Shock! Horror! A woman ‘over a certain age’ dared to brazenly display her cleavage in public. Apparently, this is far more controversial news than ISIL’s latest terrorism threats, because it’s not even like Susan Sarandon is some cheap B List celebrity that needs the publicity.
Liberated mammaries are usually celebrated. They usually serve the purpose of titillating, (if you’ll excuse the pun), rather than horrifying. And it’s not that Sarandon doesn’t have a fine, generously proportioned pair to display.
But it’s her age, you see. She’s just too old to be flaunting her physical assets.
It’s simply not acceptable for the mature woman to consider herself as an attractive, sexual being, or to take pride in her body. It makes young people feel a bit icky and men feel like they’re ogling their mummies.
Once we hit fifty, we should know that it’s all over for us. We’re supposed to switch off physically when our periods stop, to wilt away and protect the public eye from such heinous sights as eye bags, saggy skin and wrinkles.
But the reality is, we don’t. Stop caring, that is. Not these days. Because mentally we actually don’t feel that dissimilar to how we did in our thirties. Sure, some women may grab at the excuse to become more invisible (physically) and the opportunity to become noticed for their other attributes. But for others – those that enjoy the femininity and theatre of fashion, style and self-expression – why do things have to change?
Did you know that society has created a whole list of rules about what we can and can’t wear once we reach middle age? I myself have been guilty of kowtowing to those rules, not questioning how anyone has the right to tell me what to wear.
It’s no secret that looking stylish after a ‘certain age’ is made harder by the limited offerings of the retail giants that dictate the fashion market, yet refuse to accept that much of the female population is not a size 8, nor do they want to walk around in denim cut-offs.
But that doesn’t mean we have to surrender.
For the first time in thirty years I wore a bikini this year. Admittedly, it was more of a sport’s bikini than an itsy-bitsy – with its fifties style knickers and sports bra top that help restrain the wobbly bits that make me so self-conscious – but I felt brave.
Would I have the confidence to pull off Sarandon’s look?
Yes, probably, if I had THAT suit. The cut of that suit needed ‘something’ – a bit of sass – in a statement accessory or bling. Sarandon chose to use her natural assets and her inner confidence to finish her outfit.
And she bloody well owned it. She looked like a strong, elegant, confident woman, aware of the power of her success and sexuality.
And it was absolutely terrifying for those who haven’t moved beyond the fifties ideology of women as the obedient birthing vessel/housewife, resplendent in their flowing dresses, waiting in the kitchen with open arms to welcome the family home for dinner.