Why women have to be good-looking and men don't - English

Among crumpled faces

By Julia Korbik21.10.2014Culture and Society, Medien

Women have to be good-looking; men don’t. Especially in Hollywood.

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Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images

For no particular reason, I was talking about the actor Javier Bardem with my father the other day. “You can’t really call him good-looking”, I said, “but he looks interesting.” Whereupon my father, in all his 67-year-old glory, answered: “Men don’t have to be good-looking.” Accompanied by a satisfied snort.

He’s right. Women have to be good-looking, beautiful; men don’t. This is true in general but also in particular, and certainly in the dream factory called Hollywood. Not so long ago, Adam Driver, known as the sexually disturbed freak in the TV show “Girls”, was cast in the new “Star Wars” movie – despite his, in Hollywood terms, evident flaws: floppy ears meet a too-small head meets a strangely wonky face. Doesn’t matter. Edgy, “interesting” guys like Driver or “Sherlock Holmes” Benedict Cumberbatch are much sought after.

“Cumberbitches”? “Swintonites”!

Of course “interesting” actresses do exist – in this case, however, the verb rather means “strange”. There is Tilda Swinton, some kind of female David Bowie, always appearing as if she was beamed from a foreign galaxy to our planet to either make great movies or to float around fashion events as an androgynous mystical creature. But a place on the list of the “Sexiest Women”? An ethereous one-meter-eighty woman amongst the illustrious likes of Angelina Jolie, Mila Kunis or Scarlett Johansson? You wish. Benedict Cumberbatch, on the other hand, lands himself a place among the “Sexiest Men” without further ado, backed by his group of female supporters, the self-proclaimed “Cumberbitches” (I, in return, plan to create a group of “Swintonites”, should anyone be interested).

Above all, men benefit from the fact that their age really doesn’t matter. Harrison Ford had a ripe 56 years under his belt when voted “Sexiest Man Alive” in 1998; the “Sexiest Woman Alive” has, until now, never been older than her mid-thirties. Aside from that, there are almost no appealing parts in Hollywood for women over 50, which is also due to the fact that the majority of directors and producers are male. Of course, the exception proves the rule. Or, as comedian Tina Fey put it: “There are still great parts in Hollywood for Meryl Streeps over 60!”

A military dictatorship led by Tilda Swinton

All of this gets Scarlett Johansson’s (“Sexiest Woman Alive” 2013) goat. In 2008 she told Hello Magazine: “Women kind of wilt as men sort of achieve as they get older, like wine or whatever. It’s like, ‘Oh, she’s past her prime and she can’t play a sex symbol’.” Scarlett, never say die: those days are over, for ““Esquire” just recently declared women over 40 to be desirable!”:http://www.esquire.com/blogs/culture/42-year-old-women Prior to that “there used to be something tragic about even the most beautiful forty-two-year-old woman.”

Well, this problem is now solved and I’m looking forward to an all-female version of “The Expendables”: Instead of looking at male over-30 crumpled faces like Sylvester Stallone’s, we’ll be looking at female over-30 crumpled faces like that of Daryl Hannah, whose character is fighting heavily armed against a military dictatorship led by Tilda Swinton. Adam Driver and Benedict Cumberbatch will be kindly allowed to play the parts of potential love interests.

_If this text needed a soundtrack, this would be it: “Jenny Lewis – Just One Of The Guys”:http://www.clipfish.de/musikvideos/video/4100024/jenny-lewis-just-one-of-the-guys/_

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