Taking to Twitter, Minnie Driver has shared some home truths about turning 50.
Milestone birthdays are always nerve-wracking, no matter what age you’ve reached. For a long time, though, women have always eyed their 50th birthdays in particular with something not unlike trepidation.
It’s easy to see why. Forget the menopause: we’ve always been more concerned about the fact that, in most studies of happiness, life satisfaction bottoms out in the early fifties. That we will suddenly become social pariahs (just look what everyone said about Keanu Reeves’ girlfriend Alexandra Grant, and she’s only 46!). That our money worries will only increase: as reported by the Office for National Statistics in 2019, the gender pay gap is still sat at over 15% among 50 to 59-year-olds. Why? Because women over 40 are apparently more likely to work in lower-paid occupations and, compared with younger women, are less likely to work as managers, directors or senior officials.
In 2020, though, things are changing. Take the Oscars, for example: since 2010, best actresses had an average age of 41, up from 36 in the previous decade (2000-2009). Two years ago, a (then) 50-year-old Nicole Kidman accepted her first ever Screen Actors Guild Award for her role in HBO’s Big Little Lies. Tess Daly and Davina McCall, with Strictly Come Dancing and The Masked Singer, are repping prime-time Saturday TV shows. And, this year, we watched in awe as a 50-year-old Jennifer Lopez teamed up with Shakira for an unforgettable Super Bowl halftime show.
The shift has seen the internet flooded with a spate of ‘50 is the new [INSERT AGE HERE]’ articles. And Minnie Driver has had enough.
Taking to Twitter, the actor wrote: “Sick of this ‘50 is the new…’ [because] 50 has always been 50. Women were previously just expected to shrivel and accept their husk.”
She added: “I suppose it must be terrifying to a lot of men if we actually burned brighter, hotter, more ambitious and emancipated from shame, the older we got.”
The aforementioned Lopez (aka Jenny from the Block) has a similar approach to ageing, insisting that it’s actually men who have far more to worry about as they grow older because they are ‘less emotionally equipped to deal with the ageing process’.
“Men in their 20s are very confident and cocky, and women are super insecure,” she said. “And then it flips – men get super insecure, and women get comfortable in their own skin, in a way that makes them more beautiful.”
Lopez continued: “I never appreciated my body or my looks when I was in my 20s. Now I’m like, ‘Look at me! Look at you!’ Not in a conceited or arrogant way – I just appreciate myself in a way I didn’t when I was that age.
“And it’s not about perfection. I like the scars that I have.”
And so, with these words ringing in our ears, let’s get out there and burn brighter than ever before. Age is just a number, after all – let’s just make sure it’s… well, y’know, it’s the actual number.