On a regular basis, an actress will come up in conversation, and my husband will say, “Whatever happened to her?” and I’ll say, “She turned 40.” He’s no dummy, my husband. And he’s not naive about aging actresses, either. He works in post production for movies and has to oversee digital retouching for actresses all the time. But the few actresses over 40 who work steadily, like Julia Lous-Dreyfus, Julianna Margulies, and Connie Britton, are expected to look freakishly toned, dewey and fresh at all times.
As Jessica Goldstein points out in ThinkProgress in defense of Renee Zellweger, Americans insist that actresses look flawless and nowhere near their age, then make fun of them if they go to “extreme measures” to maintain their appearance.
She isn’t some freak show; she’s an average American woman who is older now than she was the last time you looked at her or really gave her any thought. She is older than she was in Jerry Maguire, older than she was in all the Bridget Jones movies, older than she was in Empire Records, she is older than she was when you started reading this story. And soon, at the end of this sentence, she will be older still.
Also, some other things are happening in the world that might be considered more important.