Hollywood’s Obsession With Aging


There’s been much discussion over the past few weeks about the woman we once knew as Renee Zellweger who’s been replaced, it seems, by someone who looks nothing like her but, oddly, goes by the same name. Of course, Renee flat out denied accusations that she’d gone under the knife, putting her fresh new look down to a happier, healthier lifestyle. Needless to say, we collectively scoffed in much the same way we did when Michael Jackson denied that he’d once been black and was now a head-turning shade of white.

Commenting on her new look at the time, we wondered how it would affect her career. Would she still get cast in roles when she’s almost unrecogniseable? And what about Bridget Jones 3?

Sadly for the actress who first caught our attention in Jerry Maguire, she’s reportedly been dumped from the third installment of the female favourite. Rumour also has it that Reese Witherspoon could step in to replace her, which does little to excite us. If they’re not prepared to stick with the original actress, with any sense, they’ll can the whole thing entirely.

On the subject of plastic surgery and ageing gracefully, actress Frances McDormand of Fargo fame has made some interesting comments. Busy promoting her Olive Kitteridge TV mini-series in which she stars alongside the inimitable Bill Murray, McDormand is adamant to continue voicing her concerns that young women in Hollywood (and the world over) need to stop being afraid of growing older. McDormand has been out of the public eye for quite some time now and that’s precisely down to the fact that she’s not ok with what she’s seeing with the likes of Renee Zellweger.

How can women cut away a good ten to fifteen years of their lives with the swipe of a knife? On why it angers her so much, McDormand explains “because it takes it [life] away. It’s like, ‘I’m going to cut out, I’m going to erase 10 years, 15 years.’”


Speaking with Katie Couric, the pair discussed whether this obsession with ageing is a more recent issue, and not something that plagued actresses of days gone by.

“That’s one of the things I was talking about. I wonder what it was like. I feel nostalgic for a time I didn’t even have. You know, that time before we regarded ourselves with such criticism but also kind of a currency that looking a certain age had.”

McDormand, of course, has been married to Joel Coen for 32 years now. A prolific director with his brother Ethan, this married couple share a similar view on ageing: “We have a lot of conversations about aging, and how difficult it is in our culture. I go on rants about it. I get a little too zealous about it, and he cautions me to remember that not everyone ages the same way. And I’ve been fortunate that I’m happy with the way that I look and how I age.”

“I think we have a lot of responsibility because we place ourselves in a medium that reaches a lot of people. I know that I haven’t done press or publicity for ten years. I made a conscious choice not to. I started to not like the job of acting because it involved not only the promotion of what I’ve done but also myself. And I wasn’t interested in that part. Also it was just getting too close to my personal life. I couldn’t live the way that I wanted to live. A friend of mine said, ‘Women need you. Younger women need your image, and they need your voice, and it’s a very selfish thing you’re doing.’ That was about five years ago, so it took me about five years to really listen to her. But I believe that’s true.”

Refreshingly, McDormand acknowledges that there are parts of her look that bother her at times, but confirms that she’s happy with how she looks overall because every line and wrinkle is proof of a life lived. ““Oh yeah. It’s not like I don’t look at myself and say, ‘Whoa. Wow. [Points to chin.] Look at that.’ But I also at the same time, ‘That.’ That one right there? [Points to laugh line.] That’s Pedro. That’s my son. 20 years of going ‘Hi! Wow! or ‘Oh my god!’ You know, this is the map. This is the roadmap.”

We couldn’t have said that better ourselves.


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