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Tuesday, February 19 , 2019, 4:23 pm | Fair 55º


Susan Estrich: The New You, But Not At Any Age

Sometimes our national youth movement just goes too far

Jane Fonda had her eyes done. Granny — an 83-year-old property manager from Santa Ana — is making national news for her “boob job.” And not to leave out the men reading this, it has been reported that tough guy Lakers star Kobe Bryant was seen recently having a mani-pedi — a manicure and pedicure.

Every one of them has an excuse, sort of.

Fonda reminds us that she is an actress who needs to be ready for her close-up.

Bryant is trying to deal with injuries to his hand and knee.

As for granny, she’s still working as a property manager, still active and vibrant, even as gravity is literally dragging her down. My guess is that, not being a celebrity, she probably didn’t expect that what would otherwise be considered routine surgery in Southern California would become the national story it is.

Should age matter? Yes.

Should gender? No.

When I say age matters, I don’t mean old age. I have been a fan of Fonda for, well, a very long time. If she wants to let go of her bags, including the ones under her eyes, more power to her. As for granny, I hope her doctor explained to her the risks of anesthesia and took whatever steps he could to minimize those risks. I don’t see myself being willing to take those risks to get rid of the sag and add a cup size or two, but ask me again in a quarter of a century.

There are plenty of people in this town who are visibly stretched too tight and more than enough doctors who don’t seem to have learned the word “no.” But excess and risk taking are not limited to plastic surgery. For my part, I wouldn’t ride a motorcycle at any age. If Fonda or granny wants to get on a Harley, the most I’ll do is tell them to wear a helmet and drive safely. Ditto for climbing Mount Everest. We live in a free country, which gives people the freedom to take risks, even risks others would consider foolish.

It’s the grandkids who worry me: the teenagers getting boob jobs and sucking fat out of their thighs before they’re old enough to vote; the baby actresses parading high-priced bodies toppling out of dresses that have every 15-year-old running out to search for similar slut-wear and hating themselves for having the body of someone their own age.

I’ve asked my son any number of times about getting a pedi or a polish-free mani. I’m pretty sure he’s not going to be influenced by Kobe’s example, but I’m not worried about it, either. A foot massage feels great without regard to gender. I’m not a big Kobe fan, but I love my manicurists, and what’s good for them is fine with me.

Nor do I foresee a rush of 73-year-olds getting their eyes done or 83-year-olds getting boob jobs, if for no other reason than the recessed economy. But the impressive thing about Fonda and Granny is that, by their own definition, the purpose of their surgeries was to make their bodies match the vibrant and active lives they live.

On that score, more power to them. If your body is sagging and your mind is sharp, you can decide for yourself.

It’s the children we should be concerned about, the kids trying to change bodies that have yet to develop in the first place, the parents scraping into their savings to change their kids’ bodies instead of trying to change their minds, and the doctors who are too eager to cut or too busy to heal.

Too old for plastic surgery? No. Too young? Absolutely.

— Best-selling author Susan Estrich is the Robert Kingsley Professor of Law and Political Science at the USC Law Center and was campaign manager for 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis. Click here to contact her.

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