OMG! I forgot to stay young …

by Penny Cook

Sibylesque Clarissa pinkola Estes

Although we now know about the hormonal aspects of menopause … and let me tell you, that concept was explained to me as a ‘pause between men’ … have we really explored the behavioural aspects?

It might just be my age and being bashed up by life, but am I alone in my thoughts and reactions? I’m finding more and more, my response to ‘chick flick tear jerker movies’ is less tears and more jerk. I don’t want to see the male mid-life crisis being rewarded by the reconciliation with the long-suffering wife on screen, or in real life. I don’t want to see the middle-age men in Hollywood more easily getting roles – possibly as the love interest of someone 25 years his junior – when women have to fight for authentic stories, as they age. I don’t want to see women on screen, or in life, having to work to stay looking young so they are valued.


We are discriminated against on so many fronts on the screen and in real life. Then, we further disadvantage ourselves by wilfully aging. Meanwhile, we face inequality of pay at every age. That’s the real life script. We burnt the bra. There are no more undergarments left to burn.

So what will it take … for equality now?


Penny CookPenny Cook has been an early childhood educator for over 30 years. She loves to travel  – anywhere. Penny is a mother and ‘Nan Pen’, who is continuously fascinated and amazed by her two young grandchildren.  She has always wanted to live in  a tree house by the beach …’s never too late!!…….


Photo source: Vintage Gal


How old is old in Hollywood? You don’t want to know.

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purple quote 1“I wish that other women would let other women age gracefully. Women take it as something personal that they are getting older. They think that they failed somehow by not staying 25. This is crazy to me because my belief is that it’s a privilege to get older – not everybody gets to get older’
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……………………………..Cameron Diaz, actress, 41.

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In the 1967 film, The Graduate, Anne Bancroft played Mrs Robinson, a bored-housewife living in a loveless marriage. When the 21-year-old Ben Braddock played by Dustin Hoffman visits the Robinsons, urged on by his parents (Mr Robinson is a partner in a legal firm with Ben’s father), he is seduced by the much older Mrs Robinson. Ben, however, falls in love with Elaine, the Robinson’s daughter, and in a climactic ending, the young couple run off together.

The Graduate 1967  Anne Bancroft  and Dustin Hoffman

The Graduate 1967
Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman

At the time, Anne Bancroft was 36-years-old and, in fact, only 6 years older than Dustin Hoffman. So, historically, in Hollywood you are branded ‘the older woman’ at 36 years of age.

Forty-five plus years on The Graduate highlights a more disturbing issue. In the film, Mrs Robinson is a ‘formidable’ character. There is a word you do not hear any more. ‘Formidable’ applied to an older woman in a position of authority. The ‘formidable woman’ was matronly and someone to reckon with. She stood for definite principles. She didn’t tolerate fools and often held the position of Hospital Matron, Head Mistress or, even, the family Matriarch. When we were young girls many ‘formidable women’ – Reverend Mother, for starters –  had our measure. Where are they today? These days, older women, who exercise authority are described as ‘ball breakers’, ‘old dragons’ or, in the case of the matriarch, ‘a Control Freak’. Is it the ‘management team’ and their spin that has replaced the ‘formidable woman in the workplace? Has the mass movement of women out of the home and into the workplace in the 1970s unthroned the matriarch? Curious, isn’t it?

Anne Bancroft, 70, 2001

Anne Bancroft, 70, 2001

At 70 years of age Anne Bancroft (above) still looked impressive. She won an Oscar in 1962 for her role in The Miracle Worker. She was happily married to her second husband, Mel Brooks, for 45 years. They had one son. Sadly, she died in 2005.

Photo Source: Film Promotion Pic and