than others and others are obviously purely cosmetic. Like mine. The modern Jewish woman’s procedure of choice: rhinoplasty. The one with the worst name. Rhino. Great. I always have to picture the damn animal clomping around with its massive snout and horn. That’s me!

(I shouldn’t be so hard on the rhino– it’s really kind of noble looking. source)

In my family alone, I can think of three other women who have had nose jobs. Their profiles were whispered about at Passover and Chanukah gatherings. “Did you notice . . .?” I never had.

Continue Reading »


Kate on June 17th 2013 in beauty, body, nose

it’s not all about weight

Sometimes when we talk about beauty and body image, we end up talking almost exclusively about weight. It makes a lot of sense: the people who are touted as the most beautiful are almost always very thin. We’re bombarded by headlines and images that fixate on famous people’s waistlines and diets. Is Christina Aguilera too fat now? Is Kate Middleton too thin? Which actress looks best or worst in a bikini? Even pregnant, Kim Kardashian can’t escape the press’s disgust at her weight gain. (If not when pregnant, one wonders, when the hell is a good time to gain some weight?)

Meanwhile, the War on Obesity rages ceaselessly, often confusing ideas about health with ideas about physical attractiveness. Weight is always in the news, and the message is loud and clear: It is NOT OK to be heavy. Lose weight! Gain self-respect! Look better!

(I don’t even know what this means, but it looks ridiculous.)

So I get it. I get that beauty and weight are wrapped around each other in our heads. I get why so many people find themselves convinced that if they can only get thinner they will be better in every way. But there is a lot more to our cultural story about beauty, and when we talk about weight without talking about the rest of it, we aren’t being thorough. And more than that, we’re forgetting people. People who agonize over their acne or suffer from hair loss or are an unusual height. People with physical disabilities or differences. People who look “normal” to others but find themselves worrying about the characteristics that seem to prevent them from being more attractive. People like me, who have turned to cosmetic surgery when they couldn’t face their own faces in the mirror anymore. Who are we forgetting when we say “body image” but mean “weight”? Everyone who doesn’t fit the very recognizable beauty standard in a million different ways that they are sometimes acutely, painfully aware of, even when weight isn’t an issue for them.

Continue Reading »


Kate on April 4th 2013 in beauty, body, nose, weight

it’s fair to be disappointed by how you look

The truth is, my face has let me down. I thought it would turn out prettier, with better bone structure. As a kid, I thought that because I was good at stuff, I was pretty too, or at least should be. Good and pretty should go together.

My belly has let me down. It refuses to be sucked in.

My proportions are not neat, tight, sexy. I see a friend in something glamorous, and I know it won’t work on me. I might wear it anyway, but it won’t look the same.

And I am disappointed, sometimes, in how I turned out, physically.

I think that’s fair.

I used to think I should swallow the disappointment or ball it up and stuff it into a corner, plug the hole where uneasiness seeped in. I should smile more, put my shoulders back and face the world and be thankful and look myself in the mirror and say, “Damn it, you’re beautiful, woman! You’re beautiful because you look like yourself!”

But I have all of these other images of what beauty looks like stuck in my eyes, so that they waver, floating, translucent, over my face. All of these other faces taunt my own. And they’re the pretty ones. They are how I should have looked, might have looked, if I were luckier.


And I think it’s fair to think that way, because it’s true, there are so many images of beauty that we’ve all memorized. And there is so much certainty about them. And there is so much belief in beauty as something critical for girls and women. And when people don’t like the women who write things on the internet, they call us ugly.

“UGLYUGLYUGLYUGLY” yelled a man from the comments under this blog. A scream of rage. How can such ugly an woman be allowed a voice? Ugly women are worthless! Women who say things that people don’t like are ugly! Being ugly is the worst thing a woman can be! 

But it isn’t the disappointment in my appearance that I want to address, now. Because I think that’s fair and to be expected.

Instead, I want to remind myself of the ways I have surprised myself by being better than I expected.

Continue Reading »


Kate on November 30th 2012 in beauty, body, nose, perfection, weight

stop waiting to be prettier

You know that moment, where you’re gripping some of your side fat in the bath, and you just ate all of the leftover spaghetti at once, with pesto and tomato sauce and grated cheese and, weirdly, liverwurst, and you’re thinking, “Tomorrow I will go to the gym. And then I’ll go every day after that, for the rest of my life. And I will lose weight. It’ll be easier than I expect it to. And then my hair will grow out and it’ll be thicker than last time. And then I’ll be prettier. And then I’ll wear sleeveless dresses all the time and I’ll be happy”?

(like this! source)

That moment is lying to you.

I don’t know when I learned it, but somewhere along the way to twenty-six, I had very deeply, very seriously internalized the idea that after I got prettier, things would be better.

You have to think that way, to get cosmetic surgery.

Continue Reading »


Kate on September 12th 2012 in beauty, body, nose, perfection

the extreme importance of letting yourself be occasionally ugly

First, winner of the bra giveaway is M, from comment #51! M, please send me an email and I’ll hook you up! HAHA! Sorry. 

I was hanging out with my mom and her friends from high school the other day, and they were like, “Are you going to write about this?” Because people always say that to me. And then they said, to each other, “She’s going to write ‘They were so old! It was kind of sad. They seemed to be trying to look good, but they were just so old and sad…’”

In reality, I thought they were awesome. Fantastically witty, playful Jewish women who do voices and gesture big and tell lots of jokes that start “So a rabbi and a priest were on a plane…” I got that wonderful feeling that I want to always get—that one that goes “God, I have a lot to look forward to.”

But anyway, we started talking about body image, because my mom was like “so Kate is writing this book about body image!”

And I was like, “Um…sort of. But we definitely don’t need to talk about that.” Because it is embarrassing to just start talking about how I learned to hate the way I look. And how I got two nose jobs. (For some reason, writing about it feels completely different.)

I like the part of the story where I start this blog and start to feel good, but it takes a while to get there. Which is what makes it a story, I guess.

But my mom wanted me to talk about body image. She’s got to be proud of me, she’s my mom.

And we all ended up in this big conversation about beauty and everyone was talking about how hard it is to convince yourself that you look good, especially if your mom told you things like “honey, you should really go on a diet.” And how it continues to be hard for a very long time. Maybe your whole life. How do you even get to that place, where you feel beautiful?

I think you have to work on it, like anything else, I said.

Some of the women seemed a little skeptical, and I was embarrassed. Here I was, telling a roomful of fifty-somethings to “work on it.” I had this niggling, jittery sense that I was forgetting some critical piece of the puzzle.

I looked down at the tablecloth. I muttered something about self-acceptance being a journey. And then I remembered.

“It’s not just about feeling beautiful,” I said. “It’s about letting yourself be ugly, too.”

And everyone looked at me. Because that maybe sounds stupid.

Continue Reading »


Kate on September 3rd 2012 in beauty, being different, body, fear, nose, perfection, uplifting

Kates against plastic surgery

Kate Torgovnick, the fantastic mastermind behind (yes, there’s a site for people with my name, because we rule the world), sent me this piece yesterday. It’s about Kates and plastic surgery. Some of the more prominent Kates in our ranks—Kate Winslet, Kate Walsh, and Cate Blanchett (I guess she counts)—are speaking out against it. Kate T joined them, writing:

“I almost see it as if women, as a group, are on strike, trying to push back against the unreasonable beauty ideals that are driving us all freaking insane. Which kind of makes the woman who gets plastic surgery the scab who crosses the picket line. I understand why she does it. But ouch.”

And she sent the piece to me because I write about body image, so I’m probably against plastic surgery, too.

Except it’s a little bit more complicated, because of the two nose jobs.

Continue Reading »


Kate on March 8th 2012 in beauty, being different, nose, perfection

why I write about body image

So it’s the last day of Body Image Warrior Week (creation of the fabulous Sally McGraw of Already Pretty), and I wanted to share my contribution with you. You guys have heard this stuff before. But it doesn’t mean I’m gonna stop saying it :-) You can also find this piece on the Huffington Post, and on some awesome BIWW blogs. 


I write about body image because I love eating cake, but women around me are always dieting.

I write about body image because I have been told it doesn’t matter, but every year, more girls have eating disorders.

I write about body image because everyone cares about beauty, no matter how much we tell ourselves we don’t. And because, really, we are beautiful, no matter how much we tell ourselves we aren’t.

I write about body image because I moved to Manhattan, where suddenly everyone was very thin and very careful about eating and always going to the gym and suddenly it occurred to me that I was not thin enough and not pretty enough and very bad at going to the gym.

I write about body image because I noticed that after I noticed that I was maybe not thin enough, I stopped eating some of my favorite foods. They slipped out of my diet. I said no to dessert. I felt guilty when I gave in and made pasta for dinner. I felt guilty all the time, because all the time, I was cheating. There were all of these rules about what I could and couldn’t eat, and how much of it was OK, and I had somehow memorized them without even being aware of it, and now, when I broke them, I was ashamed.

I write about body image because I got a nose job because my big Jewish nose seemed like the opposite of beauty. Because when I told people that famous, beautiful women never have big Jewish noses, they always said, “What about Barbara Streisand?” and that was a long time ago. No one can think of anyone more recent. And also, because when my boyfriend who became my husband told me over and over that my nose was beautiful, I didn’t really believe him, even though I should have.

(me, being sexy with my nose taped, after my second surgery)

I write about body image because people make fun of people who get cosmetic surgery, even though when I got cosmetic surgery, there was nothing funny about it. I hated my face. I wanted to destroy my old face.

Continue Reading »