Feet broken in two. Necks stretched beyond recognition. Lips as big as saucers.


All this, in the name of beauty.


We visited Ripley’s Believe It or Not in Hollywood earlier this week during our family vacation. We went there just because we all love seeing freaky stuff, but I didn’t expect the “Odditorium” to give a haunting, historical view of the beauty tortures women have endured since the beginning of time. As I looked at these old torture treatments, I realized our newer inventions such as botox, and lipo are no different – just another version of the same old bullshit.

Hollywood, and generally Los Angeles as a whole, is about pushing, pulling, and squeezing your God given normal body and face into the oddest shapes and sizes, in order to fit the in at Freak Zone Central.


Promos for The Oscars covered the elegant facades of historical buildings throughout the town. Lisa Rinna glanced down upon us from billboards plastered with her ballooned out lips and frozen features, glossed up to stir male hormones into a tizzy. I guess this chick has some sort of sex appeal, is a sci-fi kind of way, but even my teenage nephews couldn’t quite grasp what her deal was. Her look is so totally foreign to us Midwesterners (seriously, seeing a young woman with a boob job in our town is relatively rare occurrence, so lips like hers are hard to ignore).


Lisa Rinna post and pre lip injection

Why in the name of God is it attractive to squirt so much collagen, or fat, or botox, or whatever the hell she had needled into her naturally elegant, simply gorgeous doll like face? This face no longer resembles a human one, but some sort of twisted soul exposed until it cracks. And trust me, it’s gonna crack. It probably already has, we just don’t see that side of the story.

Don’t get me wrong, I totally dig this stuff. I’m not trying to rip this poor woman to shreads, it’s just so totally over the top to me, that I have to share.

To observe this beauty chase in action will always fascinate me. Knowing that I was one of the privileged few granted the chance to be part of this glam world, and having enough sense to walk away before it ate me alive, is quite satisfying.

It seems a lifetime ago, but I remember, taking it, and running with it, as any sane 16 year old would. But then, I opted to get out alive, unpimped, and

plastic-fied. What I didn’t expect is this decision would grant me a ticket to freedom.

It’s the Golden Ticket. Let the wrinkles come I say, bring on the sag. I can take it, because trust me, it ain’t no picnic on the other side and there is no way I am ever going back to that hell hole that it seems everyone is determined to head down into.


Onto Rodeo Drive. The most famous alley of smoke and mirrors in the US of A.  Master marketers spend every waking moment creating their shop displays designed of glitter, greed, and pure narcissism, guaranteed to drive in the weary in droves. Crisp, slick bills are peeled from the palms of their rich & famous clientele, as the perfectly orchestrated mirages of beauty unfold inside, where the pitch is the ever allusive promise of self worth and esteem.


We didn’t even bother to park, just a drive by was in order for this place. As we gawked out the windows of our mini-van, huge, gleaming logos of Chanel, Jimmy Choo, and St. John’s whizzed past and perfectly polished shops caught our attention as they stood eerily empty, untouched; waiting for the bell to be rung.

This is where Jessica Simpson purchased an $800 pair of underwear. A multitude of movie stars are regularly spotted darting in and out of their Towncars, in search of some piece of everyday fabric, dressed up to be the end all be all of happiness, promised to bring them eternal youth in this hell city of vultures just waiting to suck their self esteem dry.

Tick tock goes the clock.


Back at the hotel, I sat back and to read LA Magazine, only to be further absorbed in this culture of who’s hot and who’s not. I stumbled on an article about little girl’s birthday parties, that frankly, didn’t even surprise me. Modeling “themed” extravaganzas are all the rage for LA’s finest 2nd and 3rd graders, where loving parents fork over up to $40 grand to allow their princesses to walk the catwalk for their girlfriends.


Don’t have a big issue with this really, since I do believe it is quite natural to want to have your 15 minutes of fame, even at age 9. But $40K? C’mon, that’s an annual income for a lot of folks where I come from, the level of greed is kind of over the top don’t you think?


We wrapped up our trip, but inadvertently crashing a private party at the new Burton shop on Melrose. We were just sort of shopping, no one kicked us out, so we figured we may as well enjoy it. My nephews scored a bag of freebies for their girlfriends, I hung out and played Guitar Hero amongst our new LA hip and trendies, and the kids filled up goodie bags filled with pixie sticks.



From there we spotted the paparazzi stalking some Candies sponsored event, so my daughter and I hiked it in the rain to catch a glimpse of the action. Turned out the stars from Heroes were arriving, don’t watch the show, but it was fun to see them get the star treatment, or get snubbed, even by the paparazzi if they are currently not a recognizable face.



We are all on the plane now, headed back to good ole’ Milwaukee. Sore feet, tired out, and ready to be home in our own beds, in our cozy home, on our big lot, safe and sound.

My nephews are all pumped to live out in LA in the near future. I hope they both go for it. I have no doubt my worldly travels totally prepared me for the real world. The world where not everyone likes you, nor cares, nor pretends to care.

That life lesson is somehow easier to swallow when you’ve been rejected multiple times for daring to have a pimple on your face.


This entry was posted in Body Image, Fake Beauty and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to HOLLYHELL

  1. Josie says:

    I’m glad LA is only a tiny little piece of our world.

    And glad that i live in Britain. Rural England in fact where all these kindof things are fairly rare, apart from the celebs tucked away in their country retreats (Kate Moss lives only 5mi away).

    Hollywood isn’t the real world. I don’t know if people look on with more scorn or admiration.

  2. vive42 says:

    boston is a very thin and fit city compared to america in general, but we are clueless as to fashion. that’s just how i like it, too. when i go places that are more image conscious, like when i visit my sister in the miami area, i feel so out of place, like an ugly duckling! but i also feel scornful, because in florida everyone is always super tanned and they get old before their time and just look gross and leathery at fairly young ages.

    by the way, if anyone is interested i think i have a pretty interesting/good blog up right now. i’d be especially interested in your thoughts mamaV.

    blameful.wordpress.com (i know, shamelessly promoting myself and my blog again. when will i learn?)

  3. Amber/vanity900/cult66623 says:

    well im thinking…say 1000 years from now when beautiful is something elese and we look back at pictures of models and people what will people thing?

  4. Amber/vanity900/cult66623 says:

    think** sorry guys you know how bad i am with typos!

  5. ibiteback says:

    Don’t go hating and making fun of other people’s cultures, especially ones you don’t fully understand. our culture forces teenagers to get metal put in their mouths and have wires tighten and it is very painful, to the point where they want to cry. What do we call these? Braces. and calling it odd is just making fun of people and treating them like things to stare at because they are different. What did you do when you were at the odditurium? Look at things and say eww and that is so weird, THEY are so weird. They are in the Freak Zone. How do you think that makes them feel about their bodies being put on display, at a place called the odditurium. Places like this are made to make fun of other’s cultures. The lip rings are part of who they are. The long neck rings despite popular belief do not make it impossible for women to never where the rings, the biggest issue is actually becoming allergic to the brass, you can become allergic to braces by the way too. The women also can choose whether or not they want it usually.
    You make fun of what you don’t understand just like some people make fun of eating disorders or self-harm because they don’t understand it. You’re being such a hypocrite.

  6. Hillary says:

    uh… i dont know if you noticed, but mama isn’t picking out other cultures and “making fun of them.” you clearly read absolutely nothing she wrote.
    here, let me give an excerpt:
    “As I looked at these old torture treatments, I realized our newer inventions such as botox, and lipo are no different – just another version of the same old bullshit.”
    She’s not picking on other cultures, she’s picking on the absurd standard of beauty that ALL cultures have. Including our own.
    You completely missed the point of the post.
    Try reading it.

  7. ibiteback says:

    Hillary- She’s calling other culture’s rituals “torture,” that is calling them bad or inferior to her standards. Like she is so great. And I did read it, I just don’t think of these rituals as torture I think of them as part of the bigger picture. What MamaV doesn’t realize is that these “tortures” actually have other meanings than beauty and that she should focus on what she knows. And just the idea that these things are in an odditurium is what she should be talking about.

  8. Hillary says:

    they’re all tortures. her point wasnt that other cultures are inferior to ours. her point was that all cultures do stupid shit for beauty. regardless of where one lives or what cultural practices she participates in, the fact is that they’re all different means to the same end. she honestly said nothing offensive about other cultures. and yeah they’re in an odditorium because… well, they’re odd. it’s not a disgustingfreakitorium, it’s an odditorium. and she said it gave “a haunting, historical view” not a “look at these crazy people!” view.

  9. Josie says:

    I think ibiteback has a point. Those things that people do aren’t all for beauty, they’re for other reasons too i believe. Though i’m no expert either so i can’t judge.
    It is true that womens attempt to be beautiful occurs in all cultures. It’s unsurprising really because that’s what we do for evolutionary purposes, so it’s hard for us to battle against.

  10. mamavision says:

    ibiteback: Let me add some flavor to the images and content posted:

    -Chinese culture had babies, before the age of three, literally breaking their feet in half and binding them so tight so they would not grow. The goal was to have a foot that measured 3 inches or less, thus the title of the book shown above titled “Splendid Slippers”

    Splendid for whom? These girls had trouble walking and standing for periods of time was unbearable. Google this topic and read about it, let me know if you have a different point of view. Check out pictures of these grown women with stubs for feet and then tell me what the purpose was for this beyond torture.

    Tell me if I am wrong, but the goal of these neck rings is to stretch a woman’s neck, no? For what sake beyond beauty?

    The problem is the neck muscles become so weak, because they are unused in this unnatural state, so if a woman tried to removed them, her head would have no support and slump to the side. Gorgeous. Please tell me the cultural purpose in this beyond the stated facts.

    My nephew stood beside me as we looked at this one and he said he learned about this in school. Both men and women were and perhaps still are subjected to this, and yes, it’s a beauty thing. I don’t personally see the beauty, but then again, I don’t see the charm in today’s men that stretch there earlobes to fit in those funky rings, or say tongue piercing, or penis peircing, but whatever turns you on I guess.

    Again, not making fun, just pointing out the odd torture tests men and women (mostly women) have suffered since the beginning of time.

    One I left out was a radiation treatment for the ole favorite- wrinkles.

    We will stop at nothing. Have you read the botox articles of late? You should. People are dying, and we pay no mind because crap, those little fine lines are all we can think about in this big, vast world and life we have been granted.


  11. Hillary says:

    point taken

  12. Mrs. B. says:

    I’m with you on this one. My beauty philosophy has always considered, “hmm. Does it hurt? Can it hurt me?” I’m a self-preservationist, I guess….for everything except high heels, which my feet are payin’ for today. High heels may be stupid….but they’re bangin!

  13. ibiteback says:

    The myth about the neck rings isn’t true. The women remove the to wash, for childbirth, doctor’s visits, to change the metal, and if the decide to no longer where them. They actually do not stretch their necks, they push down their shoulders. A TV show on national geographic called ‘taboo’ (I think you would enjoy the show actually, it stirs up alot of questions about what is really taboo) did an episode involving these women and in it a teenage girl who had had the rings on since childhood took them off to consider if she still wanted them. Her head did not slump and she decide to keep them. “One explanation for the neck-rings is that they were intended to make the women of the Kayan tribe distinctive, so they might be ransomed back from captivity in times of inter-tribal warfare. Some claim that the practice was meant to protect women from tigers, which are known to seize their prey by the scruff of the neck. In any case, the custom grew to have strong implications of power rather than helplessness, and the rings were an aspect of one of the modern world’s few matriarchal cultures.” Also, “Khoo Thwe feels that the rings are meant to connect the women who wear them to “the memory of our Dragon Mother.” The Kayans believe themselves descended from a female dragon who mated with a male human/angel hybrid. ” The rings are a sign of women power rather than hurting them or keeping them in control of their husbands.
    The people of this tribe have suffered under operssion from their government for years, many are still killed today. The rings are most women’s expensive thing they own.
    About the lip saucers, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. What you may see as beautiful they might see as ugly. It’s just the way it is. There is nothing wrong with it, their standard of beauty is just different.

  14. Pingback: Kids + Money « mamaVISION

  15. Limafan says:

    The funny thing about Rodeo Drive is that right next to it there is a a homeless encampment of about 50 or so tents. There is a youtube video of it.

  16. Katie says:

    It would be wrong to mock other cultures’ standards of beauty, but I don’t feel that is what MamaVision is doing. You should be culturally sensitive, but it is not fair to condone certain practices just because it’s part of their culture. Many of those beauty practices are torture, and unlike our culture’s beauty practices, most of those women did not have a choice in their body modification.

    Also, I think some practices, such as foot binding in China, are as much about controlling women as they are about beauty.

    I guess I’ve been kind of of sensitive about this issue lately. I’ve been doing a lot of research on female circumcision lately (even before it was mentioned on ANTM) and a lot of this stuff is really terrible.

    Anyway, this was a really good post, MamaV, and well-written, too. I absolutely do not understand why Lisa Rinna had so much obvious surgery when she was beautiful before. I kind of cringe to see her. I do think plump lips are pretty, but so many women go too far with it. Totally fake is not attractive.

    Plastic surgery is very uncommon here, too. I don’t know anyone, or even know of anyone around here, who has had any plastic surgery.

  17. MotherLove says:

    “Why in the name of God is it attractive to squirt so much collagen, or fat, or botox, or whatever the hell”

    Read First and Second Kings
    on the story of Jezebel

    20. Revelation 2:20 (Whole Chapter)
    Nevertheless, I have this against you: You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess. By her teaching she misleads my servants into sexual immorality and the eating of food sacrificed to idols.

    Revelation 21:8 (Whole Chapter)
    But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

    Love in Christ,
    Mother Love

  18. mamavision says:

    Hi ibiteback: Interesting information on this topic, I see your point and I wanted to let you know the intention of this post was certainly not to offend, so I apologize to you and others who felt this way.

    I also find it interesting that the neck muscle issue is a myth, I guess there are myths in everything.

    I too agree that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it just would be nice if it didn’t require pain! :)


  19. mamavision says:

    Mrs. B: I cracked up at your post, high heels are bangin’ (I am stealing that term by the way!)

    Let’s see, what silly but fun and sexy thing do I squeeze myself into, pain aside?

    1 High heels, yes now that I am married to a man 6’4 I can wear them and not feel like a giant! I do like how they make your legs look!

    2 I wish, wish I could wear my contacts more often, but no go. It’s funny because if I wear them for a few hours to go out, my kids don’t like it…they say mama you look weird!

    3 Tooth whitener, I do like how they shine, but over do it and it looks kind of sci-fi.

    4 Self tanner, I am the biggest whitey on the planet, I’ve got to slather my legs for the gym to cover my bruises that I have no idea where I get them from (ibupropren I think). I hate the smell, but the stuff does make your legs look nice. I always wonder what the heck is in there though- some weird chemical?

    That’s about all I can think of, but I am sure their are more.

    Bottomline fashion and beauty products should be fun! My daughter brought back that excitement for me, it was absent for a long time after modeling, so I don’t want to in anyway demonize it…just keep both in perspective to reality.


  20. Josie says:

    Isn’t wearing fake tan on the same level as dieting for vain purposes?

    It perpetuates the myth that being tanned is the beauty ideal, worsening the self-esteem of those who are naturally pale, and encouraging the use of more dangerous forms of tanning like sunbathing or the use of sunbeds.
    It’s just like someone unneccessarily dieting. It encourages the stereotype that being thin is the beauty ideal and worsened the self-esteem of those who are naturally bigger, and encourages harmful things like starvation dieting and pro-ana sites, which, oh yeah, you’re against mamaV!!!

    Your little girl is probably now learning that to look good she must be tanned, because that’s what her mom thinks. So if she’s not starving herself she’ll be getting skin cancer on a sunbed.

  21. Rachel says:

    I’m slowly untangling myself from these ridiculous beauty ideals that HollyMars is trying to feed us. I am 25 years old. Life is too damn short to be nipped, tucked, and lasered. I don’t have the money for it anyway… I’ve got money for–Oh wait.

    Yeah, it’s kind of sick. The standards that are placed on women in nearly every culture to “entice” their men gets ridiculous. As far as the neck-ring thing goes, those are some interesting points, ibiteback.

    I thank goodness that I’m from the Midwest, whiter than a sheet, and natural. All natural, 100% me. Every last inch and curve. I’m slowly learning to embrace myself and just plain be happy for who I am.

    Josie, I’d like to politely point out that MamaV is *not* sunbathing, OR using a tanning bed, she’s using the bottle method. The safest tan possible. I don’t use it myself because I’m clumsy and I don’t have the time to go through the Oompa-Loompa phase of the process… :-)

  22. Sharon says:

    L.A. is not all that great. The glitz and glamour etc.. can be destructive, as I am sure you know. I would like to visit the Mid-west. Great scenery. The simple life. Yeah.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *