Get the latest from the blog:
Helen Mirren

Helen Mirren: Body of the Year

Whilst messing about on Facebook one day, we came across this fabulous little article by blogger and style expert, Bridgette Raes.

As we at TBW HQ love to encourage older women to revel in their beauty and the wisdom that comes with age, we thought it would be a perfect item for the site and so sought Bridgette’s permission to use it. She very kindly granted it, and here it is:

“Helen Mirren voted ‘Body of the Year.’ Meanwhile Designers Using 13 Year Olds in Ad Campaigns

Every morning I do a quick scan of the news in fashion via Google.  It’s often how I pick up a good story worth mentioning on this blog.  I find this helpful if I’m either rushed for time or out of ideas of something to post.  Today, I actually found two articles so diametrically opposed that I needed to mention both of them.

First, according to a poll by People Helen Mirren has been voted ‘Body of the Year’ beating out celebs like Jennifer Lopez and Pippa Middleton.  How freakin’ cool is that? I always say that when I am a lady of age and wisdom I want to be Helen Mirren.

I think this is also awesome because it shows that the public is looking at sexy and beautiful in different ways and that it exceeds it being solely about how slim, trim, toned and young you are.  Being sexy or hot or attractive is the total package of inner and outer qualities and, I agree with the poll, Helen Mirren’s got it!

Now…on to other news.

After reading that article that gave me a feeling of promise and hope, that society is finally starting to look past youth, perfection and dewy skin as the standard of beauty, I also read in the NYPost about Teen Queens and how more designers are using 13-year old stars for their ad campaigns.   (Snore…again?)

Designers and labels like Marc Jacobs, Miu Miu are utilizing the youth and star power of actresses like Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) along with sisters Dakota and Elle Fanning for their provocative and suggestive ads.  I know, this is hardly a new approach (Hello Brooke Shields for Calvin Klein in the 80′s) but it always irks me and makes me uncomfortable all at the same time, but not for a reason you might think.

This has undoubtedly caused a bit of a controversy and some are saying that the ads for autumn look more like back-to-school catalogs regardless of the fact that there have been quite a few models who started their career at the same age.

While some have argued over the poor judgment in the use of young girls in these ads, I got a kick out of Hailee Steinfeld’s (currently the model for Miu Miu) comment in the article:

“The best part about [the Miu Miu] collection . . . is the fact that it’s so sophisticated — it’s timeless,” she said.  “For younger girls like me, it works. It feels appropriate.”

Really Hailee?  Timeless?  What the heck do you know about timeless?

And, how many of you were shopping for Miu Miu, or Miu Miu level clothing, at 14 years old?

I didn’t think so.

In the NYPost article it, of course, elaborates on the sexualisation of young girls and the fact that use of teenagers “hold up adolescent bodies as ideals of womanhood.”

Both valid and important points that we’ve heard oodles of time; but here is my gripe:

Most women really don’t come into their own until they hit their mid-thirties.  Some of you younger readers may argue with me and I understand, I would have argued the same point when I was younger, but trust me (not to sound patronising) one day you will get it.  And, admittedly, one day, when I’m rounding the corner to my 50′s and beyond, after I develop even greater wisdom and comfort with myself, I will probably laugh at bit by how much I think I claim to know about myself at the age I am now.

Bottom line, with age comes greater wisdom, greater comfort with ourselves and these ads using children are completely dismissive towards that fact.  Who in their prime years yearn to be 13, 15 or 17 again?  I sure don’t… not even if you handed me a suitcase of money as a trade.  I wouldn’t trade a better bottom, perkier boobs or un-crinkled skin around my eyes for all the wisdom and comfort that the years since have offered me.  Regardless of the fact that I’m not as comfortable in a bikini or a short skirt as I was at 17, I still feel a lot sexier and comfortable as a woman now than I did back back then.  There is just something so sexy about a woman who is comfortable in her body and knows who she is.  These juvenile ads miss that point and are missing out on the ability to capitalise on that.  Imagine more advertisements that celebrated the gorgeousness that comes with just coming into your own as a woman? God, they would be hot, inspirational and well as aspirational.

Yet, advertising dumbs it down and latches on to the most base form of sexuality, an ideal that older women, who are comfortable in their own bodies, care little about. However, these are the same women who are more likely to have the means to plunk down their money on the clothing they’re hawking.  Which is why I find these ads so stupidly laughable.  Don’t you think much of what makes Helen Mirren sexy (aside from how good she looks in a bikini) is the fact that she comfortably accepts herself and honors it?  Do you really think she is pining to be 13 again?

So, while I am mildly sickened by the over-sexualization of young girls in grown up advertisements, I’m too bored by it already for it to really register or to rustle my feathers.  What I’m more bothered by are advertisers who actually believe that any woman with even a shred of aplomb actually feels at all desirous to be that young again.”

To go to the article, click here

To read more about Bridgette Raes, click here


Get the latest from the blog: