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Justine Bateman on her new book 'Face: One Square Foot of Skin'

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Author and filmmaker, Justine Bateman, joins Yahoo Life to talk about her new book, 'Face: One Square Foot of Skin.' The book consists of fictional vignettes that examine the fear and societal habits that have caused women and men to cultivate the idea that older women’s faces are something to be “fixed.”

Video Transcript

JUSTINE BATEMAN: I hope that for all women, that they could just look into what's making them think they need to change this one square foot of skin. What would happen if we just continued to become more and more and more ourselves?


BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Hey, everyone, I'm Brittany Jones-Cooper, and today I'm chatting with filmmaker and author Justine Bateman, whose new book, "Face, One Square Foot of Skin," explores beauty standards and aging naturally. Why did you want to talk about women's faces and the things that they do to them on a regular basis?

JUSTINE BATEMAN: I had googled my name, and there was an auto complete that said, Justin Bateman looks old. And I was like 40, 41 at the time, and I was like, really? And then I went into this rabbit hole where I read all these things that people were saying. It affected me more than I thought it would and for a longer period of time than I thought it would. Why do we have these sort of anchors in society that women's faces need to be changed, that we have this assumption that a woman's entire self-worth is just this piece of skin that's on their head?

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: You were a teen when you starred in "Family Ties." How much did your career in Hollywood impact how you viewed your face?

JUSTINE BATEMAN: So I don't remember there being a lot of emphasis on that. It was more of an emphasis on who you were, how you carried yourself. We didn't have like a consumer-facing internet, there was no social media. And then when I started "Family Ties," that was kind of the first time that there was much more attention on my looks. She's so beautiful, she's this and that, and you go like, OK, yeah, I guess by society standards, I'm attractive looking. But I didn't feel that my face was some sort of accomplishment or anything.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: With the way that you feel, have you ever considered getting work done?

JUSTINE BATEMAN: I went to a plastic surgeon, for the cover of the book. They said, you're a candidate for the works. Cut in on the eyes and take these bags away, and then take some extra skin away from here and do a little bit of a brow lift and all of this.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: But we all could, you know.

JUSTINE BATEMAN: I mean, I could but like, what would it get me? Because there are some crappy people online that don't like what they're looking at? Any time I see comments like this now, I'm like, wow, you're telling me about yourself. You're not telling me anything about me. I wanted to look like all these older European actresses I was watching in these films.

Anna Magnani had this like really heavy bags under her eyes. I think it's awesome looking. So I won't get there if I do anything to my face. I'm just suggesting through this book that a lot of the negative ideas that women have about their own faces just aren't true. So why should we keep them alive inside ourselves?

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: The book ends with a short story from you where you talk about the experiences that shaped your face. And you say quote, "you're looking at satisfaction and happiness." Tell me about your transformation to just embracing yourself.

JUSTINE BATEMAN: Once I had to have a tooth taken out, and I think, that tooth's been with me through everything, and now it's not. So I think on my face in that way, like it's been there, every fun moment I've ever had, every frustrating event I've ever had. And now I'm going to go, I hate you. I mean, it's not fair, right? At least give yourself an opportunity to get rid of that fear, because otherwise, that fear is going to become entrenched and it's going to stay with you the rest of your life.

BRITTANY JONES-COOPER: Well Justine, I have to say, I think you are one of the coolest and most interesting women ever. Thank you for joining us today.