I’m 36 years old, and I am a celebrity ageist.
But not in the way that plagues most of Hollywood.
Perhaps it would be more accurate to say I’m more of a “reverse” celebrity ageist.
I’m not interested in the teeny-boppers and the twenty-somethings. I’m mere months younger than Justin Bieber’s mother, for heaven’s sake, and I really don’t care who he’s taking selfies with or where he’s relieving himself, since he could have been my “Baby”. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)
I used to devour entertainment magazines and TV shows, but I find I don’t recognize as many of the faces anymore (and I don’t mean the faces of the hosts, altered by Botox).
Even when I was young, I idolized celebrities who were older than me, starting when I was just a child (please don’t judge my youthful choices): Alyssa Milano, Cady McClain (“All My Children” actress) and Miss Elizabeth, manager and one-time wife of WWF wrestler Macho Man Randy Savage, (It was the dreses, I swear. Did you know she died of a drug overdose in 2003 at the home of Lex Luger? But I digress.)
I was obsessed with “Friends”, but I really believe that’s because they were half a generation older than me, and living the life I was (sort of) looking forward to. While I have the complete collection of episodes (no, not on DVD, but VHS tapes, on which I carefully recorded the episodes each Thursday night), I haven’t pulled them out in years (and yes, I still have a VCR) because I don’t think the impact would be the same now that I have surpassed the ages of the characters. The actors and actresses still interest me though, since they have aged. Some more gracefully than others. Is this weird?
Now as an adult, I continue to be interested in the work (and by “work”, of course I mean “relationships/offspring/fashion/hair”) of women around the same age as me, such as fellow ’77ers Kerry Washington, Jessica Chastain, and Maggie Gyllenhaal, and the barely younger Rachel McAdams (35). “Older” actresses whose careers and lives I love to follow include Jennifer Garner (42, and I think we could totally be best friends), Reese Witherspoon (38), and Catherine Zeta-Jones (44).
An avid magazine reader, I make my selections carefully, and if the headline “Teen Mom” is on the cover, I’m not buying. Though since Garner and Halle Berry made their case against paparazzi photos of celebrity children, I have tried not to purchase magazines that use such pictures…but I will read them if someone else buys them. As long as there’s someone born before 1982 on the cover (my random cutoff date to include Beyoncé and Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge.)
As far as music goes, while Taylor Swift is – at the date of this post – still an incredible role-model for my musical young daughters, her image doesn’t compel me to purchase a magazine or click on a link. Faith Hill (46), Jennifer Lopez (44)… these women interest me, wrinkles or no wrinkles. (That’s not at all to say I don’t enjoy music by younger artists – they just don’t appeal to me as “celebrities”.)
The same goes for the men. While some young male stars are certainly attractive and talented, the first students I taught (St. Paul’s class of 2001 – back when I was Mademoiselle Leahy) are now 27 years old. I could not possibly consider anyone below that age “sexy”, though I am very appreciative of male actors right through their 50’s. (I want a Fitz Phone. Gladiators, you know what I mean.)
Tomorrow night I’m going to see “The Other Woman”, and looking forward to the performances of 42 year old Leslie Mann and 41 year old Cameron Diaz (twice the age of costar Kate Upton, yet all are involved with the same man!)
So tell me, dear readers: is this just as bad as the traditional form of ageism? It’s not that I have anything against the younger stars, or that I question the quality of their work or glamour of their lives…they just don’t interest me the same way.
Are you sitting there thinking “me too”? Or “this woman is crazy”? Please share either way. (But you probably shouldn’t leave your age, because if you’re under 35 I’ll just be skimming your response. Totally kidding. I swear.)
Random final note to bloggers: I’m also loving the fact that Getty Images can now be embedded for free! I spent as much time choosing photos as I did writing this post!