opinion

HOLLY WAINWRIGHT: Sarah Jessica Parker can look exactly as old as she damn well pleases.

Sarah Jessica Parker is a goddess.

She’s an actress, a producer, a designer. She’s the woman who was instrumental in creating the most iconic TV show of a decade. She’s a mother of three, a wife. She’s a passionate advocate for UNICEF and AIDS research. She’s one of eight children who grew up working class in the plains of America’s mid-west and made it to the top of her field. The woman is New York City.

Sarah Jessica Parker is also 53 years old.  She has been working since she was 11, when she stepped onto a Broadway stage as a child actor. Her ambition and grit, work ethic, style and talent has taken her far, made her millions and won her awards.

And what do we say about Sarah Jessica Parker now?

We say she looks old.

She appears on a red carpet in the most jaw-dropping work of art in an ocean of works-of-art and we peer at her and count her wrinkles. And then we bitch about them on the Internet.

sarah-jessica-parker-met-gala 2018
We think her look was utterly fab. Image: Getty.

Today the Australian online world - and surely in a short time, the entire internet  -  is faux hand-wringing over the commentary that has followed SJP's (she will forever be SJP to me, a card-carrying member of Generation X) show-stopping appearance at the MET.

Comments are being picked apart that question her hydration, her diet, her decision to take a risk with that eye colour at her age.

Sarah Jessica Parker's age is 53. She is not old. But she is not young.

Damn right she isn't. She's not innocent, not green, not inexperienced. She knows herself, she knows her body, she knows her taste.

She's the woman who wears a WHOLE NATIVITY SCENE on her head to a fashion gala.

That's the kind of confidence that only comes with age, or extreme naivety. And Sarah Jessica Parker is not naive.

It seems this commentary comes from (mostly) women who looked at SJP's face underneath the little baby Jesus, and were confused.

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Why is there a famous woman in her 50s with wrinkles? Does she know that she looks her age? What is she thinking?

Sarah Jessica Parker has earned the right to look her age. We all have.

SJP in SATC
SJP in some of her best looks from her iconic role as Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City. Image: HBO.

She's earned the right to look however she damn well chooses. And of course, it is a choice.

When you are rich and beautiful and in the public eye, you have all kinds of options for fighting off time, more than those of us who believe that whole 'sunscreen-and-water and hope for the best' routine will save us from the inevitable turkey neck.

In New York City, if one has the time and the resources, one could make Not Getting Wrinkles a full-time job.

Her face could be smooth and plumped, her forehead could be flat, her laugh-lines erased. Her neck could be behind her ears by now.

If SJP wanted to inject her crows' feet with the tears of 16-year-old virgins, drink unicorn blood, or have her whole face taken off and replaced with a Teflon facsimile, she could do that.

Who else is a famous woman of a similar age? Let's throw out some names.

Nicole Kidman. Courteney Cox. Elizabeth Hurley. Pamela Anderson. Brooke Shields.

Courtney Cox, Nicole Kidman and Brooke Shields
Courtney Cox, Nicole Kidman and Brooke Shields. Image: Getty.
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All absolutely beautiful, smart, accomplished, experienced women in different ways. Every single one of them regularly criticised for the things they have allegedly "done" to their faces. Perfectly illustrating the 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' dichotomy that every woman has familiarised herself with by the time she's grown breasts.

Not one of those women looks like a 53-year-old you might bump into today at Target.

And nor does SJP, clearly. The headgear would confuse the hell out of the security sensors for a start.

But SJP looks like herself.

She always, always has. And now, SJP is 53 years old. And she still looks like herself.

Sarah Jessica Parker at the Met Gala
Further proof that SJP always brings her best to the Met Gala. (L-R) 2013, 2015, 2018. Image: Getty.

OLD is not the worst thing a woman can be. It's the best. She's stayed a year longer with the people she loves, spent another 365 days working, creating, sexing, laughing, drinking, running, hugging, eating... wearing nativity scenes on her head to parties.

The goddess SJP can look exactly as old or young as she damn well pleases and so can you and so can I. Maybe her appearance on that high-pressure carpet - balancing a manger on her hairdo and rocking a few laughter lines - signals that a woman's age can become a badge of honour, not a dirty little secret.

Imagine that: Stories on our faces that we don't have to hide.

Fifty Three is not old. But it's not young either.

And thank God for that.

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