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Post-print of: Cooke, G 2008, 'Effacing the face: botox and the anarchivic archive'. Body and Society, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 23-38

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At the 2003 Oscar Awards, a little-known production team from Melbourne, Australia won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film, for a film entitled Harvie Krumpet (Elliot, 2003). Afterwards the producer, Melanie Coombs, noted that attending the Oscars was ‘like being at Madame Tussaud’s except they were live people’ (Loane, 2004: 25). Coombs’ comment appeared in a short opinion article by Sally Loane in the Sun Herald, entitled ‘Come on Mum, it’s Botox Time’. Loane contextualized Coombs’ statement in terms of the effects of Botox, and its dramatic appearance in circles such as entertainment, fashion, beauty and Hollywood cinema. From Coombs’ comments, an image emerged of a group of actors who, as a result of their use of Botox (or whatever other cosmetic treatments are or were in vogue), no longer looked like ‘live’ people. Coombs knew they were ‘live’ people, but they appeared as if they were not. No names were named, and no fingers directly pointed; they were a ‘they’, and whoever they were, to the eye of an independent Australian film producer, they appeared as characters from Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum, caricatures of themselves, testaments to their own memories while they were still alive....

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