Misogynist talk about Sex and the City gals strikes a bum note

Society has a problem with ageing women who are in the public eye, said Colette Sheridan in her weekly column
Misogynist talk about Sex and the City gals strikes a bum note

Cynthia Nixon, Kristin Davis, Sarah Jessica Parker  return in a Sex and the City reboot 'And Just Like That', on HBO Max.

DISAPPEARING eyebrows... Grey hair and a hint of jowls spoiling your former firm chin line... Terrible things happening to your neck and hands that have done too much washing up, even with the supposedly soft Fairy Liquid.

Yes, welcome to middle age, that terrain that us women curse as we try to turn back the clock with visits to beauty salons for miraculous work on the old eyebrows, and frequent visits to the hairdresser to dye those unsightly roots.

But really, is it sustainable? When do we give up the primping and preening and just accept the ageing process?

Well, not quite yet.

We are not like our mothers when they hit their middle years. We fly around in runners and go to Pilates classes, and we dress more like fashion victims than ladies in their senior years.

Our mothers might have got their hair ‘set’ with maybe a blue rinse running through it. We find that quaint - and defeatist. A case of heading for old age without putting up a good fight.

It’s no wonder we can’t slide quietly into those years that are more about blood pressure-monitoring than getting our legs waxed.

Society has a problem with ageing women who are in the public eye. And that rubs off on a lot of us, who seem to want to look well even when going to the shop to buy bread. (You’d never know who you might meet, after all.)

Take the actress, Sarah Jessica Parker (SJP), who is starring in the upcoming spin-off series of Sex And The City (SATC) along with Cynthia Nixon and Kristin Davis.

SJP is now 56 and, in some candid shots, she looks it, complete with grey streaked hair, scant eyebrows and a lean lined face. 

She has slammed ‘misogynist chatter’ about the cast doing the unthinkable - that is, growing older. She is dead right to condemn the negativity surrounding what is perfectly natural.

Next month, the actress, who plays Carrie in SATC, will appear on the cover of Vogue. In photos released in advance, she looks great, in profile, wearing a tulle off-the-shoulder ball gown-type dress. She looks like herself, except trussed up and well lit.

That’s part of the deal when posing for a fashion magazine. But at least she isn’t wearing hair pieces and doesn’t appear to have ‘work done’ to her long face.

In an accompanying interview, SJP responds to bitchy social media comments about the SATC actresses’ older appearance.

She says that such commentary would never happen about a man. There’s the scrutiny of hair if a famous actress has the nerve (or lack of vanity) to allow the grey to be seen.

“I don’t know what to tell people,” says SJP. Everyone on social media has “something to say. ‘She has too many wrinkles, she doesn’t appear to have enough wrinkles’.”

The actress also said: “It almost feels as if people don’t want us to be perfectly okay with where we are, as if they almost enjoy us being pained by who we are today, whether we choose to age naturally and not look perfect, or whether you do something if that makes you feel better...

“I know what I look like. I have no choice. What am I going to do about it? Stop ageing? Disappear?”

In the Vogue interview, executive producer of the SATC reboot, Michael Patrick King, said that when the new series was announced, “there were a lot of positive reactions, but one bitchy response online was people sharing pictures of the Golden Girls. And I was like ‘Wow, so it’s either you’re 35, or you’re retired and living in Florida’. There’s a missing chapter here.”

Well, the SATC women are not going to be cowed by the vitriol that often accompanies ageing women with high profiles.

It’s actually - in popular entertainment terms - quite revolutionary to make a show about middle-aged women with their saggy bits on show. 

At least, I hope they’ll have a few saggy body parts, but I suspect that they’ll have been working out at the gym because that’s the pressure these gals have to live with. Still, it’s refreshing that being fifty-something doesn’t mean the fun is over.

One woman in the entertainment business is now 63 and is still stripping off for the cameras. Madonna, the indefatigable pop star, is like a parody of a woman who is determined to grow old disgracefully.

Whipping up publicity for her forthcoming biopic, she has posed almost naked apart from a thong, fishnets and silk evening gloves. She boasts a toy boy. Which must be boring and purely an accessory for the optics. Madonna, for all her lack of repression, is actually buying into every cliché about sex symbols. She’s Mae West reinvented, a bit of a joke.

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