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The Renee Zellweger Hullabaloo: Faces, Bodies, Feminism, and Hollywood

The Renee Zellweger Hullabaloo: Faces, Bodies, Feminism, and Hollywood

From my latest Forbes post about the the media’s reaction to Renee Zellweger’s new look at Elle Magazine‘s annual event honoring women in Hollywood and what it says about feminism and aging in Hollywood:

The question for me is what kind of roles we will see Zellweger play. She shined in Jerry Maguire and Chicago, and of course we loved her as Bridget Jones. But lots of movies let her down. Now, as she gets older, like most other women in Hollywood, those parts will be different. Keeping in mind that only 30% of characters in films last year were female and only 15% of protagonists were girls or women, there are not a lot of options for older actresses, especially for someone whose last movies were not well received. As Jennifer Garner remarked, every part she gets offered now is a mom part. Just because you are a mom doesn’t mean every part you play has to be a mom. But that’s what is out there now. Boy, have we have come a long way from Alias.

We are brutal to women in Hollywood as they age. Actually, we are brutal to women at every age. I wonder if we will learn any lessons from the hysteria surrounding Zellweger’s appearance. I doubt it, because I haven’t seen anyone write anything about how we shouldn’t even be talking about women’s appearances. It’s just the norm now. So the next time someone writes about how Hollywood is so feminist, remember, it’s not. Women are still judged incredibly differently. It doesn’t matter how many women identify as feminists. Hollywood is still a culture that makes a sport of knocking down women.

Read more at Forbes.

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