Eva Mendes’ spot-on response to the troll who tried to age-shame her was a lesson in knowing your worth – now, the actor has explained why she felt compelled to respond.
Despite the fact that it is a natural (and unavoidable) process, the idea that a woman would show signs of ageing – or, shock horror, even embrace it – is one that society continues to struggle with. God forbid a woman dare to step outside with a wrinkle on her face!
This attitude towards ageing reared its ugly head yet again when a troll commented on Eva Mendes’ Instagram post: “she’s getting old”.
However, Mendes decided to call out the comment.
“Yes, you’re right,” she replied. “Thank God I’m getting old. That means I’m still here.”
She continued: “I’m gonna be 46 soon and I’m grateful every day that I’m ageing. Was your comment supposed to make me feel bad? It didn’t. It makes me feel grateful. So thank you for the reminder that I’m still here.”
Mendes also responded to a comment which called out the troll’s choice of ‘insult’, which referred to it as “woman on woman negativity”.
“I hear ya on the woman on woman negativity sis,” Mendes replied. “Let’s make it all about love in 2020. So thanks for sending the love!!!! Sending it right back!!!!!!”
In a new interview with People, Mendes elaborated on her reaction, explaining that she had been “excited” by the comment because she had something to say on the topic. Mendes told the publication: “I do not think it was a malicious comment, but I think it’s more dangerous because it wasn’t malicious because it’s just ingrained in society that getting older is something we should either fear or be ashamed of. I wanted to make sure to get back to that person because I had something to say.”
“I think the whole thing about not asking a woman what her age is archaic,” she continued. “It’s like, you can ask me my age and I will happily tell you, I’ll be shocked, somewhat shocked. I’m about to turn 46, and that’s somewhat shocking to me. But I’m proud of that.”
The actor also touched on why, as a society, we should look at ageing differently than we currently do. “I want to show you that I take it as a compliment because I’m still here. And I have, you know, instead of saying I am 46, I wish we could change it and I wish I could say, ‘I have 46 years to me’ because in Spanish it’s very beautiful. It’s like I don’t feel 46 but I do feel like I have 46 years if experience to me. I just find that so empowering.”
Ageism is a particularly prevalent issue in Hollywood, so it’s great to see Mendes speaking out in response to this kind of comment. A 2016 survey of over 2,000 Hollywood films by Polygraph found that women are increasingly marginalised in Hollywood as they age, with women between the ages of 22 and 31 speaking 38% of all the female dialogue – a figure which fell to 31% after the age of 32 and to 20% for actors aged 42-65. Importantly – but not surprisingly – those results were completely the opposite for men.
Mendes isn’t the first celebrity to challenge the negative association society has with ageing, and encourage her fans to be grateful for the process. Earlier this year, actor and activist Jameela Jamil took to Twitter to remind her followers that ageing is a “privilege” that many people actually don’t get to experience.
“I would just like to say, that as someone who has been chronically ill my whole life, and had cancer twice, I find it EXTREMELY offensive that there is a cultural taboo around ageing,” she wrote. “Those of us who fight for our lives and those who lost that fight young deserve more respect.
“It is a sickness of our society to look at ageing as anything other than an achievement/privilege,” she concluded.
Singer songwriter Pink also threw her hat into the ring in 2018, calling ageing a “blessing” and urging her fans to celebrate the ‘signs’ of ageing as symbols of a life well lived.
“I am of the mindset that it’s a blessing to grow old,” she wrote. “That if your face has lines around your eyes and mouth it means you’ve laughed a lot. I pray I look older in 10 years, cause that will mean I’m alive.”