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Over the Hill and Tina Fey

Tina Fey

Tina Fey

I read Tina Fey’s book Bossypants last week. While it’s funny, it’s a difficult read because I think she would hate me and everything that I stand for, something she makes abundantly clear throughout the book. She has footnotes and little asides about how evil conservatives are; which is not surprising since she played a huge role in bringing down Sarah Palin.


The most annoying thing Fey wrote was towards the end of the book because it perpetuates a myth about Hollywood that I’m getting sick of: that no actress over 40 can work in Hollywood. This is a myth I have heard all my life: it’s stated by everyone in the media as fact. Rosanna Arquette even made a movie about it called Searching for Deborah Winger where a bunch of still beautiful stars whine about the lack of roles for older actresses in Hollywood.

Everyone in the media takes this piece of feminist victimization pabulum as fact and tut tuts over the fact that we as a collective have an aversion to seeing wrinkled visages and women suffering from Cooper’s droop on our movie screens. They whine about how France is better because they let Catherine Denauve act and they appreciate older women.

Except all of this isn’t true! Most of our major female movie stars are over forty.  Julia Roberts, Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta Jones, Halle Berry, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Aniston and Lindsey Lohan are all in their 40’s. Actually Lindsey’s in her 20’s: the drugs just make her look 40. Diane Lane, Julianne Moore and Annette Benning, are in their 50’s. Diane Keaton, Helen Mirren and yes, Meryl Streep are in their 60’s. These women aren’t playing grandmother roles: they are sex symbols. What magazine hasn’t drooled over the still sexy Helen Mirren as she parades around in a bikini or in a slinky dress at an awards show?

The feminists say that television is even worse: it is the medium for the very young.  Really? Tell that to the Desperate Housewives or the women of Cougar Town. Look how things have changed: thirty years ago these shows would have been called The Golden Girls. Teri Hatcher and Courtney Cox are the same age as Bea Arthur and Rue McClanahan were when they made The Golden Girls: women are obviously aging much better now. We have healthier lifestyles and better procedures: a woman in her 40’s can easily look like she’s in her late 20’s. Women aren’t giving in to age like they used to:  fifty years ago Courtney Cox would have thrown in the towel and sported blue hair and a Muumuu.

These older women are still box office draws: Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock can open a movie to blockbuster levels. Meryl Streep and Diane Keaton will guarantee a large audience. Cougar Town and Desperate Housewives are hits. In the cynical Hollywood world, the only thing that matters is making money. Women over 40 obviously make lots of money. So they’re starring in lots of movies and television shows.

As an actress, I’ve always been terrified to turn 40: it looms over me like some career ending dead end. If I don’t make it before I’m 40, it’s over I’ll think to myself. Most women, even if they aren’t actresses think the same way: 40 looms over us as the age our fertility dries up, the age no man will find us attractive, the age when our careers are over. Liberal women like Tina Fey constantly make us aware that we will be useless after 40. We are told by the feminists that our lives are over at the halfway point: that we are resigned to be minds only, sexless intellects with deep lines on our craggy faces like Georgia O’Keefe or Arianna Huffington. The evidence is overwhelming that this is untrue. The feminists are wrong. We can be new wives.  We can have new careers.  We can make it in our old careers. Life does not end for women at 40: it is just a number.  Life continues on.


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One Comment for “Over the Hill and Tina Fey”

  1. Ira Schwartz says:

    Since I haven’t read Fey’s book I won’t comment on that part of your article but what I will comment on is the topic of “Age Discrimination” in Hollywood. You could not be more wrong in your assessment of the information you presented. Age discrimination is not only a way of doing business in Hollywood it is rampant. You list three shows on Prime Time TV that are about and employ actors over 40. That’s three shows out of close to 110 first run TV series presently running on Network, satellite and cable. Out of those 110 shows, 99 percent of the leads are under the age of 40, most under 35. The figures for writers and support personnel is even worse. I can tell you from first hand experience Age Discrimination is alive and flourishing in Hollywood and it is being done with the blessings of most production companies and studio’s. Ira

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