Female celebrities are sick and tired of the public calling out their aging from Charlize Theron, Kristin Davis and Sarah Jessica Parker. Women are pissed that they can’t age without shame and you should be upset too.
In an interview with Allure, Theron, who is 48, said that her face is changing and she loves that but “people think I had a facelift. They’re like, ‘What did she do to her face?’ I’m like, ‘B***h, I’m just aging! It doesn’t mean I got bad plastic surgery. This is just what happens.'”
It’s clearly rooted in our culture’s discomfort seeing women we perceive in a certain desirable light naturally just change into someone we don’t recognize.
Theron isn’t the only one feeling the public pressure about natural aging. Recently longtime “Sex in the City” leading lady, Kristin Davis, 58, has reprised her role as Charlotte on “And Just Like That…” The spinoff follows the infamous friends as middle-aged 50somethings Carrie, Charlotte and Miranda in the city, dealing with their families, careers and love.
But since her return to the character more than a decade after the original series ended, Davis has said, “It’s hard to be confronted with your younger self at all times. And it’s a challenge to remember that you don’t have to look like that. The internet wants you to — but they also don’t want you to. They’re very conflicted.” Theron also shared that it’s difficult to reckon with how documented her physical body is throughout the decades of aging.
Davis’ co-star Sarah Jessica Parker has also expressed the same sentiment since returning to the iconic Carrie in “And Just Like That…” The 58-year-old told Vogue Magazine that “it almost feels as if people don’t want us to be perfectly OK with where we are, as if they almost enjoy us being pained by who we are today, whether we choose to age naturally and not look perfect, or whether you do something if that makes you feel better,” she continued. “I know what I look like. I have no choice. What am I going to do about it? Stop aging? Disappear?”
All of these women have had to publicly comment on something as natural as aging because the general consensus cannot fandom that women will look different from how they did when they were in their 20s. It’s absurd they’ve had to defend themselves from the onslaught of criticism because it’s clearly rooted in our culture’s discomfort seeing women we perceive in a certain desirable light naturally just change into someone we don’t recognize or what our idealizations no longer can associate with.
If a woman then buckles under the pressure to slow down the process of aging through cosmetic surgery or through enhancements like Botox or filler — the same people who pick and pick at women who are naturally aging in the public eye protest against any cosmetic enhancements. They regurgitate their hypocritical stance that the person looked perfectly normal and was aging gracefully before the filler, Botox or surgery.
Davis, who has been open about her cosmetic work, said: “I have done fillers and it’s been good, and I’ve done fillers and it’s been bad,” she shared. “I’ve had to get them dissolved, and I’ve been ridiculed relentlessly.”
This stance is incredibly unfair to actresses like Davis who has been in the industry for decades and succumbed to the pressure to change what she looks like in order to continue to be bookable. There is an age limit to female success and longevity in Hollywood — a woman’s desirability is a ticking time bomb when she hits a certain age.
In response to criticism surrounding Davis’ fillers and physical appearance changing, she said “Everybody is doing the best they can do, and everyone can make their own choices, right? But you don’t criticize everybody else for their choices, or their mistakes or whatever it is. That’s not helping you. It’s not helping them.”
Looks fade, and the world is brutally harsh to women.
I am in no way a fan or supporter of choice feminism. This type of feminism is defined by 34th Street Magazine: “as the idea that any action or decision that a woman takes inherently becomes a feminist act.” I think the idea that every woman’s choices are inherently feminist is a fundamental misunderstanding of what feminism looks like for working-class, nonwhite and everyday women. These female celebrities are rich, white and have every tool at their disposal to slow down the aging process no matter the monetary and physical cost.
So I don’t necessarily agree that everyone’s choice is something you have respect as an observer of culture. I especially don’t abide by these rules when rich, famous white women are telling us their choices are something to respect when their choices have a larger impact in upholding white European beauty standards. But I certainly understand and empathize with them because their choices are a result of a larger evil that is inflicted on women every day that even rich, white famous women have to grapple with too: Looks fade, and the world is brutally harsh to women.
As fans and critics of celebrities, we widely accept when a male celebrity like George Clooney grows into his grays or puts on a few pounds, sporting a dad-bod. Theron said: “I’ve always had issues with the fact that men kind of age like fine wines and women like cut flowers. I despise that concept and I want to fight against it, but I also think women want to age in a way that feels right to them.”
Theron’s right. I think it is fair for all women to want to enjoy their aging on their own terms — aging does not have to be inherently political or feminist. Aging the way you want to is one of life’s pleasures that is a luxury and a privilege we should all revel in, celebrate and cherish.