Do I or don’t I?

Should I or shouldn’t I?

The question at hand is whether to weigh in on the brouhaha surrounding actress Renee Zellweger’s new look.

Everyone else is talking about it—and by everyone I mean the pundits, bloggers, celebrities, and even my friends (many of whom are working mothers that claim they have no time for TV and tabloids). No one seems to know what to make of the actress’s new look, which is why I decided to share some insights on the matter.

The chatter started after the Academy Award winner walked the red carpet and was barely recognizable. Some gawkers even questioned whether it truly was the actress we have grown to know and love.

I loved her in Jerry Maguire (who didn’t?), and she was also adorable and fresh-faced in the Bridget Jones franchise, and yes, she does look different—or should I say, done.

To my mind, this media maelstrom is a classic case of “man bites dog.” This is a concept taught in journalism classes to help wanna-be reporters sharpen their news radar. Dogs bite people all the time, but when a man bites a dog—well, stop the presses. That’s news.

We don’t notice good plastic surgery, but it’s all around us. It’s natural, it’s subtle, and people look better and brighter, and maybe even younger or more like their younger selves. Simply stated, they blend. Take talk show host and comedienne Rosie O’Donnell stated on a recent episode of The View, during a discussion about Zellweger’s appearance no less, that she had her eyelid done to correct drooping. She looks amazing and can likely see a whole lot better, too, but no one would ever know why. The fact that Zellweger is getting oh-so-much attention speaks to the fact that there is so much great work out there that perceived extreme plastic surgery is news.

There’s another psychological nugget that is rarely discussed about extreme plastic surgery. Some people want to look done. A respected plastic surgeon said this desire is akin to driving a Mercedes-Benz. The more done you look, the richer people think you are. I was aghast to hear that, but it is likely true in some cases.

Now I don’t know what Zellwegger had done, why she did it, or who did it (and even if I did, I couldn’t say), but bashing plastic surgery, plastic surgeons, and the actress is beside the point.

So too is blaming the Man or society for Zellweger’s changed appearance. We can’t say she made her choices in response to societal pressure on women—especially actresses—to look younger and wrinkle-free, as we also rubberneck male celebrities who look overdone (think Bruce Jenner).

The bottom line is that the actress says she is content with her new look. She told People magazine in a statement, “I’m glad folks think I look different! I’m living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I’m thrilled that perhaps it shows.”

She continued: “People don’t know me in my 40s. Perhaps I look different. Who doesn’t as they get older?! Ha. But I am different. I’m happy.”

Either way, the girl I loved in her early movies is gone. Now it’s time to leave the woman she has become alone and let her live her life and hopefully make some more great films.