Thursday, September 06, 2007

Lines of Distinction

In the latest issue of Details magazine, which I haven’t read because a) I don’t think it’s out on newsstands yet and b) it’s Details, Brad Pitt apparently “opens up” about aging. Here’s what I’ve managed to gather from various entertainment sources: the forty-something actor basically says he’s not as pretty as he used to be, what with the wrinkles and the grey hair, and that he’s developing what in Hollywood passes for a paunch. Because, shocking revelation, the older one gets, the harder it is to keep off the pounds.

And he’s perfectly fine with that.

Can you imagine those same words tripping off the tongue of any of his female peers? Hardly. They’re all too busy starving themselves, working out 6 hours a day, having their fat sucked, their boobs lifted, their tummies tucked, their lips plumped, their cheeks nipped and their foreheads frozen with botulism. Anything to maintain the illusion of eternal youth. It would be positively revolutionary for any of them to take Mr. Pitt’s stance (or that of George Clooney, whose career hasn’t exactly been hurt by his salt-and-pepper mane).

I did a term paper in high school on the treatment of women in Hollywood. I remember a quote from Jane Fonda (I think), delivered sometime in the ‘60s or ‘70s: “Women get crow’s feet; men get lines of distinction.”

Clearly we have not come a long way baby. And partly we have ourselves to blame. It’s one thing for someone like Jamie Lee Curtis, whose career is frankly beyond its prime, to boldly pose for a magazine sans photo shopping and make-up. It would be another for an A-list, glamour-aholic like Nicole Kidman or Cate Blanchett to actually wield the supposed power of their $20 million paychecks and behave like a mature woman: toss out the Botox, have a slice of cheesecake, and stop feeding the adolescent fantasies of male producers, directors, studio heads, clothing designers, et al. And yet she and the rest of her kind don’t. Meanwhile we—the average American female—pay the price, holding ourselves (and being held) to their standard, which, without a superstar’s fortune and resources, we can’t possibly hope to achieve.

If Brad Pitt gets to have belly fat and laugh lines, why can’t we?


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