The Age Double Standard, and Why It Makes Sense

 

My beloved sent this to me this morning. Color me surprised. Madonna is at it again. Being at least partially naked somewhere, talking about how sexy she is, trying to get more likes.

I get it. At 63, it’s probably difficult for even an “icon” like her to get the attention she was used to back in the ’80s and ’90s. She’s had a great run. But when we see pictures of her now, she’s either so made up as to be unrecognizable or else she’s haggard and awful-looking. Now, I’m pretty lackluster when it comes to my makeup and fashion sense. I will never win any awards. However, I’m also not in the public eye.

The article goes on to talk about the harshness of the double standard and how Mick Jagger was talked about (recently!) in terms of his sexiness and appeal, how the Sexiest Man Alive is 52 (Paul Rudd is Benjamin Buttoning his life), and how Sean Connery was regularly held as a sex symbol well through his 60s and 70s.

I thought about it and how unfair it is (and it truly is) but then also came to another realization: These men are not having plastic surgery. These men are not changing their appearances so much in the name of youth that they have become gross parodies of their former selves. When they do, men are similarly slighted.

Let us look at the examples of men with plastic surgery or suspected of having “work done”:

Barry Manilow. Clearly in the one shot, he’s doing a show and has his full face of makeup on. But you can see by the way the lines around his eyes are pulling that it’s not natural aging.

Burt Reynolds. Yeah. Just … yeah.Burt Reynolds Plastic Surgery Before and After Facelift ...

Blogging news around world..: Burt Reynolds Plastic ...Kenny Rogers. Oof.

Wayne Newton? I won’t even bother with the picture of Mickey Rourke.

Ultimately, when women or men use extreme procedures to look younger, society takes note. Most of the time, men are more ridiculed than women because they’re supposed to age normally and get sexier with every wrinkle. Women are looked upon as tragic aging creatures compelled to reverse time to maintain their jobs. While it isn’t incorrect (women over 30 in Hollywood become the “moms” in the movies), it can be really, really offensive to the eye. Subtle changes over time are better tolerated by society since it is just “upkeep.”

I think the real concern here is that there’s a general affront to trying to reverse time as opposed to just stalling it or “living healthy” in order to “maintain one’s appearance.” A little Botox can be explained away as a great facial, lighting, or even a new vegetarian diet. A little liposuction? A new workout regimen. But a facelift, nose job, or extreme surgery cannot be explained away quite so easily and appears to be desperate.

This is true for both men and women.

Yes, it is harder for women, and there is a double standard that women continue to look as young as possible as long as possible. But let’s look at some people without work done who are choosing to age gracefully (and are still getting jobs).

Dame Helen Mirren, for one:

HELEN MIRREN at HBO Golden Globes Awards After-party 01/05 ...

Andie MacDowell embraces her naturally grey hair at Cannes ...

Andie MacDowell, rocking the gray hair and still looking amazing …

Pierce (“I have a normal wife”) Brosnan: Pierce Brosnan Talks About His Exit from James Bond ...

Then we can look at the other side. When men in the public eye get work done, people notice. Hollywood gossip mavens recently ridiculed Tom Cruise for looking so different (and probably having had work done), so even Cruise isn’t exempt. Even with the power of Scientology behind him.

Tom Cruise pictured for the first time in a month since ...

In the end, yes, there’s a double standard. Yes, women have it harder (overall) with the pressure to maintain shape, to stay svelte, sexy, desirable, and wrinkle-free for their lives. It is true. But do not think that when men take aging to task that they’re exempt from public ridicule and scrutiny. Sure, there’s more of a chance of a man over the age of 40 being on the Sexiest Man Alive issue. But there’s also more of a chance that you’ll see more Instagram posts of starlets past their prime trying to show off their new work and become relevant again.

Whenever you see these things and think about the double standard, think about why, think about how, and try to remember that plastic surgery is only getting cheaper. Girls just past 18 are getting “baby Botox” to prevent wrinkles from ever forming. Teenagers are getting boob jobs. Just remember that Hollywood isn’t real life; but it does inform real life, and it does influence the next generation. If we do not start to really examine these trends and make commentary about aging, there’s a good chance that there will be a generation of youngsters that are horrified by aging. The men will expect the women to be frozen in appearance from their 20s while their fertility wanes (because actual biology always catches up). Women will continue to forgive men their aging and treat them like fine wines to be cherished … the ones that do not find ways to prevent their own aging. Society will become even more lopsided in favor of the haves, as we will be able to tell one’s wealth immediately: It will be written across their smooth, baby-soft face.

If you thought the double standard was bad now, there’s so much more opportunity for it to get worse.

And just think: With technological advances, we can look forward to many more Instagram posts from a scantily clad Madonna for the next 10-20 years!

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  1. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    TheRightNurse: And just think: with technological advances, we can look forward to many more Instagram posts from a scantily clad Madonna for the next 10-20 years!

    Eek!

    • #1
  2. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

     

    Just a little eye candy for some.

    • #2
  3. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Arahant (View Comment):

    TheRightNurse: And just think: with technological advances, we can look forward to many more Instagram posts from a scantily clad Madonna for the next 10-20 years!

    Eek!

    Hey, my wife is just one day younger than Madonna, and she looks ten years younger!  Me?  I’m 26 days older than Madonna, and……….. let’s just say that I don’t have as much hair as I used to……. except on my back!

    • #3
  4. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Arahant (View Comment):

     

    Just a little eye candy for some.

    A skirt?  Wow! I dinnit know that Sean was one of those pansy boys! 

    • #4
  5. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    I’ll just remain my sexy self. And keep the visor down.

    • #5
  6. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    A skirt?  Wow! I dinnit know that Sean was one of those pansy boys!

    Oh, dear. Now you’ve done it, Sigeweard!

    • #6
  7. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    A skirt? Wow! I dinnit know that Sean was one of those pansy boys!

    Oh, dear. Now you’ve done it, Sigeweard!

    That’s right!  Sigeweard just shows that I have British Anglo-Saxon roots, and we’ve had a ruddy unpleasant coexistence with the Scots for the last 800 years!

    • #7
  8. Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker Moderator
    Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker
    @AmySchley

    I’d also add that if any older man, work done or not, were to pose the way Madonna did in that photoshoot, they’d be mocked. Paul Rudd isn’t lying on a bed in very tight briefs, nipples exposed, with a “come and screw me” expression. Her picture make Burt Reynolds’ bearskin rug picture look dignified. Madonna’s photo reads “desperate to convince you she’s still 25,” and that just isn’t sexy.

    Take a woman in her fifties or sixties, put her in a draped translucent nightgown with a flirty smile leaning on the post of a poster bed, and she’d get a very different reaction. Dignity and confidence is far more sexy than displaying oneself as a slab of meat, not that anything in Madonna’s history suggests she understands the value of subtlety and leaving something to the imagination.

    • #8
  9. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    That’s right!  Sigeweard just shows that I have British Anglo-Saxon roots, and we’ve had a ruddy unpleasant coexistence with the Scots for the last 800 years!

    Yes, watch out for Percival, though. He plays on both sides depending on where the looting is best.

    Yours,

    • #9
  10. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker (View Comment):

    Dignity and confidence is far more sexy than displaying oneself as a slab of meat,…

    I love that comment, LOL!

    • #10
  11. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    A skirt? Wow! I dinnit know that Sean was one of those pansy boys!

    Oh, dear. Now you’ve done it, Sigeweard!

    Well, I was trying to decide which picture of JY to post as evidence of men improving with age … you guys made the choice easy.

     

    Here’s JY posing as the super hero he is (I think we were sitting around making Conan quotes. As usual)

    • #11
  12. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    I realize this is completely off-topic, but I find Madonna roughly as appetizing today as I did when she first appeared on the scene. She is a blight on music, stardom, feminism, and culture in general. 

    Needed to get that off my chest because generally that stringy chicken-woman rarely comes up in conversation. 

    • #12
  13. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    That’s right! Sigeweard just shows that I have British Anglo-Saxon roots, and we’ve had a ruddy unpleasant coexistence with the Scots for the last 800 years!

    Yes, watch out for Percival, though. He plays on both sides depending on where the looting is best.

    Yours,

    Holy Moly, you’re talking  Chinese now.  As for Percy, a guy who hangs out with King Arthur can’t be all bad!

    • #13
  14. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    A skirt? Wow! I dinnit know that Sean was one of those pansy boys!

    Oh, dear. Now you’ve done it, Sigeweard!

    Well, I was trying to decide which picture of JY to post as evidence of men improving with age … you guys made the choice easy.

     

    More proud men in skirts.  Is this a conservative website or what?!

    • #14
  15. TBA Coolidge
    TBA
    @RobtGilsdorf

    Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker (View Comment):

    I’d also add that if any older man, work done or not, were to pose the way Madonna did in that photoshoot, they’d be mocked.

    Pursuant to above: 

    • #15
  16. Steven Seward Member
    Steven Seward
    @StevenSeward

    TBA (View Comment):

    Amy Schley, Longcat Shrinker (View Comment):

    I’d also add that if any older man, work done or not, were to pose the way Madonna did in that photoshoot, they’d be mocked.

    Pursuant to above:

    OMG! 

    • #16
  17. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    You started off your story about Madonna but no picture? You are right about all of it. We’re youth-obsessed, creams, potions, lip injections, intravenous vitamins, tattooed eyebrows, liposuction, hormone therapy.  Like the COVID vaccine, it’s all temporary and there are side effects, sometimes serious, especially with hormone therapy. I have never been a fan of Madonna, and she keeps getting worse. She married Guy Ritchie in a Scottish castle but never lived the rest of the fairy tale. The best makeup is a content and peaceful soul.

    • #17
  18. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    You started off your story about Madonna but no picture? You are right about all of it. We’re youth-obsessed, creams, potions, lip injections, intravenous vitamins, tattooed eyebrows, liposuction, hormone therapy. Like the COVID vaccine, it’s all temporary and there are side effects, sometimes serious, especially with hormone therapy. I have never been a fan of Madonna, and she keeps getting worse. She married Guy Ritchie in a Scottish castle but never lived the rest of the fairy tale. The best makeup is a content and peaceful soul.

    To quote my dear departed mother, who could be shallow and deep at the same time:

    You have GOT to get a handle on your stress. It’s going to kill you … and your looks will go.

    • #18
  19. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    That’s right! Sigeweard just shows that I have British Anglo-Saxon roots, and we’ve had a ruddy unpleasant coexistence with the Scots for the last 800 years!

    Yes, watch out for Percival, though. He plays on both sides depending on where the looting business climate is best.

    Yours,

    FIFY.

    • #19
  20. She Member
    She
    @She

    Fine post. It’s Kenny Rogers, BTW.

    • #20
  21. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    whoops.

    • #21
  22. TheRightNurse Member
    TheRightNurse
    @TheRightNurse

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    You started off your story about Madonna but no picture? You are right about all of it. We’re youth-obsessed, creams, potions, lip injections, intravenous vitamins, tattooed eyebrows, liposuction, hormone therapy. Like the COVID vaccine, it’s all temporary and there are side effects, sometimes serious, especially with hormone therapy. I have never been a fan of Madonna, and she keeps getting worse. She married Guy Ritchie in a Scottish castle but never lived the rest of the fairy tale. The best makeup is a content and peaceful soul.

    That picture is NSFW or Ricochet, for that matter.  Gone are the days of this:

    Arm wrestle, anyone? Madonna's muscles look more fearsome ...

    I’m pretty sure she’s had other work done to round things out and make her less angular.  

    #madonna from Tell Tales

    And that’s just her face.  You can google about her butt implants if you want, but given how crazy muscular/thin her body was, she had to have had something added to create curves (or sex appeal).

     

    • #22
  23. Chris O Coolidge
    Chris O
    @ChrisO

    Arahant (View Comment):

    TheRightNurse: And just think: with technological advances, we can look forward to many more Instagram posts from a scantily clad Madonna for the next 10-20 years!

    Eek!

    Precisely the reply I had in mind. And, by the way, we’ll be sexist/age-ist (sage-ist?) if we don’t like those posts.

    • #23
  24. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    As for Percy, a guy who hangs out with King Arthur can’t be all bad!

    His family were Borderers.

    • #24
  25. TheRightNurse Member
    TheRightNurse
    @TheRightNurse

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Front Seat Cat (View Comment):

    You started off your story about Madonna but no picture? You are right about all of it. We’re youth-obsessed, creams, potions, lip injections, intravenous vitamins, tattooed eyebrows, liposuction, hormone therapy. Like the COVID vaccine, it’s all temporary and there are side effects, sometimes serious, especially with hormone therapy. I have never been a fan of Madonna, and she keeps getting worse. She married Guy Ritchie in a Scottish castle but never lived the rest of the fairy tale. The best makeup is a content and peaceful soul.

    To quote my dear departed mother, who could be shallow and deep at the same time:

    You have GOT to get a handle on your stress. It’s going to kill you … and your looks

    Steven Seward (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Steven Seward (View Comment):
    A skirt? Wow! I dinnit know that Sean was one of those pansy boys!

    Oh, dear. Now you’ve done it, Sigeweard!

    Well, I was trying to decide which picture of JY to post as evidence of men improving with age … you guys made the choice easy.

     

    More proud men in skirts. Is this a conservative website or what?!

    Kilts, you fool!

    Other men aging well in kilts:

    Sam Heughan ('Outlander') vuelve a ponerse la falda escocesa

    Famous Men in Kilts Quiz - By ihadfuntoday

    Celebrities In Kilts | Kilts, Rod Stewart and Pennies | Rod stewart,  Celebrities, Kilt

    • #25
  26. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    She (View Comment):

    Fine post. It’s Kenny Rogers, BTW.

    Forget it. She’s rolling.

    • #26
  27. TheRightNurse Member
    TheRightNurse
    @TheRightNurse

    She (View Comment):

    Fine post. It’s Kenny Rogers, BTW.

    Whooopsie doodle.  Fixed.  Thanks!

    • #27
  28. TheRightNurse Member
    TheRightNurse
    @TheRightNurse

    She (View Comment):

    Fine post. It’s Kenny Rogers, BTW.

    Speaking of Loggins…

    Kenny Loggins Plastic Surgery Before After Pictures

    • #28
  29. Mad Gerald Coolidge
    Mad Gerald
    @Jose

    Hmm.  I remember when Madonna published a book entitled Sex in 1992.  It made a big splash.  The local book seller was selling it for $35.00.  It came in a plain, sealed plastic wrapper so I never saw the contents.  It occurred to me that I might buy the book, keep it unopened, and sell at a profit in the future.  But $35 was far more than I could then afford for something so speculative.  Plus, trying to flog such an item before the internet would have involved embarrassing personal interactions.

    So, just now I looked at the prices for this book on Amazon.  Many are opened and prices start at $142 for a “Good” used copy. The cheapest unopened copy is $250.  Prices go as high as $799.  I guess I missed my chance.

    By the way, the first internet search I did for Madonna+book had an amazing number of other hits.  Who knew she was a prolific author?

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The kicker is that Sex can now be viewed online for free, apparently uncensored or abridged.   It’s the ultimate in cheap Sex, I guess.

    • #29
  30. Jason Rudert Inactive
    Jason Rudert
    @JasonRudert

    I’ve been hoping we would do R>ate My Face. I think I’m aging gracefully. 

    • #30
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