Kat Armstrong: Celebritease


Aging in Hollywood

Why do men get it so much easier?

I am sick. Possibly dying. Or maybe something died in my chest. Yet here I am, plugging away and sitting on these thoughts that have been driving me mad the last little while. It all started a few weeks ago when my friend Arianne and I were talking about all the gorgeous dads in La-la-land in prep for my Father's Day post. So many hot men. Bruce Willis came up, and we mentioned that his younger wife recently had a baby. A new (and handsome) Dad at 57. He even tweeted a lovely photo:

But where are all the sexy older Hollywood actresses? When I see these women (I'm thinking Sophia Loren, Jerri Hall, etc. etc.) they are often given the descriptor "former" Hollywood Siren. FORMER. Why is it that women turn, I dunno? 45? 50? And suddenly they were once a sex symbol but now "formerly" sexy. I know a LOT of very attractive, sexy women in their 40s, 50s and 60s. 

Yet somehow, even WHEN they are sexual, sexy beings, the machine works very hard at keeping them un-sexy. Case in point? 

Helen Goddamned Mirren. 

This is a VERY sexy woman with an outstanding resume...but in the last few years, has she played a sexy lead? Not really. She played Queen Elizabeth II INCREDIBLY well, but HRH is, let's face it, not quite an every-woman sex symbol. And when Dame Mirren goes to awards or events and looks this damned good, people are shocked! How can such a distinguished OLDER lady look so great? 

We age. I get it. None of us are getting any younger. But why the difference? Why is it that women feel this intense, soul-crushing pressure to be perfect when men (like Brucey up there) can lose some hair and put on 20 pounds and STILL be deemed uber-handsome? Part of this trend that I've also noticed lately is that many (not all) but many Hollywood women are getting thinner as they age. My mum always told me that as we aged, we needed a bit of extra weight (not a lot, but there is a natural body process) to fill in where our lost collagen stores have gone. But look at someone like Demi Moore or Angelina Jolie. As they approach and surpass 40, they get more and more skeletal. 

Demi is a crazy example of how terribly we treat aging women in Hollywood. She was a true leader for female actors—being the first woman to be paid over $10 million dollars for a film (which is a HUGE deal...she broke the glass ceiling in Hollywood! SHE DID!). But when her younger husband was busted cheating and they separated and divorced, which caused her enough emotional distress to end in drugs, alcohol and rehab, her charm, her ability and her prowess went out the window and she became a pathetic cougar clinging to her youth. 

This isn't something that's being force fed to us either. We buy the magazines, we read Perez. We consume this crap. That means our kids consume it somehow too. We are forcing all women into an unattainable goal search where we somehow end up younger and thinner as we age. This is not how life works, we all graduated from elementary school, right? Even by verbalizing something as trivial as, "Oh god, Demi looks AWFUL." we're openly buying into this system. And for what? It makes us feel bad about ourselves and it teaches our children—both the boys and the girls—that female self worth is rooted in youth and beauty. 

So this is my call to you. As parents. As the educators of the next generation. Let's keep up with the weird and wacky in Hollywood and let's keep laughing and being silly, but for the love all things that are good, let's try and stop with the subconscious negativity. Let's not put pity on women because they are doing the most natural thing in life. Let's not put older handsome men on a pedestal higher than high. Let's try a little balance...for our kid's sake. But more importantly for ours. 

Spill it! What do you think about aging in Hollywood?