The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

Posts Tagged ‘ageing’

Old Women Are Funny, An Ongoing Series

Posted by Clem Bastow on October 1, 2008

The Dawn Chorus has occasionally dipped its toe in the waters of how the media treats older women – in short, if you’re not “hot“, you must be weird looking and ugly. So maybe this little corker from My Ticketmaster’s mail-out for a special offer on tickets to Menopause: The Musical can be brushed off as “humour”:

Granted, the musical pokes fun at the concept of menopause and plays with the (mis)conceptions surrounding “the things that happen to women”, as Dr Derek Llewellen Jones put it.

But is it too much to dream of a day when old women don’t have to be hilarious, or hot, or cronelike, and instead are celebrated for being the wise, amazing women they are?


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Dame Helen Mirren’s Red Bikini: It’s Okay To Be Old, So Long As You’re “Hot”

Posted by Clem Bastow on July 24, 2008

(Note: If you haven’t seen the photos of Dame Helen Mirren on holidays in her red bikini yet, have a look, lest the rest of this post make no sense.)

I’ve to’ed and fro’ed over the whole “OMG Helen Mirren in a bikini!” fuss for the past week – there’s no doubt that Mirren looks smashing in her swimsuit, but it’s the media and blogosphere’s reaction that bothers me, because the not-so-hidden undertones to the coverage essentially say, “See, we’ll put a 63-year-old woman in our paper! (Provided she looks ‘hot’.)”

If Mirren stepped out in a bikini with equal confidence but instead showed off varicose veins, a sagging bosom or crepey skin, you can bet your boots the papers would be howling, “Put some clothes on, nanna!”

And while much of the coverage purports to be batting for visibility on behalf of older women, I can’t help but feel as though all this does is exert yet more pressure on women – both older and younger – who don’t manage to fit into that small and unforgiving genre of appearance known as “hot”.

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Posted in body image, Celebrity, Media Watch | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Older Women Are Funny Looking!

Posted by Clem Bastow on July 17, 2008

As though it weren’t already hard enough for women over the age of about, oh, 45 to have any visibility whatsoever these days, it seems the media will permit you a few appearances during your “twilight years”, provided they can make fun of you.

To wit, this exemplary piece of entertainment journalism from Monday’s MX “newspaper”:

Geddit? Because she’s wrinkly and old! Just like Yoda! Pfft.

Lookalike and ‘Separated At Birth’ features used to be a bit of lighthearted fun, featuring actually interesting similarities, like Michelle Williams/Shelley Winters and so forth. But more and more these days – thanks to my favourite gossip blogger Perez Hilton, and that fucking “SJP looks like a horse” site – it’s a chance to stick the boot into stars, largely women, who don’t fit the bill when it comes to what is considered acceptable, appearance-wise.

Posted in body image, Celebrity, Media Watch | Tagged: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

The Age: Office Stress Makes You Haggard… Or Something

Posted by Clem Bastow on July 1, 2008

They just keep kicking goals at the Fairfax Digital sites and today’s bit of photo editor brilliance comes from The Age. This article (syndicated from The Guardian) is about dealing with office stress, and how best to approach working with passive aggressive types; all good, sensible stuff.

But watch out, ladies, because those passive aggressive emails could be making you UGLY! Or at least, that’s what the accompanying image seems to be telling us:

“Mmm, that’s much better! Since I confronted my passive aggressive co-worker, my fine lines have been visibly reduced by up to 86% and I am free to wear this flattering beige lip-gloss again!”

Why is it that generic/stock photo images chosen to accompany business articles are so often a) perpetuating sexist gender stereotypes and b) totally pointless?

Posted in Sexist Stock Photo Watch | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »