I wish I’d written this take by the Washington Post’s Roxanne Roberts on the Gap jeanswear chain’s replacement of about-to-turn-40 Sarah “Sex in the City” Jessica Parker with 17-year-old Brit singer Joss Stone as poster girl:
“Let me also be the first to predict that indignant equal-opportunists will fling their Manolo Blahniks across the room and loudly decry yet another example of the sexism/ageism/injustice that afflicts the modern woman. Middle-aged actresses will sigh dramatically on ‘The View,’ dime-store feminists will offer the ‘how little society has really changed’ exegeses and Gap executives will join Harvard President Larry Summers in the politically incorrect woodshed. Cue the violins and pour the cosmos.
“Time out for a reality check….
“…[F]or the record: Forty is not the ‘new 30’ no matter how cute you are, and most teenagers don’t want to look like any 39-year-old, no matter how chic. The reality is that 40 is still 40, even with Botox and really cute khakis. The eyes still go, the knees aren’t quite as flexible, and sometimes older and wiser is not a fair trade for crow’s feet or alimony. The question is not if we age but how gracefully we do it.
“Are ageism and sexism real problems? Yes. Are they the problem in this case? Impossible to know for sure, but to label it as such trivializes real cases of discrimination for qualified people desperately fighting to hold onto their jobs.
“Please, please, please. Pay me $38 million for a year’s work, then drop me faster than one of George Clooney’s girlfriends. I’ll live. Trust me.”