Sarah Jessica Parker and Andy Cohen
I’ve been thinking about this picture and story behind it more and more lately.
For those that aren’t familiar with the story…. Paparazzi snapped this pic recently of Sarah Jessica Parker and Andy Cohen having lunch. SJP and Andy are close friends. Both are around the same age and both have gray hair.
My eye was drawn to her and immediately I thought… “Yikes, she doesn’t look so good.”
I am really ashamed I felt that way. Admittedly, this is not the best picture of her, BUT… I am left questioning…why did I single SJP out and hardly even notice Andy?? It’s the same reason why so many people (mostly women) left nasty comments about her and yet, hardly any about Andy Cohen.
It’s what I’ve known, but denied for a long time. Our society is ageist. Myself included.
And Just Like That
With the new show And Just Like That… (a followup to the beloved Sex And The City series) on HBO Max, there has been a lot of negative feedback on social media surrounding the show. (And, I’m not referring to the storyline, which admittedly, is not as good as I had hoped. They are trying to cram in too much political correctness, in my opinion) I am talking about negative feedback about the women on the show and specifically comments about their appearance. Even those in my orbit say things like, “Oh, that show won’t do well” or “they’re a little too old” when describing the actors. Would anyone describe George Clooney or Brad Pitt that way? The answer is no. The new series tackles mortality, aging, relationships and parenting, among other things that naturally come into our lives as we get older. It’s something you don’t see much of on TV and I think it fills a very important void. The show makes me feel seen and represented.
The societal ageism goes way beyond …”Oh, she’s not looking great.” It also affects many women’s careers. I remember working in TV news and thinking, “Ok, if I go the on-air route, I probably have until I’m in my 50’s before they get rid of me.” That was my actual thought process and why I shifted to behind the scenes and then eventually left the business.
Even when I first started blogging I was about to turn 40 and I remember thinking, I better make this work quickly because I fed into the beliefs that a woman isn’t relevant beyond 40. Our society worships youth and casts off women as they age.
I found even more startling stats from a site called Catalyst.org:
- When job hunting, older women experience more employment rejections than older men.
- From 2007 to 2013, the unemployment rate for older women (over 65) spiked from 14% to 50%.
- Women are almost twice as likely as men to feel compelled to dye their hair.
- Forbes reported that in 2020 for every dollar a man makes, a woman makes .81 cents
How to Make a Difference
There are a few things you can do to create real change.
- You can speak up like SJP and Kristin Davis did when people say something ageist. (Davis also fielded many attacks on social media regarding her appearance.)
2. You can question your own thoughts and beliefs when it comes to aging… the way I did when I saw that original photo of SJP and Andy Cohen
3. You can be supportive of mature women on social media and other platforms regardless whether they have opted to go the all-natural aging path or the botox, fillers route.
Real change begins with each one of us making the choice to question the system and ourselves… developing the desire for equality. Real change begins when we all know that we deserve better.
Thank you for reading… Please share your thoughtful comments about this topic below.
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