There’s something that we’re reluctant to say when it comes to Karl Stefanovic’s alleged new girlfriend, 33-year-old Jasmine Yarbrough.
The ‘news’ of the relationship has been splashed across the tabloids.
Headlines read Meet the girl who put a smile back on Karl’s dial, Karl Stefanovic’s new girlfriend: Who is Jasmine Yarbrough? and the Daily Mail published Karl to go public with new girlfriend, as though they hadn’t already done that for him.
There are paparazzi pictures of the two lazing on the bow of a boat, and getting into the backseat of a car together. Photos taken without their knowledge, and certainly without their permission.
We discuss Karl Stefanovic’s new relationship on Mamamia Out Loud. Post continues below.
But my overwhelming response to the gossip (I repeat gossip – not news) can be summarised into one monosyllabic word:
Ouch because it’s so familiar. Ouch because the woman he was married to for 21 years, 44-year-old Cassandra Thorburn, no doubt has access to the internet.
Of course, I do not claim to have any idea what Thorburn is feeling right now. They split up five months ago, and by all reports she is happy and unperturbed.
So perhaps this has nothing to do with Thorburn at all. Perhaps I am feeling for The Cassandra Thorburns, of whom I know many.
The woman who bore children with a partner she loved.
The woman who might have put her career on the back-burner. Who might have put her husband's career before her own.
The woman who made sacrifices.
The woman who juggled countless responsibilities.
The woman whose marriage has broken down, and now she is grieving.
The woman whose ex partner has moved on with a woman 10 years her junior.
A woman with no children.
A woman with relatively few domestic responsibilities.
A woman who can lie on a yacht and party until 2am.
A woman who our culture reads as in her 'prime'.
This cultural phenomenon, of middle aged men moving on with women many years younger than them, is no ones 'fault' necessarily.
Stefanovic is single. He is not doing anything wrong or inconsiderate.
He has not "gone public" with his new relationship, in fact, it would appear that he has done all he can to keep it private. From what we can tell he's desperately tried to protect his ex partner and children, from a life that none of them chose.
Yarbrough's age shouldn't matter. A 42-year-old man dating a 33-year-old is far from taboo.
But that doesn't mean it hurts any less.
But something about it feels expected. Inevitable.
In a culture that renders women of a certain age invisible and privileges sexual attractiveness above all else, why wouldn't a man pander over a younger woman?
The younger woman eyes us from billboards and looks down at us from the big screen. She plays out men's sexual fantasies in pornography, and stares seductively from lingerie advertisements.
She is there to remind us of what we are not. She is thinner and happier. She is carefree and fun. She can play and laugh.
She is at once our antithesis and everything we know we should be. And she reminds us of something we already knew.
That too often a woman's power lies in her youth. And her body. And her beauty. And without it, we struggle to be seen.
So as images of model and shoe designer 33-year-old Jasmine Yarbrough circulate across the Internet, of her in bikinis and at parties, I feel for The Cassandra Thorburns.
The ones who feel inadequate.
Like, as Mia Freedman put it, an "old bag of goods". Who might feel cast aside and replaced.
Any woman who has watched a man she once loved happily move on with someone else, knows that it comes with a unique brand of pain. And, today, images of those women are often at our fingertips.
But there's something even more gut-wrenching about a woman whose ex partner's "new found" happiness is dominating the 24 hour news cycle. And images of his stunning girlfriend punctuate every story.
It's no ones fault.
But it hurts.
You can listen to the full episode of Mamamia Out Loud, here.
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