Ageism strikes again.
I don’t have a problem with her being on SI, or flaunting her body. What I had a problem with was her saying she hadn’t had any work done and deriding those who use filters. It sets unrealistic expectations for women and that only young looking women can be thought of as sexy. I am not considered old at all but I’m approaching middle age and I would love more role models that embrace their age and/or owned up to the work they’ve had done so that we don’t feel like there’s something wrong with us for not looking that way.
Martha looks fantastic and I’m glad she’s featured. She and women her age are not invisible, relegated to the shadows of their younger selves. They are wonderful as they are. I always think people are fortunate to get old and if she’s up for it... 👏🏾👏🏾
I don't like Martha Stewart either. And don't even get me started on Oprah! It isn't that I'm jealous; it's more that I don't like what they do or how they treat people. Perhaps that's inevitable once you get to their level of wealth and popularity. I don't know and I'm never going to find out.
I tried to avoid reading about Stewart's SI cover. I truly did, mostly because I dislike the SI swimsuit issue and am not a fan of her. But it was impossible to avoid. I appreciate women aging naturally. I've never been fond of makeup or beauty enhancement in general. However, as I get older, I understand the impulse more. It's hard to be OK looking like this when you used to look like that. But that's the thing, right? What if we celebrated wrinkles (especially laugh lines)? What if we revered a round, soft, comfortable body? Instead, we all bow to the patriarchal notion that, in order to be attractive, you must look young and "hot."
I've been so upset with the increasing number of famous women (and women with money - I live around Dallas; there are TONS of women undergoing plastic surgery) who are willing to risk their health and beauty to still look young. Meg Ryan is unrecognizable. Madonna looks awful. But then there are those who are successful at their beauty enhancements, like Stewart and Moreno (I don't buy the "genetics" or "only" arguments), who now become the beauty ideal. Ugh! I don't want fight to be super thin and have cut arms in my 80s. If that's how I looked naturally, then OK, but I have yet to meet that person. Stewart looked great but at what cost to her and to the rest of us? And would we expect a man her age to be paraded around in a speedo? No, of course not. Men don't have to be sexy in order to be worthy.
As always, I appreciate Gloria Steinum aging naturally. I also appreciate Jane Fonda being honest. I just wish more women would be OK with looking however they do as we age. In my Psychology of Women class, one of my older students did a project where she compared the women in Modern Maturity magazine (for the over 50 crowd) with her own friends. They women in the magazine looked late 30s, 40s at the oldest. Her friends looked their age and hurrah for them! Women must be comfortable in our own skin instead of going along with impossible patriarchal ideals.
Can we just get rid of the SI swimsuit edition? It's sexist and terrible.
What bothers me is not what Martha (or anyone else) does to their bodies. If I have a problem it’s with Sports Illustrated, which digitally alters every cover shoot and leaves women of all ages with an unrealistic picture of what’s “normal” for their bodies. I’m with Jenny Chen on this. It’s not the individual woman, it’s the cultural deception/normalization of “perfect” bodies that are actually digitally produced that bothers me. And I agree with her about your piece too. Very, very enjoyable!!
Oh, I am so with you on this! I'm 65, wear my hair long, and due to allergies avoid a lot of makeup. My reaction to Martha Stewart was much the same as yours--not a big fan (though I did buy her mags occasionally for color palette ideas when I was making and selling bead jewelry, as well as checking out craft trends for things I was selling), but all the same, I was very much YOU GO WOMAN with her SI pix. Damn, I hope I look that good at her age. Unlikely because I have my mother's chunky torso, but hey, I can still do stuff.
No work done here, save for Elizabeth Arden ceramide capsules for a period of time in my 50s.
I’m going with “Live and Let Live”. My opinion of Martha doing a photo shoot with SI or doing a porn video really doesn’t matter. I’m not concerned about either one.
Coincidentally, I wrote a piece about embracing our gray (and our aging process by association) right before the internet blew up with Martha Stewart's SI cover. https://elizabethbeggins.substack.com/p/silver-linings
As usual, I can see both sides of this coin. I don't intend to denigrate women, or men, who opt to take measures that enhance their looks, or those who luck into the privilege of good genes (and/or affluence, as is supposedly the case with M. Diddy). But, it's not just looks they're chasing - it's a certain kind of look, a youthful one, free from wrinkles, sagging chins, and droopy eyelids. That's where my issue with Martha's cover image comes from. It's not about her. It's about the industries that work so hard to make sure we get the memo that we are less worthy as we age. Less worthy of being on the cover of a ridiculously sexist magazine issue. Less worthy of jobs. Less worthy of having sexual partners. If we don't keep ourselves looking young, we're just a cast off bit of melba toast.
While I appreciate and generally agree with the calls to not pit women against women, and to laud the qualities of feminism, strength, and tenacity found in someone like Martha Stewart, I still think we owe it to ourselves to look carefully at what we hold up as a mirror for our standards. Privilege matters. Genes matter. And, the stories we tell ourselves matter. We are worth more than our looks and our earnings, and I think the SI cover doesn't do a decent job of making that point.
I believe THAT woman is Brave, Strong, and has pluck and in this beholders eyes...Beauty. Props Martha!
Eighty or not, I'd love to have seen the non-airbrush pics of Martha Stewart, the REAL ones. The kind that Helen Mirren, Judy Dench and Maggie Smith have taken. I suppose the thing that I can't understand is why anyone would lower themselves to appear in Sports Illustrated anyway, which is the ultimate misogynistic publication, IMO. She would have been more admired if she had done something meaningful for society.
There's any number of blogs for women over 60 out there- the women are attractive, don't use plastic surgery and its lesser evils to improve themselves, are normal and accepting of age and some even write thinking women's posts on ageing, grief, and life. They have more credibility than Martha Stewart. The lovely late Brenda Kinsel comes to mind...
And Ramona, I'm with you - Oil of Olay - best daily moisturiser ever. Even so - at nearly 72, I've got crows feet, laughter lines, two horrendous lines each side of my chin, crepe folded arms, a wrinkled neck and chest and silver hair and my boobs are dropping daily! Whatever - it's all genes and a lived life and I'm grateful to still enjoy it.
Thank you for another honest post.
Also not a Martha Stewart fan, or Oprah,, for that matter. I agree with everything you wrote. Today is my birthday. I am now 68. In my opinion, every birthday is a gift at this point. Do I enjoy the changes in my looks? Not particularly. Shopping for clothing gets worse and worse with every passing year. There was a time when only bathing suit shopping felt that way. Now, it encompasses just about everything. One thing I won’t give up on is my red lipstick. It’s always been my secret weapon to give me courage during some particularly difficult times in my life. So I echo your sentiments and say, Martha, you go, girl. We all need to stick together.
I applaud Martha! She looks great & I’m tired of misogyny & sexism & agism!
I’d probably be happier if these mags would stop posting women in bathing suits on their cover, no matter the age.
That being said, I have never bought a SI mag and never will. I frown on publications that think a pic of some woman’s body is a way to sell them. Give me a story of a woman who survived against odds to do something spectacular, and bonus points if it was accomplished because she wanted to help the less fortunate.
Martha Stewart has more $$ than she will ever spend. Maybe she’s sending a message about her age and “looking good” but I don’t buy the “never had any work done” BS. How about we stop glorifying women for their “perfect looks” and instead revere them for their accomplishments.
Just my two cents…
Martha Stewart will always have cool points from me for her friendship and partnership with Snoop Dogg.