Let's bring in three incendiary words we've been bombarded with, and see if we can string them together -- so that they compliment each other: Feminism, Renée Zellweger and Annie Lennox (one ages, the other doesn't).
Let's start with poor Renée Zellweger (45). http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/oct/23/where-has-real-renee-zellweger-gone It's terrible for anybody to be watched like a hawk for crow's feet, every less than pouty lip, every sagging particle of one's body. But if you are an actress over 40 you are ridiculed and hounded by Hollywood, which has always acted as the self-assigned beauty police with a ready whip and a magnifying glass.
Getting older is already in itself a daring female crime and few actresses escape the vicious circle of punishment. You can't win. If you, as a movie star, leave your aging face like it is (what an audacious act) you can be sure that a spiteful, derogatory and sexist shit-storm will ensue that is so emotional and so full of hatred (sadly, the high majority are men) that it is very unsettling.
And if a female movie star, driven crazy by all demands and expectations, does go ahead and under the knife or other assorted tortures to pump up and fill all there is to fill, the same vicious attack by the cruel Hollywood hounds is launched like a weapon. So, damned if you do, damned if you don't, this being the blue print for women's lives worldwide.
What to do? Let's bring in the popular f-word: Feminism. Just about every woman is riding on its colorful coat tails these days because it's hip to be either for or against "it". All the while it isn't clear to many what feminism really means, or whether there's a fool-proof recipe for it. (There is. If men hate your endeavors, it's probably the right stuff.)
Well, singer, philanthropist and feminist Annie Lennox (59) certainly knows feminism, and she of the masterful lyrics in her incomparable songs can express herself beautifully, of course. As if it isn't admirably enough that she sticks to her opinions and dares to label Beyoncé (rightfully) a "lite" feminist, and "twerking" as a teenage disease, she has done something more valuable and important by teaching a great lesson in humanity just by being herself. http://www.pridesource.com/article.html?article=68228
Herewith I am applauding Annie for allowing us -- and especially her contemporaries -- to see an intelligent, kind and generous beauty like herself, age gracefully right in front of our eyes, thus mirroring ourselves.
Now that's feminism, ladies, girls, sexism-fighters, amazons and wannabe ball-busters. For me, this is a gift from a great artist, this is what we need to witness daily, this is allowing incorruptible Mother Nature (why do you think she isn't called Father Nature?) calling the shots. It is about the real you, the human you, the fearless you. The one who doesn't have to dye her graying hair, who doesn't need Botox, fillers and fake.
So who is the real beauty here? The older woman who shows her unaltered but lovely face or the much younger woman who is crippled by fear of being looked at, being imperfect and being judged by the misogynist beauty-court?
Smash it to pieces, this hostile idea of beauty that dims down to nothing when you age. Altered faces are sad and frightened faces. What is the fear about? Loss of love, of lust, of friends, of choices -- of movie roles? Here are the sad old news: Life is nothing but a collection of losses; but also of a few gains to soften the blow.
But instead of embracing these gifts that come with age, this is society's anti-female command: Don't let "them" see your wrinkles, your gray hair or the slowly sagging skin and breasts.
But why not? And who is "they"? Who exactly is our, your, audience? Here's another piece of slightly better news: we can choose our own spotlight and with it our own audience. And it would be very wise -- and most of all feminist -- to choose people and friends who are not only in the same boat with you, but also know how to row and to reach the right shore where justice, peace and sisterhood reigns.
But above all: Be a real feminist, don't talk about it, act like one. Be radical, change the rules and live by them. Be wise, be just, be young or old, be strong, sharpen your edges, say farewell to fear.