Women's Issues

Esquire Shocked To Find Hot, Gorgeous Women Over 40 Hot and Gorgeous

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jpegWhen I saw the Headline, In Praise Of The 42-Year-Old Woman on an Esquire link this morning, I had little hope that this article, written by a man, would make me feel any other emotion besides rage. I was wrong. It was too stupid to elicit rage.

Let’s face it: There used to be something tragic about even the most beautiful forty-two-year-old woman. With half her life still ahead of her, she was deemed to be at the end of something—namely, everything society valued in her, other than her success as a mother. If she remained sexual, she was either predatory or desperate; if she remained beautiful, what gave her beauty force was the fact of its fading. And if she remained alone… well, then God help her.

And so it begins. Tom Junod tries to understand how women have pushed back against the shallow constraints society has always imposed upon the ticking time-bomb that is their age and beauty. How have they conquered the stresses and stereotypes of age? By working out and staying beautiful of course! Spoiler alert; there’s nothing alluring about a 42-year-old woman unless she manages to look 30.

Mrs. Robinson was forty-two. And so if you want to see how our conception of forty-two-year-old women has changed over the last five decades, simply imagine The Graduate remade today, with Cameron Diaz in the part made famous by Anne Bancroft. Or Sofia Vergara… Or any of the forty-two-year-old women now gracing our culture… In the right hands, it would be funny; but even in the wrong hands it couldn’t get away with what Mike Nichols and Dustin Hoffman got away with: a movie that turned on the hero’s disgust with himself for having an affair with a forty-two-year-old woman.

In actuality, Mrs. Robinson wasn’t 42. Bancroft was 36 when she played the role that would become synonymous with “predatory old sex fiend” forever. She was just six years older than Hoffman in “real life.” And while we’re on the subject, did we see the same movie? Because I’m pretty sure Hoffman’s character was disgusted by the fact he was sleeping with his fiancé’s mother – not because he was putting his penis in what Junod clearly thinks is a dried up old vagina.

What is the point of declaring that 42-year-old women are sexy now, and holding up images of movie stars who have all but defied aging completely? Junod doesn’t mean 42-year-old women are “sexy” – he means they are doing a great job looking younger and younger every year.

And yet forty-two-year-old women are not enjoying some kind of scientific triumph but rather one of political and personal will. A few generations ago, a woman turning forty-two was expected to voluntarily accept the shackles of biology and convention; now it seems there is no one in our society quite so determined to be free. Conservatives still attack feminism with the absurd notion that it makes its adherents less attractive to men; in truth, it is feminism that has made forty-two-year-old women so desirable.

Oh, it’s feminism that makes us sexy! Thank God you threw that bit in because I was beginning to think you were a caveman with a teenage mail-order bride at home. Junod simply can’t see past the body – but in attempt to pretend that he can, he peppers his article with some clever catch words like “feminism,” “freedom,” and “smarts.”

It bears mentioning that the writer himself is 55 and just getting around to realizing that he finds women nearly fifteen years younger than him attractive. What’s the matter Tom, are 24-year-olds not impressed with literary awards these days?

Better hit the gym, dude.

(photo: Tumblr)