Ain’t No Country for Old Women – Aging Broads in a bit of a Quandary

“Quit yer gazin’ ye olde geezer…”

NO bitching about aging. Seriously, not a word—unless you’re retaining water, sleep with an oscillating fan, and have to measure out food because of a metabolism gone awry.

Particularly you men out there, complaining that fifty sucks. Yeah, you! Just remember that most of you, (excluding chubby short men with receding hairlines) have the unfair advantage of aging gracefully. Yep, the old double standard is working for you, because at fifty, that gray hair and those facial lines will get you celebrated as a ‘distinguished silver fox’ while the pressure on us women to continue to look youthful, is intense, not to mention unaffordable for most. Let’s face it. In this society, women have had to adapt more than men. Um, yeah, they have.

Discrimination of aging women in the workforce is nothing new. Career opportunities have been taken away from women as they age for decades, but the entertainment industry takes the cake. Hollywood is fickle at best, catering to your every whim so long as you retain your youth and beauty—but age five years, and they’re poking fun of you and your middle-aged sexuality. Suddenly you are out of work and told you are worthless.

You don’t have to look very far to see the rejection for leading roles of all but a handful of vibrant actresses past the age of fifty, yet the Hollywood studios routinely cast much older male actors with prepubescent ladies as their romantic costars. Bordering on creepy in my opinion. They’ll think nothing of pairing an out of shape 50-something Russell Crowe, as a leading man, with a 20-something stunner like Olivia Wilde, when clearly someone of a hotter caliber deserves the likes of her. Not to take away from the Aussie’s sex appeal, in a not-so-young-anymore-kind-of-way, but hasn’t he had his fair share on the set?

And really, all you big Hollywood producer guys—and you know who you are: Do we really need to look at even older gentlemen such as Michael Douglas, Nick Nolte and Sean Connery feigning torrid acts on kitchen sinks and such, which they would no more do at their age than eat…oh, I don’t know, Quiche Lorraine?

Naysayers, imbeciles—men who think fifty is past their prime and only date women whose ideal is so mismatched with the ideal of themselves. Take a look in the mirror chumps! And you wonder why women feel a wee bit angry when they receive the message, directly or indirectly, that they’ve crossed the finish line.

Look at “poor” Demi Moore. Once a former icon, sex symbol, and trailblazer for women in Hollywood—and not too long ago, labeled a “pathetic image of insecurity and self-loathing,” one that we can relate to. Losing the battle with Mother Nature and beginning to show her true age, particularly in a town like Hollywood, had to have taken its toll. Add the element of abandonment, rejection, heartache and public scrutiny, and it’s no wonder she turned to substance abuse. We live in a youth-obsessed culture that teaches us at an early age that we are valued by our beauty, and there is no industry that reinforces that sentiment better than the film industry. Those bastards are brutal and unforgiving. “Aging is bad. Plastic surgery is good. Stay young and thin at any cost.”

Well, I’d like to say, a big juicy FUCK YOU to you Hollywood! Do I sound bitter? Well, I’m sure I have plenty of company.

When it comes to aging, we ‘older broads’ are in a bit of a quandary, to be sure—because despite seeing the danger and futility of valuing beauty too much, we just can’t help ourselves and fall victim to it, thanks to American culture, and our bigger is better mindset. Women’s beauty is a strange beast. It’s as addictive as crack. It changes the way people deal with you, making it exceptionally hard to give up the ghost and gracefully accept that you are no longer 20, 30, 40 or…. ahem, 50. It doesn’t help that at 40-something, you’ve got a grounded confidence, or that at 50-something, you have a clarity of intent. No one gives a shit.

Until you’re injected with Botox, fillers, and a host of other youth-oriented products to transform yourself into the trophy woman, you’re simply an aging woman in the eyes of society, and that just won’t do.

…I might as well wrap myself in a hideously crocheted shawl and go meekly into bun-wearingdom…sigh”

Why? Because society has two attitudes on aging. One for men and one for women. Men are allowed to age and women are not. Pretty black and white, wouldn’t you say? An older man showing visible signs of gray is praised—is looked upon as refined, dignified and showing maturity and wisdom. A woman displaying the same signs of gray however, is predictably seen in different lighting—clearly fluorescent. Apparently her ‘touch of gray’ gets her one foot in the grave.

Ain’t no justice in this here country of ours. Maybe it’s about time we learn a thing or two from our European neighbors, where there’s a greater acceptance of aging—where a woman can be considered beautiful at any age without having to reconstruct herself from head to toe.

When I get old, I’m moving to Europe, where aging is embraced, and old women are not only respected, but are encouraged to become as goofy as they want.

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