Tuesday, June 3, 2008

PSA Tuesday - Older Women and Blog Blast for Education

Speaking of movies, a couple of days ago NYC/Caribbean Ragazza regaled us with this superb post. This post was typical of several reviews I saw that day concerning the opening of the Sex and the City movie. NYC said it in her usual inimitable style, and she also has the background to really cover this (as a producer), and I seriously, seriously recommend that you all go over there and read this now. Her main point, however, was that Hollywood execs feel that women won't "open" movies. Especially older women - older women actresses or older women viewers.

But despite this, SATC beat out my old friend Indy for total sales during its opening weekend. Open that male execs!

Soccer Mom in Denial had a different post, on the subject of women's bodies that have been, well, lived in. Or maybe I should phrase it as well-lived in.

She was horrified, as am I, by a new children's book, called My Beautiful Mommy, that prepares young children for what to expect if Mommy comes back from the hospital with a new nose, or a new set of... well, you know.

Nice. Just the thing I'd want my child to read, because, you know, I think all young children should expect their mommies to get new body parts when the old ones look a little less shiny.

And then there's two of my Hollywood heroines, one old and one new. The first is Jamie Lee Curtis. Jamie Lee posed for MORE magazine in nothing but underwear. Not sexy underwear, just plain underwear, with no make-up, no airbrushing, no stylist for her hair, etc. She wanted us to know what late 40s/early 50s movie stars look like. For real. And for lack of a better, gender-appropriate expression, the Lady's got balls.

Karen Allen is my new heroine (and, apparently, the current cover for MORE ). I guess I have to include Steven Spielberg, too, but he's been a longstanding hero for other reasons. Karen Allen is up on the big, harsh, show-every-pore, movie screen with a face that shows her age. She is radiant, yes. I mean, she is Karen Allen, after all. She's still cute, she's still freckled, she still exudes health and energy.

And wrinkles.

And a post-menopausal paunch.

Just as nature intended.

How much healthier would our culture be if we saw the beauty in women as they are meant to be - in all their permutations, ages, skin tones and colors and body sizes? In the meantime, however, viva those brave actresses who act, and look, their age.

Now, speaking of heroines, I'd like introduce you to April, of It's All About Balance, for those who don't already know her. If you don't know her, and if you parent, or are creative, or if you run into adversity in your own life, ever, go - go now, and read her.

April is a single mom, with two beautiful, happy girls, who lives in LA. She's smart (she was just promoted to a position she's not credentialed for, because yes, she's that good), she's creative (actress and graduate of various prestigious arts programs), and a completely passionate, devoted mom and advocate for her daughters. April does not have the support of her daughters' father, and she is on her own. She's had many setbacks, but somehow she keeps it together in a totally inspiring manner.

One of the lights in her life has been her older daughter's experience with a KIPP school. KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) Schools are free, open enrollment, college preparatory public schools designed to serve underserved students for future success in the academic world and in life. Sadly, though, there appears to be trouble on the horizon for her daughter's particular school.

As April was analyzing this situation in her usual thoughtful way, and attending meeting after meeting to try to ameliorate the situation (yeah, in all her spare time), she came up with a wonderful idea: A Blog Blast for Education on June 20th. You can read all about it here.

Cable Girl has designed not one, but two, gorgeous buttons to choose from. The one I'm proudly hanging to the right of this post is this one:

Here's what April has to say about the event:

"Education is an issue that affects every Mommy Bloggers' lives (and the Daddies, too).

We've been hearing lately how much power we have, let's utilize it. (Not to mention, it's an Election Year and I haven't heard nearly enough about education.)

Let's talk about whatever concerns us most. Let's talk about a brilliant teacher or curriculum. Let's talk about homework. What's the first thing you think about when you hear the word "education?" Let's talk about that.

And, okay, we may not get the ears (eyes) of McCain or Obama/Clinton from this, but we can learn from each other, right?"

I know that is one day I'll be cranking up my Google reader with great alacrity. I'm excited to learn about the pressing concerns and joys of others, and I'm eager to write about my own.

So, hell yeah, I'm going to be there on June 20th.

How about you?


Goofball said...

Hurray for Jamie Lee Curtis (who looks awesome by the way) and for Karen Allen ....but I'd cheer especially for More magasine. I think the problem is that Jamie can only pose for a magasine as More and not for the Elle and Vogue and .... of this world!

ok I've got June 20th written down!

Korie said...

I'll be participating, and I'm also trying to get my mother to as well. She's been in education for over 20 years and I'm sure she'll have a lot to say.
And Jamie Lee Curtis rocks. I love a lot of her ovies and also the statements she has chosen to make on several issues for children and women. She can't sing like Cher, but that's okay...Cher is a little scary in a Bionic Woman sort of way.

thailandchani said...

I was also appalled when I heard about that book. It's really time to grow beyond the obsession with looking "young" and having perfect body parts. Really. It's absurd. It's unlikely that any thinking person really takes it seriously.

That's where education comes into it. :)

Jen said...

What a good point, Goofball. And that's certainly not the way it should be, is it?

Cher is a little scary, I agree. And I'd love to see what your mom has to say, Lilac.

Oh, well, there you go, Chani! Nice way to tie my themes together. Wish I'd thought of it. ;-)

Sister Sassy said...

WONDERFUL post Jen! I'm gonna get a button (prob tonight) and I'm gonna look at all the blogs you linked to.

But really good post. :)

Jen said...

Thanks, Sassy!

glamah16 said...

I was thinking about Jamie the other day when looking at the yogurt commercials. I was thinking how normal and approachable she looked and stared reflecting back to how she looked in other roles when younger( which wasnt that long ago!)She has taken a stand and is being true to herself. My makeup artist at work and I were just disccusiing the subject at lunch a few minutes ago.
That book you mentioned is scary. Im all for a little makeup and treatments, but this whole surgery botox route scares me.
What a packed post!

Jen said...

Yeah, I kind of packed it, Glamah. I think I'm keeping my soapbox ramblings to Tuesdays, mostly. ;-)

I think people have a right to do what makes them feel good, and if they need surgery to get there, then that's their prerogative, but dragging their kids into it and legitimizing it this way in terms of turning it into an expectation... that really disturbs me.

cathouse teri said...

That's a long freakin' post! You do like to write! :)

Jamie Lee has always had some great balls. We love her!

Yay for Jamie Lee!

Thistlemoon said...

Jamie Lee looks just fine. She always was what you see is what you get!

That is a horrible book. I cannot believe that stuff gets published!

Jen said...

It was a long post, Teri. Maybe I do have to break these things up. ;-)

Yeah, Jenn - me, neither!

Marianne Arkins said...

[begin rant] I am perpetually frustrated at the unrealistic look imposed upon us as women, but I'm most horrified by how it affects our daughters.

No one should have a daughter in single-digits wondering if they're fat (that would be MINE thanks to her fat-phobic, fat-focused Aunts).

The publisher of that book should be tied done and injected with Botox...[/end rant]

And how are you today? *G*

Jen said...

Tell me how you really feel about the subject, Marianne. ;-)

I couldn't agree more, though.

jennifer said...

Wow Jen,
what's up? I wrote basically on the same today, just in a more personal way. Great thing to see and remember. Our bodies are our temples. Real life temples.

Jen said...

Well, Jennifer, great minds and all that! ;-)

Anonymous said...

As I get older I want to see my heroines just as they are too. Good post ;)

Jen said...

Thanks, Maryann!

Momisodes said...

What a great post! Thank you for the links and info :) Kudos to More magazine..seriously!

Cherrye said...

I loved when JAmie Lee Curtis did that, too. Come on, people... let us be normal!

Meg said...

Great post! I saw Jamie Lee interviewed once and she said she owed only three pair of shoes and was trying to pare down to two. Every since I've felt guilty about my shoes and have been trying to simplify--I'm no where near yet.

I love the blog blast for education idea. I'll be out of town for a few weeks and away from the computer. If I can manage, I'd love to participate. I write about education reform for a living--I should be able to do something.

anno said...

What a great post! And what a lot of territory -- and many truths -- you covered! Hooray for Jamie Lee Curtis & Karen Allen! Hooray for April! And thanks to you for writing about it all.

April said...

you just about had me in tears with the wonderful things you said about me, Jen. Thank you.

And I'm still sulking from not being able to see S&C this weekend, but thrilled that it had such a great open!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Thanks Jen for the shout out.

I saw an article about that book and couldn't believe it!

I have been a Jamie fan for a long time and used to buy MORE when I lived in L.A.

I have to say living here is refreshing. I see women here who actually have wrinkles. :)

janey jay said...

Yay. Just yay. For everything you said.

If I talked about (aka pontificated) about everything I agreed with in your post, it would be at least as long -- maybe more ;-)

I'm psyched about the Blog Blast for Education. It's one of the top causes I'm passionate about -- and thinking about what I want to say has been very insightful.

CableGirl said...

Mom's TinFoil Hat posted about that book a few months back and it truly pissed me off. The idea that plastic surgery for cosmetic reasons has become so common place that kids need a book in the vein of Everyone Poops to learn about it turns my stomach. Beauty does not end with flawless skin, perky breasts and the perfect ass. Beauty is everywhere, in everyone of any age.

And way to pimp Education day. Glad you like the buttons. :)

Jen said...

Sandy, I agree that More certainly deserves kudos for this and for a lot of what they do.

Good point, Cherrye, and thanks so much for stopping by!

Wow, Meg, that point about Jamie Lee's shoes is really interesting. I don't own many pairs, but I'm sure not down to two. I'm bummed you may not be able to participate - I was looking forward to hearing what you'd have to say. I hope you're going somewhere fun!

Thanks, Anno - I did cover a lot, without meaning to.

April, you deserve every word!

Boy, NYC, you just make Italy sound better and better. ;-) And I loved your post - it was so on target.

Jane, me, too! Me, too! I'm really excited about that particular blog blast.

CG, I LOVE the buttons! And I'm right with you - I thought of Everybody Poops and books of that ilk - important books - and this one... really got under my skin. And SMID did such a wonderful post on it, too.

Amy said...

I find the concept of that book completely appalling. I earned this body, dang it.

Education is a HUGE thing in our house. Thanks for the link.

Núria said...

Jamie Lee Curtis and other Hollywood Stars that don't look like plastic dolls have all my respect!!!! I think they are beautiful! Wrinkles are beautiful when you have the age to have them :D.

Jen said...

Amy and Nuria, I couldn't agree more. I love older faces. They show LIFE. And Amy, you're right... you DID earn that body. That's what I loved about SMID's post, too.