Frances McDormand is pretty much Hollywood royalty. She's starred in classic movies like "Fargo," "Almost Famous," and "Raising Arizona" and has more than a few awards (ahem, an Oscar and a Tony) to show for her lengthy career. But the other thing that comes with a long career is age. And what Frances has learned is that our culture isn't too keen on getting old.
Honestly, the quote is so good you kind of need to see it twice.
“We are on red alert when it comes to how we are perceiving ourselves as a species. There's no desire to be an adult. Adulthood is not a goal. It's not seen as a gift. Something happened culturally: No one is supposed to age past 45 — sartorially, cosmetically, attitudinally. Everybody dresses like a teenager. Everybody dyes their hair. Everybody is concerned about a smooth face." — Frances McDormand, "A Star Who Has No Time For Vanity"Although Hollywood and our youth-obsessed culture bothers Frances, she's human. So sometimes she has her moments of insecurity about the lines in her face or neck. But for her, a laugh line isn't just a laugh line. It's much more.
When I saw this clip I thought, "Wow. I've never thought of my face like that."
Now I'll let you in on a not-so-secret secret. I'm 31 years old. Deep breaths. Actually, my 30s have been awesome so far, but I'm very slowly being consumed by thoughts of "OMG, I'm starting to look old!" I've got a bunch of unruly grey hairs framing my face (of course they're right up front), and sometimes I stop myself from scowling for fear of "getting stuck that way." I know these are pretty irrational worries, but even I have been affected by the world of injectables, anti-aging creams, and HD smartphone cameras.
I'm one of those feminists who thinks, "If a woman wants to change her face, she should go for it! Do you!" Everyone should be happy with how they look, even if that means makeup, face exercises, or going under the knife to do it. But I also like the idea of a culture that doesn't bat an eye when a woman does absolutely nothing to her face at all.
Frances McDormand and her natural 58-year-old face is refreshing because it feels completely foreign by Hollywood standards. But just by being honest about her journey and insecurities, she's having an incredible effect on young and not so young women. Myself included. Here's hoping by the time I'm in my 50s, seeing aging women's faces on our movie and TV screens won't be such a big deal. And by then, I'll have my own road map with awesome stories to tell.