Boobs, Judgement, and Ageism in Hollywood
A few weeks ago, The SAG Awards aired and all anyone could talk about was Susan Sarandon's cleavage. She wore a white, double-breasted, buttoned-up Max Mara suit with a visible black bra underneath. And she looked great. And she freaked a lot of people out. Her cleavage and breasts were the target of some very mean and shaming comments:
Piers Morgan got the ball rolling with his tweet: "Very tacky, Ms Sarandon," following it up with, "No, what's tacky is deliberately flaunting your breasts on TV for publicity, during a tribute to dead stars."
And others joined in with:
"Note to #SusanSarandon: no one wants to see old cleavage. Put those things away already!"
"Looks like Susan Sarandon already won the SAG."
You get the idea. I believe that the reaction was so strong because Susan Sarandon is 69 and for some reason that makes it not OK for her to be a sexual being.
It's 2016, ladies, and yet we are not only encouraged to live up to a ridiculous (and manipulated) beauty ideal, we also have to live up to an age appropriate standard? Are you kidding me?
Ageism is rampant in Hollywood. One would hope that this wouldn't be the case - this is Hollywood after all. California - the liberal paradise. And yet it seems that Hollywood is mirroring society's views on how a woman should not only look, but on how a woman should act - decade by decade.
I was so disturbed by how mean the reaction was to Carrie Fisher in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. She was blasted with comments about how she hadn't aged well, how she was fat, how she was old.
She responded to the criticism by saying, “Nothing changes: it’s an appearance-driven thing. I’m in a business where the only thing that matters is weight and appearance. That is so messed up. They might as well say get younger, because that’s how easy it is.”
She also retweeted a supporter who wrote: “Men don’t age better than women, they’re just allowed to age.”
I just had a birthday. A big birthday. A milestone birthday. I turned 60 and dear God as I see what women experience, there is a part of me that wants to lie...to not face the cruelty and the judgement that comes with getting older as a woman.
The following is a quote from Annie Lennox about aging. I think it's particularly lovely:
"There’s this youth culture that is really, really powerful and really, really strong, but what it does is it really discards people once they reach a certain age. I actually think that people are so powerful and interesting – women, especially – when they reach my age. We’ve got so much to say, but popular culture is so reductive that we just talk about whether we’ve got wrinkles, or whether we’ve put on weight or lost weight, or whether we’ve changed our hair style. I just find that so shallow."
Helen Mirren also has a little advice to share:
"At 70 years old, if I could give my younger self one piece of advice, it would be to use the words "fuck off" much more frequently."
So to all the individuals laying judgement on we women as we struggle to be good enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, tall enough, young enough - as we stumble to find our way through the ridiculous standards that are placed on us - I'd just like to say, "Fuck off."