Follow Up – Reactions by Other Writers to Sexist Condescending 50 Something Men Who Think They Are Final Arbiters of If Women Are Attractive Past Age of 40 (Re: Esquire Editorial by Junod)
This is a follow up to my post from yesterday,
(Link): Obnoxious, Condescending, Sexist, Pervy Esquire Editorial by 50-Something Year Old Man: “In Praise of 42 Year Old Women” – Condescendingly Reassures 40 Something Women He’d Sex Them Up
Here are other people’s reactions to the insufferable, obnoxious, ageist, and sexist Junod editorial on Esquire.
- by Jessica Valenti
Friday 11 July 2014 07.15
An homage in a men’s magazine to the ‘carnal appeal’ of 42-year old women is no great win for feminism
Breaking news! Men’s magazines have determined that it is not abnormal for men to ogle and objectify women over the age of 40! Women of the world, feminism has won! Rejoice!
To kick off its annual women issue, Esquire magazine on Thursday published an essay called “In Praise of 42-Year Old Women”, assuring the normally-depressed old hags that dudes (or at least the writer Tom Junod) still want to bang them. Junod – who has an “interesting” history writing about women – writes that, while “[t]here used to be something tragic about even the most beautiful forty-two-year-old woman”, they now have “carnal appeal”.
— start Junod quote
A few generations ago, a woman turning forty-two was expected to voluntarily accept the shackles of biology and convention; now it seems there is no one in our society quite so determined to be free. Conservatives still attack feminism with the absurd notion that it makes its adherents less attractive to men; in truth, it is feminism that has made forty-two-year-old women so desirable.
— end Junod quote
Protip to male writers gorging on self-congratulation as they deem grown woman fuckable: leave feminism out of it.
Junod, careful to qualify that the 42-year-old women worthy of praise are those who “have armored themselves with yoga and Pilates even as they joke about the spectacle”, seems to believe that he has done women a great kindness with this piece. But when he writes that 42-year-old women are “superior” to men and that “the best thing that that forty-two-year-old American men have going for them is forty-two-year-old American women”, he does so with the same benevolence of a lazy husband praising his wife’s laundry skills. (Or financial skills, in his case.)
It’s easy for men to call women “superior” in a society that privileges men at nearly every turn: they’re not the ones being grossly objectified under the guise of a compliment.
Certainly, women over 40 deserve more reverence and respect than they typically get – and I’d love to see women of all ages receive that … outside of women’s magazines and day-time talk shows. We live in a culture, often driven by the media and Hollywood, that paints women over 25 as desperate and pathetic: we’re considered past our prime, never to be “nubile” (a word worth banning from our collective consciousness if there ever was one) again!
But the validation that women seek is generally not of the erection-producing variety. It’s very nice and all that writers are catching on that women of all ages can be sexy, but framing that as an amazing new discovery makes it more about men than it is about us (which feels about par for the course).
For example, in a companion piece on Esquire’s website, writer Stephen Marche urges us all – in a slightly less cringe-inducing way than Junod’s overwrought boner-prose – to retire the word MILF. He writes that “there’s another explanation for the rise of 42, one that’s even more revelatory. Maybe it isn’t fashion at all. Maybe it’s what men wanted all along.”
Right. But maybe, just maybe, what men want isn’t – and doesn’t always have to be – the damn point.
(Link): BREAKING: Esquire Declares 42-Year-Old Women Now F-ckable by Tracy Moore
- Why, used to be, a woman at the age of 42 could hardly be glanced at, much less taken to bed and ravaged shame-free in broad daylight. No longer. Esquire has sent word across all channels that 42-year-old women have been removed from the Do Not Bang list and are no longer off-limits to respectable men. In other news, FIRE SALE AT CHICO’S.
Forty-two year-old broads everywhere can now pack up their loose but crisp linen shirts, let their slightly graying hair down, and select their finest modest but sexy cocktail dress and get back out there.
Behold the clarion call courtesy of author Tom Junod:
—- start Junod quote
Let’s face it: There used to be something tragic about even the most beautiful forty-two-year-old woman. With half her life still ahead of her, she was deemed to be at the end of something—namely, everything society valued in her, other than her success as a mother. If she remained sexual, she was either predatory or desperate; if she remained beautiful, what gave her beauty force was the fact of its fading. And if she remained alone… well, then God help her.
— end Junod quote
We’ve all seen those women — you know, the beautiful aging ones who just seemed so pathetic for existing at all. Also, he is right, I can’t think of more forceful beauty than the fading kind. The not-fading kind is great — don’t get me wrong — but if you think about it, it’s just not quite as potent, all said. However, a hint of beauty once there is just, well, sickening. Really sad, too.
The only thing more ludicrous than Tom Junod’s feelings about 42-year-olds are the misguided assumptions that lurk beneath them… like a 42-year-old woman clawing at the icy surface above her, desperate to escape the tomb of her old age and fading beauty, trapped in part because she acknowledges that icy cold water could significantly invigorate her appearance.
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