Thanks to the algorithm, I have recently spent a lot of time looking at celebrity plastic surgery accounts on Instagram. I clicked on one before-and-after pic of Blake Lively’s nose and suddenly my whole explore page was filled with compelling evidence of celebrities’ chin implants, filler-only nose jobs, and blepharoplasties. Did you know that the hot new way to get high cheekbones is something called “buccal fat removal”? It’s a lot to take in.
One of my new favorite accounts dedicated to unmasking these procedures is @problematicfame. Good name, right? Fame is problematic — on that point I’m sure we can all agree. Anyway, the anonymous administrator of @problematicfame has been in the game for a while now, and they seem to know every conceivable and frankly inconceivable cosmetic surgery available, as well as the ins and outs of Photoshop and the high-level Facetune-like apps that celebrities use to further alter their online appearances (allegedly). To scroll through @problematicfame is to have your eyes opened to the absolute deadness of society and also many nice photos of Ariana Grande. I love it!
The administrator of @problematicfame describes their mission statement this way: “just trying to spread awareness on how instagram can impact beauty standards.” I think that’s probably part of it, sure. But the posts themselves are a bit more pointed, even if the copy retains that same positive spin. Take, for example, this side-by-side comparison of Hailey Baldwin (then) and Hailey Bieber (now) posted in February:
“hailey has denied ever having any cosmetic procedures done,” reads the caption. “she is obviously very gorgeous in both pictures so keep the comments respectful!”
Is she obviously very gorgeous in both pictures? If yes, then what are we even talking about? Two nice photos of Hailey Baldwin-Bieber? Hmm.
According to @problematicfame, most all famous women are gorgeous, then and now. Megan Fox, the 35-year-old actress who recently went to Hell on an ayahuasca trip with her boyfriend Machine Gun Kelly, is one such example. Here is the caption that accompanies a three-slide post comparing photos of Fox when she was a famous teenager and current photos of Fox as a famous woman in search of spiritual experiences:
“megan had stated in 2010 that she had no work done in an interview. she looks gorgeous no matter what. keep the comments respectful”
Do you know who else looks gorgeous no matter what? Kendall Jenner, regardless of whether she ever had a boob job. “this was highly requested!” exclaimed @problematicfame on a five-slide comparison post focusing on Jenner’s chest in 2019 vs. her chest in 2020. “she looks gorgeous no matter what, keep the comments respectful.”
(By the way, the comments are almost never respectful.)
The dictionary definition for “gorgeous” is “beautiful; very attractive,” and according to @problematicfame, the 22-year-old pop singer Madison Beer has always been that. In the caption of a post containing both a side-by-side comparison and a time-lapse video showing Ms. Beer’s changing face, @problematicfame insisted that “madison has always been gorgeous.” Always!
The 24-year-old model Bella Hadid is once again gorgeous no matter what, per @problematicfame. In fact, she’s something of a mascot for the account — her photo serves as the profile pic, and she has multiple posts dedicated to her. The most recent, a photo montage of Hadid slowly morphing into a wax figure of Carla Bruni over the last ten years, has this caption:
“bella has denied having any cosmetic procedures/plastic surgery. she looks gorgeous no matter what, keep the comments respectful”
Yes, according to the sincere mind behind @problematicfame, Hadid looked gorgeous in 2011, 2013, 2016, 2018, 2019, and now — no matter what. So be respectful about that.
Not every celebrity looks gorgeous, of course. In @problematicfame’s book, Ryan Gosling simply looks great:
But for the most part, gorgeousness is a disease, and the famous gals on @problematicfame are lifelong sufferers. Why continue to point it out? Perhaps underlining the gorgeousness of each celebrity is a kind of legal strategy. Your Honor, I said she was gorgeous no matter what. Maybe it’s a genuinely held belief. Anyway, something to think about the next time someone gives you a compliment.