Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher
Vanity Fair has a photo gallery online called "Power Couples". There are the Reagans, the Kennedys, Schwarzenegger and Shriver and - amongst others - Demi and Ashton. I don't think I'd qualify them as a power couple (they're not exactly a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood), but the reason I'm posting their pic is...well... look at her. The caption says that he's 32 and she's 48 but it's obvious plastic surgery, lighting, airbrushing and her submissive pose have shaved off at least 20 years from her appearance. Hell, she could even pass for 17. And it bugs the shit out of me. It's almost as if she and the photographer are trying to tell us that the last 20 years of her life never happened. Why? Why deny us a glimpse of the hard-fought battles, triumphs and heartache only time can bring? Why is it so terrible for this woman - or any woman, for that matter - to admit that even though life hasn't always been a walk in the park, she's only grown stronger and better along the way? I'll tell you why: men. Sexist, insecure men. More importantly: male sexual interest.
Allow me to explain. You see, in a circle of women, the older, more experienced woman has the authority. Her words carry weight and as a result, other women listen to her (whether they like it or not). In a circle of men, the opposite is true. The youngest, prettiest woman holds sway and captures their attention. If there's an older woman present, she's seen as "one of the guys" and - for better or worse - can't use her sexuality as an instrument of influence. She can try, but runs the risk of a blunt refusal and being labeled a "crazy bitch". Male sexual interest is the reason transitioning between young and old is hell for a lot of women because they inevitably discover that they can no longer rely on it to pave their way in life. And for the record, any woman who denies she's received benefits over the years due to said interest, is either a bold faced liar, ignorant beyond belief or never tapped into her sexuality to begin with.
Demi takes this dynamic between men and aging, sexually attractive women and magnifies it a million fold. She's spent thousands of dollars staving off looking her age and will continue to do so for as long as her face and body will allow it. By dating and marrying Ashton, she's fully embraced the Young Hollywood Beauty lifestyle, thereby keeping herself in the loop and still relevant in a brutally ageist environment. Because of this, she's still considered a celebrity although ironically, as an actress, she doesn't get any roles. The sad fact is, writers, directors and producers (most of whom are men) don't know what to do with a sexually attractive 48-year-old woman. When it comes to older women, sex and the movies, the best they can do is produce comedies like "It's Complicated" with Meryl Streep or "Something's Gotta Give" with Diane Keaton. Older women and sex are fucking hilarious, aren't they? Heaven forbid should someone write a mature portrayal of a hot 48-year-old woman in a compelling relationship with a man of comparable strength and weakness. Relationships are a breeding ground for dramatic material: the breakups and makeups; the backstabbing, misunderstandings and lies; meddlesome families, friends and co-workers - it's a writer's bacchanalian feast for the senses. But no one's doing it on a grand, cinematic scale. Instead we get the same tired period pieces, war dramas and - yawn - animated fairy tales. The men of Hollywood avoid producing stories about mature, exciting women like they avoid period talk. And they find the topic of these women's experiences just as distasteful. They see absolutely no value in these types of stories, seek almost zero input from women on the creative front and use the big screen as their own personal playground. Fuck women. What do they know about movies, anyway?
The only glimmer of hope I see as far as interesting roles for mature women on screen are concerned, is the TV show "The Good Wife". It's the only program that qualifies as a "must see" for me and I actually look forward to seeing it Tuesday nights. It's been consistently good on every front, doesn't belittle any of the characters and it doesn't bore me to tears. The only thing I'm waiting for is the moment Alicia (played by Julianna Margulies) tells her estranged husband (played by Chris Noth) to go to hell and really mean it. After all the crap he's pulled, she's yet to have her cathartic moment and I know as an actress, Julianna can deliver the goods. I hope the writers don't wuss out and deny her the opportunity. After all, who doesn't want to see a philanderer - even a fictional one - taken down a notch or two? Besides actual philanderers, of course. I know I do, and this is the show to do it.
["The Good Wife" was created and produced by husband and wife team Robert and Michelle King. Joining them as producers are Tony and Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, Thelma and Louise, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down) and David Zucker.]
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This is close as you're going to get to the "real" Demi Moore.
Also from Vanity Fair's "Power Couples": Amy Poehler and Will Arnett in a fun take on classic Hollywood roles.