With a stellar career spanning 46 years, Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon knows what it’s like to be in the spotlight. And when she graced the red carpet of the 22nd Screen Actors Guild Awards in January last year, the flurry of attention she received may have been depressing, but not entirely unsurprising.
For the spotlight shone not on her nomination for her role in The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, but instead on her choice of attire: a white Max Mara suit with a black bra peeking out underneath – something presenter Piers Morgan couldn’t resist having a dig at via social media.
However, she clapped back succinctly at the time with a fabulous throwback shot on Twitter, and now has expanded on her views on ageism, sexism and the presenter in a new interview.
While the tuxedo-as-a-top has long been a celebrity go-to, when Sarandon chose to rock the look, Twitter users were quick to weigh in on the star’s sartorial choice.
Morgan quickly had his say, describing the look as“tacky” and even going as far as to suggest that it was a “stunt”, while others played on the boring pun of sagging breasts, confirming that the real issue here was their discomfort with a woman, then aged 69, daring to show some skin.
Lots of furious feminists raging at me for daring to suggest Susan Sarandon's "In Memoriam" cleavage stunt was tacky.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) February 4, 2016
Pipe down. It was.
You would think Susan Sarandon would win the SAG awards everytime— milk tea (@papigogetem) December 15, 2011
However, Sarandon continued to show the world that she really couldn’t care less what Morgan, or anyone else, has to say about the clothes on her back when she stole the show in a fabulous gown at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year.
Sarandon discussed the situation with InStyle in a recent interview, and explained that she aims to “lead by example” in the fight against ageism in Hollywood – pointing out that younger stars don’t seem to get quite the same level of criticism.
In response to Morgan’s attack, she quipped: “I don’t know what his problem was – maybe his mother didn’t nurse him or something?
“He certainly has a problem with sensuality and seems to be very forgiving of younger women who are provocative.”
While Morgan said that his response was centered on the fact that Sarandon was presenting the ‘In Memorium’ segment of the awards, the actress linked this type of outfit-shaming with ageism.
Younger stars, such as Emilia Clarke, Rooney Mara, Kate Mara, Clare Danes and Joanne Froggatt were showing just as much, if not more, skin on the night that sparked the ‘controversy’, but their looks largely passed safely under the radar.
“Ageism is still around and there are still these ideas that women over 30 can’t do certain things and that women over a certain age shouldn’t do certain things in films,” Sarandon continues.
“There is still more work that that needs to be done in terms of showing older women as active, desirable women.”
That said, in true feminist style Sarandon goes on to explain that she never dresses to make a point, and chooses her outfits for herself.
“I never consciously choose to show off my sexuality,” she explains.
“I alternate between tuxedos and dresses and from being more covered up to not so covered up. For Cannes the stylist for L’Oreal, Michael Angel handed me the black Alberta Ferretti dress and it worked. The year before I wore flats and that was another thing that caused a lot of attention.
“I just felt good in that dress and it wasn’t a case of doing a premediated whatever… I was pleased with the reaction and if you are going to do something like that it’s good to have your mates with you – Julianne (Moore) was there. I was just dressing up to have a good time. I just wear what’s comfortable!”
See more of the women making waves on the red carpet, right here.
Images: Rex Features