What Joe Jonas’s Botox revelation says about male beauty

What Joe Jonas’s Botox revelation says about male beauty | Soho House

One third of the Jonas trinity has revealed that he has regular injectable touch-ups, but what does it mean in a wider context? Teo van den Broeke investigates

Wednesday 24 August 2022   By Teo van den Broeke

A few years ago, when I asked my dermatologist (yes I have a dermatologist, I’m not a neanderthal) whether he thought I needed a touch-up, he looked at me and scowled, before saying ‘you’re far too young to have Botox’. I was 33 at the time, the same age as Jesus was when he died, and I really felt like the lines around my eyes could do with a little soothing, but I took the doctor at his word – more nervous of his judgement than anything else – and scuttled back home to let gravity and blue light continue their miserable ministry.

Now, at 35, I’m two years older than Joe Jonas, one third of the dynastic trinity of the same name, who recently revealed publicly that he has regular Botox touch-ups. Jonas even appeared in an infomercial for Botox alternative Xeomin, ‘a smart toxin’; both putting his shining visage forward as a guinea pig for the product, and placing it on the packaging.

My first reaction when I saw the advert was, of course, to pause it and zoom in on Jonas’s face. It really is extraordinarily smooth, boasting the flawless planes of a Saharan sand dune pictured from a distance. He looks exactly the same as he did seven years ago when he released ‘Cake By The Ocean’ as part of DNCE, and seems no less perky or expressive for his touch-ups, either. 

My second reaction was, naturally, to check my own reflection in contrast to Jonas’s. As I pulled my desk lamp closer to my face and inspected my skin through the unforgiving lens of my camera phone, I noticed the hollowness under my eyes and the crow’s feet stepped in beside them. My skin looked like a well-used chamois leather drying out after a car wash, and I couldn’t help but feel annoyed with my dermatologist about it. 

My third reaction was more guttural. I felt a surge of embarrassment for Jonas, followed by an emotion that could most closely be described as revulsion. But why? If it was a famous woman who had admitted to having Botox, I wouldn’t have batted an eyelid – but a straight man? My knee-jerk response, I’m ashamed to admit, was one of disgust. 

The truth is that the stigma around male vanity, which has prevailed since the days when David Beckham was denounced by the red tops for daring to dye his hair and wear a sarong on holiday, remains as steadfast as it ever has. ‘He’s a hypocrite!’ Screeched certain media outlets in relation to Jonas’s revelation, proving, in my opinion, that men taking care of their appearance in such a ‘drastic’ way remains antithetical to the Western world’s preferred conception of masculinity.

Looking more closely at the celebrity ether, it’s nigh on impossible to find a famous man, beyond Jonas, who’s admitted to having Botox. Simon Cowell was the only one who appeared when I engaged in a light Google. Cowell admitted several years ago to having had ‘too much’ of the treatment in the past, ‘because everyone in TV has it’. 

Which is mad, given that so many real men are openly having Botox. In the US, in particular, use among the male populace has been gathering pace in recent years. In 2019, Botox injections were reported as the most popular aesthetic treatment for men, with 473,354 treatments taking place. That was up 5% from 2018 and over 400% since the year 2000. 

Anecdotally speaking, several of my male friends over the age of 40 (all of whom, admittedly, work in the media) openly confessed to me that they’d had Botox, when asked. When it came to my close male friends who don’t work in the media, both of them straight, they admitted that they’d toyed with the idea, though neither actually confessed to going through with it (hmmm).

Whether you’re a man or a woman, famous or otherwise, there are, of course, many arguments for and against Botox. In the latter camp, people tend to worry that the long-term effects of injecting paralysis poison into your face are unknown and that one’s facial expressions may be lost in the process of having the treatment. The arguments in the former camp, however, are equally persuasive: the main one being that Botox actually provides what it offers on the tin – so long as it’s administered correctly – and if you don’t like the results, well, they’ll naturally fade in just a few months anyway.

Personally, I’m slightly embarrassed to admit (again, why?) that Jonas’s revelation has made me think twice about my own position on Botox. My face is definitely a bit droopier than it was a few years ago – particularly when I don’t get enough sleep – and knowing that I can help it along in the process of looking fresher without doing any damage, à la dune-faced Jonas, then I certainly feel more inclined to do so than I (or should that be: my dermatologist) ever did.

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