Last year when I returned to Australia for the school holidays, I turned on the television and was greeted by a large number of spoons with hair. Women who I had identified with for most of my life, were looking a little "unusual". They were shiny, smooth replicas of themselves. The men? The men looked exactly the same, just a little older. Oh hang on, Shane Warne looked a bit weird, as did Sam Newman, but when it came to reading the news or presenting a television show? It appeared that age was actually quite endearing for a man, yet catastrophic for a woman.
I am not anti plastic surgery, anti Botox or anti whatever it is that makes your skin puff out. If that's what you feel you need to do, I think you should do it. What worries me though, is I'm struggling to find women in media, television and film who aren't doing it. Which means it's becoming normal to look like a spoon. I don't need women to look like spoons, do you? I want women on the telly to know I appreciate their age and longevity. More importantly, I want my daughters to know that you can age, grow and remain respected in whatever you do, with wrinkles.
On twitter yesterday I asked for suggestions on women we admired with wrinkles. The same usual suspects popped up over and over again, you guessed it, Dame Judi Dench and Helen Mirren. And then the ball started rolling, suggestions came thick and fast. Tilda Swinton, Salma Hayek, Rachel Ward, Meryl Streep, Julie Waters, Greta Scacchi, Kristin Scott Thomas, Jodie Foster and Francis McDormand all made the list. My own personal favourites were Australian food author and restauranteur Maggie Beer and Film photographer Brigitte Lacombe.
It was Brigitte Lacombe that got me thinking about this.
On Thursday night I was out to dinner with a few friends and noticed Brigitte and her sister Marian were in the same restaurant. After I'd finished hyperventilating and gushing over my discovery, I sat and admired them from afar. Two sisters out for a meal, both incredibly successful in their careers. In their working life they are surrounded by movie stars, media moguls and highly influential players in the film industry. I watched them giggle over their sake. Brigitte is always recognizable by her visual simplicity. Looking like she has just stepped out of one of her iconic photos, her face is devoid of makeup, her hair long and silver, her black heavy rimmed glasses come on and off as she peruses the menu, her clothes are as always, black and white. She is a la naturel. She looks comfortable in her skin, her responsive, pliable skin. I like her skin.
I like her skin because she looks comfortable with growing older. I want to be comfortable with growing older and selfishly I need women like Brigette Lacombe, Francis McDormand and Kristin Scott Thomas to confirm that's it's okay to look older.
Jamie Lee Curtis who describes herself as "anti anti aging" said in March this year 'We are ALL going to age and soften and mellow and transition. All of us, if we are lucky enough to make it through this hard life into older adulthood..."
I'm lucky enough to still be here.
For a little inspiration I've made myself a board to look at. A little reminder of the women I want to see more of. The writers, directors, actresses and foodies that pop up on my television and smile with their eyes. The ones that say look how smart I got, look how clever I am. See, I got older and wiser.
I'm lucky enough to still be here.
Who do you want to look at? Do you care? Any suggestions on who to add to the board?
Here's one of Brigitte's photos of Meryl Streep. Just gorgeous. Both Merryl and Brigitte's talent.
*Update* There's been some controversy over my addition of Meryl, so I thought I'd add another photo.