I have taken umbrage. Dianne Keaton has a movie about to be released, and the Australian Women’s Weekly (January 2011) published an interview with her, a syndicated piece by Johanna Schneller, that includes a photograph insert about women who have still “got it” – after the age of 50!
Annette Bening was one of the examples they used as a glamorous woman who “just keep on getting better with age”. Annette Bening and I are the same age – 52. And though I haven’t asked Annette directly, surprisingly we don’t do lunch, I am sure that she would agree with me; 52 is not old. It is middle aged, yes. Old? I beg your pardon, but, hell no!
A magazine that brands itself as being for women, and to promote positive images to allow such stereotyping is beyond comprehension. A 52 year old woman in Australia has another 15 years in the workforce, as the expectation is that she will work until the age of 67 now. The average woman in Australia can expect to live some 84 years, so how the hell does 52 qualify anywhere near old?
At the age of 50 I went back to university, full time, to undertake a degree in education. I embarked upon a career in teaching at the age of 52. This year, as I turn 53 I am blending my old career, librarian, with my new career as teacher to become the leader of a resource/library centre. I have yet to reach the peak of my career. Daughter1’s mother in law is 67. In 2011, she will be teaching a whole semester at high school, then embarking on a world trip with a friend, a woman who is over 80!
For a respected publication to whittle the worth of a woman down to looking good after 50, as though it is a norm to be a desiccated, inactive woman is pathetic. What is sadder still is that the editorial team even considered that 50 was old and felt the need to insert photos of Bening, Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, Angelica Huston, and their ages into an article about Diane Keaton’s life is insulting to not only their achievements and talents, but also to all women, young or old.
I would have thought that the need for such fluff pieces had long passed. When will women cease being their own perpetrators of inequality?