I didn’t know whether to applaud or sigh at a feature on Woman’s Hour about over-50s modelling. On one hand, it’s great that these women are getting work, on the other, it’s pretty tragic that their bodies are still their most lucrative assets – and I don’t mean ‘assets’ in a creepy Daily Mail way.
One of the women interviewed said as much, admitting there was not much else she could do to earn money. Isn’t that depressing? When you think of all the knowledge and experience that goes into the stuff women do so effortlessly by the time they are that age – running homes, bringing up children, looking after grandchildren, doing all the boring admin jobs no one wants to touch, that actually make the wheels of life turn, while also cooking, washing and cleaning, and still the only thing that the outside world values about them is the way they look in a frock.
The late Carrie Fisher said ‘youth and beauty are not accomplishments,’ but she knew that many people weighed her appearance at 19 in a gold bikini against her searing writing and came down with a bump on the swimwear side.
At least the surge in older models means that advertisers and TV folk have finally worked out that women do live beyond the age of 49.