4.27.12 Letting Yourself Go
"She's really let herself go." When I hear someone say that about a woman—usually in a pitying or disdainful tone—it gets my hackles up. First of all, how often have you heard this said about a man? And secondly, shouldn't letting yourself go be a good thing? Doesn't it sound wonderfully liberating? Turns out it means she's no longer living up to the stringent standards of female beauty. She doesn't tweeze her eyebrows, wear lipstick, starve her body into submission or dye her hair. She's "showing her age." To be perfectly honest, I'm usually quite careful about the pictures I post of myself, but today I deliberately chose one in which I'm not wearing a speck of makeup and in which, frankly, I look like what I am: a happy 49-year old who doesn't smoke or sunbathe, and who gets Botox a couple of times a year. Yep, full disclosure.
As the years have gone by, I've let go of the eyeliner, the brown hair and the multiple piercings, but I've also let go of the drama and the confusion and the self-doubt. Middle age is kind of great, especially if you decide to embrace it. (But the Botox? you ask. What can I say? I'm a woman of contradictions.)
There are so few women in the public eye willing to represent themselves in an authentic way. Meryl Streep comes to mind. And Jamie Lee Curtis. A few years back she went out of her way to debunk the myth of physical perfection we see every day in the media. She did a shoot for More magazine where she posed first in her underwear, unadorned and unretouched, and then after a glamorizing 3-hour session with wardrobe, hair and makeup pros. Read the whole piece, here. I adore her. These days she's not even coloring her hair any more. (We used to see the same colorist at Fred Segal in LA!)
Have you been watching Girls? You can watch the entire first episode, here. It's the new HBO show produced by Judd Apatow, starring—and directed by—25-year-old Lena Dunham. The daughter of two New York artists, she attended the exclusive Saint Ann's School in Brooklyn before graduating from Oberlin and making a film, Tiny Furniture, that caused quite a stir on the indie circuit. It's definitely worth watching. Lena's work is so honest, raw and true, not to mention incredibly smart and funny. (It bears little comparison to Sex and the City, despite what people have been saying.) She comes across as totally unselfconscious, never shying away from unflattering shots or awkward situations. She's real. And she gives me hope for the next generation of women coming up. They're really letting themselves go.