-- Renée Zellweger has responded to criticism she's received over her looks.
In a new essay published by the Huffington Post, the actress wrote that she "did not make a decision to alter my face and have surgery on my eyes," but that the criticism she faced during that time was symptomatic of a deeper issue.
The very fact that her appearance was so openly dissected troubled her, she wrote, as it shows "society's fixation on physicality" and obsession with celebrity.
"It’s no secret a woman’s worth has historically been measured by her appearance," she wrote. "Although we have evolved to acknowledge the importance of female participation in determining the success of society, and take for granted that women are standard bearers in all realms of high profile position and influence, the double standard used to diminish our contributions remains, and is perpetuated by the negative conversation which enters our consciousness every day as snark entertainment."
Zellweger, 47, said in 2014 that she was "glad" that some thought that her appearance had changed, though she found the chatter "silly." If her looks were different, she added, it was because she was "living a different, happy, more fulfilling life."
"I did work that allows for being still, making a home, loving someone, learning new things, growing as a creative person and finally growing into myself," she told People magazine at the time. "People don't know me [as] healthy for a while. ... Perhaps I look different. Who doesn't as they get older?! Ha. But I am different. I'm happy."
In her essay, the actress wrote that our society's preoccupation with physical beauty is "problematic for younger generations and impressionable minds, and undoubtably triggers myriad subsequent issues regarding conformity, prejudice, equality, self acceptance, bullying and health," and that the repetition of stories that embody that message are harmful.
The time taken to publish such articles also takes away from resources that could be used for more productive purposes, Zellweger wrote.
"Maybe we could talk more about why we seem to collectively share an appetite for witnessing people diminished and humiliated with attacks on appearance and character and how it impacts younger generations and struggles for equality, and about how legitimate news media have become vulnerable to news/entertainment ambiguity, which dangerously paves the way for worse fictions to flood the public consciousness to much greater consequence," she wrote. "Maybe we could talk more about our many true societal challenges and how we can do better."