As a woman in Hollywood, Renee Zellweger's appearance has always been a subject of discussion — and she would like it to stop, please.
In a lengthy interview with "The Hollywood Reporter" in anticipation of her third "Bridget Jones" movie, "Bridget Jones' Baby," Zellweger was asked about what it's like to grow older in the film industry. Her answer: that you'd never ask a man that question.
"I've never seen the maturation of a woman as a negative thing," she answers with a tight smile when asked about aging in Hollywood. "I've never seen a woman stepping into her more powerful self as a negative." She leans forward in her chair and chooses her next words pointedly. "But this conversation perpetuates the problem. Why are we talking about how women look? Why do we value beauty over contribution? We don't seem to value beauty over contribution for men. It's simply not a conversation."
In other words, change the subject.
So it's official: Zellweger doesn't want to become the poster woman for allowing her face to do what faces naturally do. And why should she have to be when it's not a role she asked for?
After all, she didn't choose to be targeted by the recent Variety columnist who claimed that her appearance has changed so much in the past decade that she might as well be a different actress, or by the many other publications that assumed she'd had plastic surgery to change her face. And although she wrote her own response on The Huffington Post earlier this month, her ultimate message wasn't about whether or not she had gotten plastic surgery, but instead about why we still judge women unfairly despite all the advances we've made as a civilization:
It’s no secret a woman’s worth has historically been measured by her appearance. Although we have evolved to acknowledge the importance of female participation in determining the success of society, and take for granted that women are standard bearers in all realms of high profile position and influence, the double standard used to diminish our contributions remains, and is perpetuated by the negative conversation which enters our consciousness every day as snark entertainment.
As much as we would love Zellweger to become our champion of anti-ageism, it would be even cooler if media outlets took a different approach that didn't require one woman to carry all that weight on her shoulders.
Perhaps they could ask men what they think about their faces getting older? Or make it a point not to comment on women's appearances? Or maybe call out specific Hollywood studio executives and other media outlets for their role in instituting ageism and sexism on a systematic basis? Or how about all of the above?
In the meantime, Zellweger's gonna keep doing what she does best: putting on a British accent so convincing that even Colin Firth doesn't know it's fake. You know. Actor stuff.