So. She’s been all over the internet the last few days. Renée Zellweger (hereafter, RZ, to save my poor fingers) disappeared from the public eye for a month and reappeared a different woman. You’ve seen it. Every single news site in the world has covered it. (What about Ebola?! I hear people cry. Who cares about Ebola, there are celebrities CHANGING!)
The internet was shocked when RZ reappeared after her absence, because her face had changed dramatically. And the reaction to that shock? The war cries. SEXISM! AGEISM! EVERYTHINGISM! The internet was full of terrible people who expected RZ to look exactly the same until the day she died, and the fact that she had “aged” was sickening to the world. For shame, internet, for shame!
Sounds ridiculous, right? Of course it is. Because that’s not the reason people were shocked. No one is saying “Wow she’s gotten old”, or “Wow she looks awful” or “Wow she’s definitely not Bridget Jones anymore”.
They’re saying “Who’s that?”
She doesn’t look like someone who has aged badly. She doesn’t look like someone who used to be youthful and has hit life hard and it doesn’t agree with her face. She looks like a completely different person. The number of times I had to be told that it was RZ and not a mistake… This isn’t sexism, this isn’t ageism, this isn’t someone who ought to be a feminist but isn’t. This is actual, legitimate shock. It’s not an attack against feminism, it’s confusion. Women age. This should be no surprise to anyone. But women do not, in the space of four weeks, transform into a completely different person. No, she does not look worse, she does not look older, and I’m definitely not being deliberately sexist or ageist or anything – but she definitely looks like a different person.
It’s okay to acknowledge that. It’s not being insulting, it’s not being rude, it’s not being offensive. It’s having eyeballs. If no one had noticed, it would have been insane. The paparazzi at the red carpet event probably had to ask who she was. She looks like a completely different person. And the automatic leap to “sexist”, “ageist” and the rest is pathetic. There’s so much of this going around right now. Feminists who think they have to prove that they’re superior to men. Newsflash, ladies – the idea is equality. Not superiority. Stop taking offence at every little thing.
I read, with interest, an article today about a woman who was outraged that men have the audacity to approach pretty women in coffee shops and disturb their “coffee time” by speaking to them. Heaven forbid! The woman was outraged on behalf of feminists everywhere, thought this was disgraceful, and that men were awful people for doing this. Umm… What? So, people aren’t allowed to communicate now, outside of formally arranged exchanges? It’s ridiculous.
So please, feminists, return to the original point. It’s not offensive to notice that someone has drastically changed appearance in a short space of time. It’s not sexist to start a conversation with a woman, unless you consider it to be unacceptable for a woman to start a conversation with a man (heaven forbid!). Let’s try and aim for equality, please. We won’t get anywhere until we realise equality is the way forward.