THE BLOG
03/04/2014 01:49 pm ET Updated May 04, 2014

Is It Cosmetic Surgery-Shaming -- or Ageism?

Snarky commenting about celebs dresses and hair have been fair game for awhile, and augmented boobs have been called out for years. But following this year's Oscar ceremony, I noted the increasingly mean snark about facial cosmetic surgery.

Yes, it can be appalling to see people aging ungracefully, even desperately. And duck lips and smooth but unmovable faces can look disturbing. But what I find even more appalling is ageism. The dread of losing youth and looks, projected into disgust with those who try to fight it.

Fillers and Botox have become accepted for younger women to freshen up. But cosmetic surgery remains something that is almost universally assailed. "Why can't they accept aging?" "What's wrong with wrinkles?" Over and over, you read these type of comments. And they usually come from people who are not yet losing their looks.

Disrespect is too soft a word to use for the post-Oscar ceremony comments about Goldie Hawn. And social media has made it easy for clowns such as Donald Trump to publicly make fun of Kim Novak, a gentle old soul who had the nerve to try -- and fail -- to look like her former self.

No wonder older beauties such as Marlene Dietrich stay completely out of the public eye when they lose their perfect looks. But why should they have to?

Catty put-downs can come from those who should know better, like the women on "The View," who have had there share of "work." But most come from people who still look "like themselves" and from people who don't earn a living in part because of how they look. And when the barbs come from people who can't afford cosmetic surgery, it sometimes sounds like jealousy.

A few obvious cosmetic-surgery addicts, like Joan Rivers and Dolly Parton, will cop to it. But most people won't admit having it. Who wants to be shamed? Like age, weight and income, it's a taboo subject, or one that's flatly denied. And those who have good surgeries are often incorrectly used as examples of those who never went under the knife, shaming those others who weren't as lucky in their outcomes.

A friend in her sixties recently shared her neck surgery on Facebook, complete with photos. She explained in part that it would be hard not to -- the change would be too obvious. And she looks so terrific and has been so open about it that some of the usual cosmetic-surgery shamers admitted they would love to get their necks fixed too.

Come on. If you were a person of a certain age who felt young yet looked tired and saggy, and you had the funds to fix your eyes or your neck or your jowls to look refreshed, and more like you feel inside, would you not?

Nobody has to go too far. The goal is to look age-appropriate; yourself, but better. And the key is to choose a good surgeon. Many of those cited as aging gracefully and not having surgery, just had good surgery.

But meanwhile, let's be aware that making fun of those who are trying to remain youthful can get into making fun of those who are no longer youthful. And maybe if there wasn't so much mean-spirited disrespect of older folks in general, perhaps there wouldn't be the perceived need for so much cosmetic surgery in our society, botched or not.