Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Why Don't Women Go Gray

There is a post up on Black voices that shows the supposed hottest Black men going gray.

 I went to check it out, because I am always open to a little eye candy.  When I read the following, my enjoyment stopped:
How do men seem to get more handsome with age as women scramble to the doctor to get rid of every little wrinkle? Ladies and gentlemen, take note: going gray can be hot, and more and more celebs are shelving their boxes of Just for Men and embracing age.
Are they fucking serious?  Have they never heard of a little thing called sexism and ageism?  Women in Hollywood are making the decision to avoid walking around with obvious age markers because their careers depend on it.  How many great roles are there for women in their 40's or 50's? Women in that age bracket are often forced to play roles far older than what they are, and it is seen as acceptable and yet we have had stars like wife beating Sean Connery and Harrison Ford playing action heroes well into their senior years.  Somehow that is not seen as ridiculous claptrap.

It does not take courage for a man to look his age, because even in an area that is highly dependent on physical beauty, like film or music industries, patriarchy still reigns supreme.  Men are still expected to stay trim and in shape to play the sexy lead, but the expectations upon them come nowhere near those placed upon women.  Men are even more likely to get recurring character roles like Steve Bushemi (Empire Boardwalk) than women are to get a single part.  Bushemi can concentrate on working on his craft, but can you imagine for one moment a woman looking like him not being forced to do things like fix her teeth or even out her skin?  Where is the female equivalent to a Bushemi?


Women that are beyond conventionally beautiful are regularly photoshopped.  The media invents flaws and then makes sure to erase them, making it difficult to have a clear perception of what a real woman is supposed to look like.  How many times have we seen women's waists trimmed to the point that if the image actually represented a real person, she would be dying because of an inability to support her weight? Hips are continually narrowed as well.  Any markers that reveal age are carefully removed, giving us a false idea of what a mature adult woman looks like.

Even if a woman decided to go gray, how long do you think it would be before she was shamed into using dye or magazine editors ran to photoshop, to make her image appropriate for publication?  Women simply do not have the freedom to age without criticism in the way that men do, and that is why we don't see more starlets running around with gray hair and avoiding the plastic surgeons table.

Reading the article in Blackvoices pissed me off to no end.  Once again, women are being shamed while men are being uplifted.  I am sure many women would love to throw off the beauty regime. It is damn expensive and disheartening to the soul in a lot of cases, but until patriarchy loses its grip and capitalism can no longer make a profit shaming women, I don't expect to see it happen anytime soon.