Sometimes the news isn’t as straightforward as it’s made to seem. Crystal Hodges, The Mighty’s contributing editor, explains what to keep in mind if you see this topic or similar stories in your newsfeed. This is The Mighty Takeaway.
Faces. They’re often the first thing people see, and the first thing people use to get an impression of who you are. For celebrities, they’re even more than that. Faces are a part of their brand, recognizable by millions across the world.
In November, “American Idol” winner and country singer Carrie Underwood fell outside of her home and broke her wrist. But her wrist wasn’t the only thing she hurt. On New Year’s Eve, Underwood shared that she also injured her face.
“There is also another part of the story that I haven’t been ready to talk about, since I have still been living it and there has been much uncertainty as to how things will end up,” Underwood wrote in a blog post on her official fan website, according to CNN. “It’s crazy how a freak random accident can change your life. In addition to breaking my wrist, I somehow managed to injure my face as well.”
I just wanted let everyone know that I’m doing great. Had surgery on my wrist yesterday & all went well…even though I’ll be setting off airport metal detectors from now on…I’m so thankful for the doctors, nurses, family & friends who’ve been taking such great care of me.
— Carrie Underwood (@carrieunderwood) November 15, 2017
The singer went on to share she received 40 to 50 stitches as a result of her facial injury, adding, “Now here we are 7 weeks later and, even though I’ve had the best people helping me, I’m still healing and not looking quite the same.”
During this time, Underwood has maintained a social media presence, but selfies have been scarce – or her face is mostly hidden.
A post shared by Carrie Underwood (@carrieunderwood) on Dec 27, 2017 at 12:30pm PST
Wanting her fanbase to be more in-the-know, she wrote, “When I am ready to get in front of a camera, I want you all to understand why I might look a bit different. I’m hoping that, by then, the differences are minimal, but, again, I just don’t know how it’s all going to end up.”
Because our faces are out for there world to see, there is something deeply personal about them. Living through my own story as a person with a facial difference, I’m extra aware of faces – especially my own. A few years ago, my image was stolen and turned into a meme. The meme went viral and was seen by more than 30 million people around the world, prompting thousands of people to make assumptions about my appearance online. I’m far from being a celebrity, yet Underwood’s story resonates with me.
As Underwood prepares to step in front of the camera — regardless of what her face may look like — here are seven things you should remember.
1. Don’t point at her scars and don’t stare at them.
Be kind. Yes, she’s a public figure who is accustom to eyes gazing her way, but she’s also a person. We should view her as a human with emotions, struggles and feelings, not just a face to look at or a celebrity to judge.
2. Be respectful of her pictures.
Don’t make memes. Don’t make “before and after” images that focus on her scars. And if you see any of these types of images, don’t share them.
3. Anyone can have a facial difference, including you.
One day, you may have a child or grandchild with a facial difference, or you could fall and get a facial injury. Be respectful, and treat those with facial differences and injuries the same way you’d want to be treated.
4. Don’t downplay her emotions or struggles just because she’s famous.
Being one of the top country artists, yes, she probably can afford the best plastic surgeons around. She can probably afford the best makeup on the market if she chooses to hide any visible scars. But once again, she’s a human first. Her story is real, her experience is real. So are her emotions, feelings, and fears.
5. She doesn’t owe us inspirational messages.
Yes, beauty standards created by Hollywood and the media often feel impossible to reach, and these standards need to change. While Underwood now has facial scars, and talks about possibly looking a little “different,” she doesn’t have to become a trailblazer for beauty standards in Hollywood. Having a facial injury, doesn’t make it her job to inspire and encourage others to feel beautiful.
6. Don’t recommend makeup brands for coverage or plastic surgeons.
First off, we shouldn’t expect that she’ll always choose to cover her scars. She may not want to, and that’s OK. It’s 2018, she has Google at her fingertips as well as doctors and professional makeup artists to seek advice from. Don’t assume she wants to hide her scars from the world or that she wants to the world see them. All these choices are hers to make.
7. Her scars don’t define her.
Scars or no scars, she’s still Carrie Underwood. She’s still a wife, mother, songwriter and talented musician. Who she is as a person is what defines her, not her face.
Our faces are only a part of our story. Don’t use Carrie Underwood’s to define her.
Photo provided by Carrie Underwood’s Facebook page