"Aging Gracefully" ≠ Never Changing
There is something wrong with the way we look at women aging. On a feminist website, there’s an article titled “Meryl Streep, 1979 and Now, Same Dress.”
My first thought was “I love Meryl Streep! She’s so talented and classy and…” Then, I did a double take. The only line in the “story” besides the two pictures of her in the dress was “She is gorgeous!”
Look, I love Meryl Streep. She’s considered one of the most talented actors of all time. My problem has nothing to do with her. The problem lies in the idea that women should be able to fit in dresses worn over 30 years ago, and feel comfortable.
This isn’t a new idea. Many women have dreams of fitting in their wedding dresses for their 10th+ wedding anniversary. Such absurdly high standards have been internalized by our society so deeply that we don’t ordinarily question them.
Besides the issue of weight, which wearing the same dress is indicative of maintaining, there is also the concept of women not otherwise aging. We expect our celebrities to remain stuck in a time capsule. Yet, when they get plastic surgery there are scolding articles written. If they don’t choose to get plastic surgery there are different scolding articles written.
Essentially, it is a losing battle because women will always be seen, first and foremost, as visually appealing ornaments. Even in the case of one of the most renowned actors of all time, whose beauty is not the reason behind her fame, but exists nonetheless. Recently, a pro-women website decides that the most amazing aspect of her personhood is the fact that she can still wear a 35-year-old dress.
Greatness comes from pure talent, not a dress size. Meryl Streep is an amazing woman. But not because of her dress size.