When women reach a certain age, they become useless. They’ve already made babies or can’t anymore, and they’re not young enough to be sexy, so what’s the point?
Look at Heidi Klum, who used to be a 10 and is now a 9.99. She and all the other crones may as well go to the House of the Old and be “released” like in The Giver.
Except, that is, for Helen Mirren. What a hot piece of ass that Helen Mirren once was and continues to be! It really is a crime she’s not doing nude scenes anymore. Have you seen her in a bikini? Here, take a good, objectifying look. I am a straight 24-year-old lady, but I see those pics and my heart bursts out of my chest like Bugs Bunny in heat. Look at that body! It’s like the body of a hot young woman with only a few wrinkles due to the progression of time. Just DAMN, girl.
I mean, if I ever met Helen Mirren, I would probably say, “Helen Mirren, are you an astronaut, because your ass is out of this world and also your body appears to be defying the natural effects of gravity which render all other women irrelevant!”
Okay. Sorry. I’m done. We all do almost exactly that when it comes to Helen Mirren, though. We start spinning around like horny little tops over Helen Mirren in a bikini, screaming, “Yaaas, Helen Mirren’s 70-year-old body, yaaas!”
There is something liberating about such a reaction, given our perception of aging and the way we conflate youth with sex appeal. Or, there would be, if we didn’t make this rare exception for one gorgeous, famous woman, while condemning all the rest of the famous women to their last f**kable day (around age 37).
The gendered component to ageism is best summed up by the fact that Jack Nicholson continues to star in rom-coms, despite already almost dying of a heart attack in “Something’s Gotta Give” 12 years ago. Meanwhile, we treat women like they have an expiration date and make a rare exception for the ones that “age well” (see also: Diane Keaton and Jennifer Lopez, though J.Lo almost definitely purchased eternal youth from Satan).
In Hollywood, you’re either milk or fine wine, so you better get some good, imperceptible plastic surgery (and lie about ever getting it) or get OUT ... of the sexualized spotlight. There are any number of women over the age of 40 on screen, but they are mothers to women sometimes only 15 years their junior, or grandmothers, or just witches.
Women spend youth fighting to not be objectified, then they hit a certain age and may as well turn to dust. It’s seen as some empowering beacon of light that Helen Mirren is both grandma-age and sexy enough for her nude scene announcement to be a trending topic. But really, it just encapsulates the boxes we stuff women into. The way we dictate women’s worth on a metric of f**kability is just another way to disempower the ones we don’t shower with creepy praise.
Limiting visibility to only certain bodies is a setback for women of all shapes and sizes. That Helen Mirren has made it into the f**kable category is great. Really, hit me with that Metamucil. She is truly beautiful, and that's fine, but our joyful "surprise" over her great body has a dark underbelly.
So often, the rightful appreciation for Mirren's talent as an actor is overshadowed by how hot she looks in a swimsuit "for her age." As she once put it, "the fact that I look good at the age I am is bloody irrelevant." The problem here is that this dialogue attempts to dictate which women can or can’t be seen as sexual beings. Across movie roles, headlines and even casual conversation, it’s about time we figured out that all women have the right to express their sexuality, whether they’re young or old, fat or skinny, Helen Mirren or everyone else.
Middlebrow is a recap of the week in entertainment, celebrity and television news that provides a comprehensive look at the state of pop culture. From the rock bottom to highfalutin, Middlebrow is your accessible guidebook to the world of entertainment. Sign up to receive it in your inbox here.
Follow Lauren Duca on Twitter: @laurenduca
Also on HuffPost: