Why is it that even 60-year-olds need perky breasts and thigh gaps?
The first big-hitter of awards season passed us by this week, giving us little in the way of controversy. Aside from an unexpected Best Picture win, some amusing product placement by a plucky promotional model for a bottled water brand was the height of the Golden Globes excitement.
On the red carpet, last year's protest black had been replaced by rainbow shades and a record number of sartorially adventurous guys. There was also a strong representation of mature women amongst the red carpet guests and award nominees - proof that Hollywood has begun to make amends for the historical dearth of older women on screen. I sincerely hope that time is up on that Jurassic view of the expiry date of female stars.
In the fashion stakes, the more established talents certainly gave the young ingénues a run for their money. There was Allison Janney (59) in powder blue Christian Siriano that dropped from the shoulder revealing a flawless décolletage, her neck wrapped in a dramatic chain. There was Michelle Yeoh (56) in form-fitting green leather that opened into a lace skirt. Also in emerald was Catherine Zeta Jones (49), as ever channelling old Hollywood glamour with the ruffled front and thigh-high split of her Elie Saab gown.
Actual old Hollywood was represented by West Side Story star Rita Moreno (87), who gave us punk chic in leather trousers and a matching studded jacket. There was Laura Dern (51) in soft red Valentino ruffles that appeared sheer under the camera flashes. And there was Jamie Lee Curtis (60) absolutely rocking it in a sharp white McQueen dress with a flash of silver sequins, teased back hair and lashings of attitude.
Each and every one of these women looked sensational, to the point that even French author Yann Moix - who controversially said this week said that women over 50 are "too old to love" - must surely find them irresistible. That said, when I saw each of their pictures, my gut reaction was the same: would you be bothered?
Would you be bothered wearing restrictive leather, like Michelle and Rita? Would you be bothered flashing your legs like Jamie and Catherine? (And how the hell would you manage to sit down in CZJ's dress?) Would you be bothered sticking to whatever diet and exercise regimen keeps Laura's slender frame free of the mid-life spread? Would you be bothered lashing on whatever miracle cream makes Allison's skin look that good? Would you be bothered with all of the dieting and waxing and scaffold-like underwear it must have taken to get each of these women into their outfits - and in January too? When I'm their age, I sincerely hope not.
While, yes, I object to the notion that women should 'disappear' after 50, and, no, I don't think that anyone should be forced into dressing 'age appropriately' (or 'gender appropriately' for that matter), if I'm honest, these red carpet images left me downcast. When I reach 50, 60, 70, will I still be expected to have the skin of an infant and the figure of a teenager? Will the only way to stay visible be to dress like a woman half my age? I'd thought that the exact opposite would be the case; that as my CV and my self-possession increased over the years, it would become less relevant that my waistline had too.
I'll stress once again that it's a welcome change to see older women getting the roles and adulation that they deserve in Hollywood, but at the same time I'll sound a note of caution about the way that these women are seen. Just as we worry about the effects of portraying every 20-year-old as having a thigh-gap and perky breasts, we should also be careful about creating the impression that every 60-year-old should have, well, a thigh-gap and perky breasts.
In my later years, I hope that I'll be taking my fashion lead from Glenn Close, who won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a dramatic film this week. Glenn wore a black velvet Armani Prive gown that swept to the floor leaving everything to the imagination. Elegant, comfortable and the perfect way to potentially conceal dry winter skin, unshaven legs and a post-Christmas dinner figure without the need for Spanx. She might even have been wearing flats! Which surely is the right that she's earned - and we'll all have earned - by age 71.