Role Modeling

On this divine Thursday afternoon, I find myself sitting on a  ridiculously comfortable couch in the heart of dear old Los Angeles. As recently as a week ago, that last bit would’ve been dripping with sarcasm. My relationship with Tinsel Town has always been contentious at best. I’ve wanted to be an actress ever since a certain red-haired orphan sang her way into my childhood, and once I dove in I was hooked. The theatre is wonderful and I will always audition for plays, but I love love love making movies. Love. If there were a stronger word than love, I would use that here.

A friend of mine recently asked Facebookland for thoughts on this article from HuffPo. The gist is that the author has declared Jennifer Lawrence to not be a viable spokesperson for body positivity because she is fit and attractive.

I have a lot of thoughts about this, and I have a blog, so that works out.

The author of that post asks the Internet, “at what percentage of body fat does a woman get to be a person?” (this in response to JLaw’s statement that she would rather “look chubby on screen and like a person in real life.”)

A few things here: Of course all women are people. Jennifer Lawrence is 22 or 23 years old, and she is far more unbridled in her statements than any ingenue I’ve ever encountered. We all say slightly misplaced things from time to time, especially in our early twenties. Even so, I don’t read this quote as “skinny women aren’t people” and maybe that’s because I lived in LA. I know the people Ms. Lawrence is talking about. The human bobble heads and the walking skeletons, the taut skin and the globular breasts. The sad, unfortunate truth of the matter is that quite often women in Hollywood starve the person right out of themselves.

The other reality to consider is that what Jennifer Lawrence says about perceptions of thinness and beauty in Hollywood is all 100% true. I know it because I lived it. One year in Lala Land was enough to turn my 26-year-old self into the kind of person who thought about her looks all the time, and not in the way Narcissus thought about that dashing reflection. Everything fell under scrutiny, from potential agents, managers, and most of all myself. Like Rikki Lindholm, I too am nothing to shake a stick at in the real world, but in the pursuit of work as a film actress, my teeth were too crooked, my face was too average, and I heard far more than once that I could stand to lose five pounds. Which I can now say with confidence was patently absurd.

So I would like to ask the Internets: Isn’t it great when any actress in Hollywood, regardless of their age, shape or size, decides to be a force for good in an industry that boasts unequivocal misogyny and hostility towards women? I think it’s really f*cking great.

As for the Melissa McCarthy question – what would the reaction be if she professed the same statements made by JL? – It’s true, the reactions probably wouldn’t be great. Our society has an obnoxious prevalence of fat-phobia, and god knows the Internets like to Judge almost as much as they like to post cat videos. But declaring that everything Melissa McCarthy says about weight and food is a veil for “I’m sorry I’m fat and you have to look at me” is reductionist, purely speculative, and frankly, unfair to Melissa McCarthy. If Jennifer Lawrence has to deal with body-shaming sh*t in Hollywood (and I guarantee she does), then it can only be worse for the Melissa McCarthys and the Rebel Wilsons. Anytime a woman is able to break barriers and open diversity doors in Hollywood (for the colors, sizes, and ages among us), we ought to be celebrating. Women in Hollywood will never have full agency over themselves and their bodies if we gripe over who is and who isn’t allowed to be a positive role-model.

And so we come to the essence of what this is all about: Agency. The film industry – and the world! – will be a much better place when we see a multitude of women represented on screen, and they all have the agency to decide what is best for themselves and their bodies. This will happen only when a vast number of women demand that it happen. And anyone – even a loud-mouthed, beautiful, talented young actress – who wants to help get us there faster is a champion in my book.

jennifer-lawrence-oscars-gif-4-yay

The Most Literal of Shout Outs

Some of you may have seen this by now, but it’s worth another look. If you haven’t seen it yet, just stop everything you’re doing right now (yes, even reading this post), and take a few minutes to have your mind-heart blown.

There were a lot of people posting it around the interwebs this week. When I finally watched it this morning, I was caught off guard. I cried a little. Because it’s so inspiring! But also heartbreaking. And for reals made me want to go eat a cheeseburger and drink a bottle of wine and not think twice about it, preferably over heated, stimulating conversations about art and life and politics and other things I have lots of opinions about. Followed by singing some Joan Jett at karaoke and possibly shouting from some treetops.

This girl is throwing out truth and brilliance and ferocity, and meanwhile there is So Much media trying to force us to all think about Princess Catherine’s abs. Eye roll.

I’m happy for Kate and her genetics, but I for one prefer to honor Ms. Lily Myers by sharing her video while eating a bagel with cream cheese and listening to Fat Bottomed Girls. Seriously, you guys. That is exactly what I am doing right now. And it feels really f*cking good.

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PREACH

Orange is the New Skinny

There are a few other posts I have in the works (e.g., Women Who Kick Ass on TV) but today I read this article that a friend of mine posted in facebooklandia, and it got me thinking about #5.

Strong is the new skinny.
Fit is the new skinny.

Or the extra bewildering…
Sore is the new skinny.
You can google that one if you want. It’s basically a tumblr of fitspo porn, so I’m skipping the link.

The stand apart here is Healthy is the New Skinny, and we’ll get to why in a minute. If you clicked on all the links, you can probably guess where I’m headed.

First, we’ll acknowledge that Jezebel has already addressed the NY Post article (Strong is the…) and with their usual flair and panache. This is one of their posts that reminds me why I started reading Jezebel in the first place. It isn’t overly snarky or negative; it’s clever and astute and makes succinct, insightful points. The post is summed up with:

Being strong and formidable shouldn’t be approached as a goal that pleases others; being strong and formidable are their own rewards. And women don’t need a “new skinny.” They need to be left the fuck alone and given the space to exist for themselves.

The fundamental truth here is this absurd idea of a ‘new skinny.’ This is a play on words to indicate that skinny was the Old Ideal, which means that whatever word you put in its place (strong, fit, …….sore?) is now the New Ideal.

So far the only group or organization I’ve seen that is using this oh-so-cleverness in any successful way is Healthy is the New Skinny. Call me crazy, but I agree that Healthy, in fact, should be the New Ideal. HNS goes so far as to actually represent a variety of women in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes within their website-blog-modeling agency. Yes, modeling agency. They also have a non-profit body image program, and an HNS shop where you can shop clothes on “more realistic bodies,” because let’s be honest. Even among our thinnest, lithest friends, do we actually know Anyone who is built like Giselle?

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So while I still find the ‘new skinny’ concept to be a bit contentious, if anything is going to replace skinny as an ideal, healthy is what makes the most sense to me. Healthy is something we all can (and probably ought to) strive for. Regardless of height, age, shape, weight (ohmygod I can’t say this enough please let this sink in: REGARDLESS OF WEIGHT), muscle mass, hair color, straightness of teeth, broadness of ribcage, cancer diagnosis* or number of limbs, healthy is attainable. We can all make choices that support, improve, and maintain our health and wellness. These choices are personal, and we need to make them for ourselves, based on what we feel enriches our lives.

This is NOT to say that in ALL CASES healthy = attractive or vice versa.

For example, I would probably be thinner if I was vegan. So many actresses are vegans these days, and the majority of them attribute their svelte figures to their everything-free diet. Good for them! However, there are some skinny-ass vegans who do not look healthy to me. (I suppose some people might find fragile bones and sallow skin attractive?) Me personally? I will never, ever, ever give up cheeseburgers. My body is prone to anemia, and so from time to time it craves a g–damn cheeseburger. Sure, sure, spinach is high in iron, I know. So fine, put some spinach on my cheeseburger.

Example number two: It’s patently ridiculous how many times throughout my life I’ve been told some version of, “you’re a really sexy smoker.” And you know what? In all humility I have to admit – it’s true. I love smoking, and for some reason I look hot when smoking, and mmmmm, yum, cigarettes. BUT, I feel far more beautiful when I’m not smoking, not just because my skin looks much better, but because I don’t wake up with a mouth that tastes like I swallowed an ashtray. And der, smoking ≠ healthy.

So I choose to eat cheeseburgers and not smoke.** These are some of my healthy choices, and they are mine for my reasons. Your choices are yours, and even if our choices are the same, our reasons are probably different. Which brings me to my final support of Healthy as the ‘new skinny’ : Agency. When women make their own healthy choices, and determine what is best for themselves at any given point in their lives, this means women are taking agency over their own bodies, minds, and spirits. Trying to crush that agency is why absurd beauty ideals exist in the first place. It’s one more tool for a patriarchal society to make women feel they are Less Than, and that without this kind of ass, those kinds of boobs, and that kind of face, we are somehow Other.

What we can do is change the conversation to one about what makes us feel beautiful to ourselves. I for one will be eating a cheeseburger tonight.

*just want to ward off anyone who might think that disease makes a person unhealthy. healthy choices are not taken away from you because you are diagnosed with a disease. disease is not by default the result of unhealthy choices.

**…the majority of the time. as a human, I am fallible, but I choose to not smoke most of the time.

Talking to Our Daughters

This morning brought with it a handful of Facebook posts sharing these musings from Sarah Koppelkam of Hope Avenue. It is a sweet and idealistic post about what we should tell our daughters about their bodies. The short, short version is this: we should tell them nothing, beyond the functional. 

Again, these are lovely thoughts. I choked up a little reading “She can scream and she can sing and she can lift up the world, if she wants.” Excellent points are made about the importance of not degrading ourselves or other women in front of our daughters, and helping them to learn by example. Move your own furniture, don’t fear carbs, etc. All great advice. Still, after the first read, something didn’t sit right with me.

And then it struck me.

This is almost exactly how my mother raised me. 

There was no fat shaming in my house (and we’ve already covered that I was a chubby kid), and there was no celebration of thinness or beauty. This practice of non-discussion was extended to me, my sisters, my mom, and the other women in our lives. My mother encouraged all of us to play sports that we liked, even to the extent of coaching some of our teams. My mother is a fierce, strong, hardworking woman. She takes pleasure in all kinds of foods and experiences and spending time with her loved ones. She is a brilliant chef who has passed on to me a deep love of preparing and sharing food. My mom always encouraged me to pursue and improve my talents as an actress, writer, and singer. She believed I was capable of those things even when I didn’t believe it myself. 

I couldn’t ask for a more ideal role model for confidence, self-worth, and accomplishment.

So why did I go through years of insecurity, struggles with eating, and body image issues? 

The reality is that we are not the only influences in our daughters’ lives. While I commend the author and my mother for everything they did right, I think it’s crucial to point out what’s missing.

We need to be prepared to talk to our daughters about their bodies, because they will have questions.

Whether it’s: ‘why do my thighs touch and my sister’s don’t?’ or ‘why do boys always like the skinny girls?’ or ‘why does so and so have breasts already when I don’t?’ There will be moments where talking to our daughters about their bodies becomes essential. We need to arm her with tools to navigate a world that challenges all of the principles and ideals we’ve worked so hard to instill within her.

When I was young and chubby and working through that self-consciousness, it wasn’t in my mother’s toolbox to help me. She came from a family where being thin was an ideal and an expectation. Her mother and her grandmother were intensely fat-phobic. My mother and I weren’t able to talk about those things until I was very much an adult, and had found my own way through the jungle of messages telling me that how I looked mattered a great deal. I don’t blame her for not having those tools, and I am grateful to her for not passing on the judgements that she was raised with.

But I want to have those tools for my daughter.

I don’t have a daughter, yet. If nature hadn’t intervened, I’d be on my way to having one, but that daughter was not meant to be. All the same, I had enough time to begin to consider what kind of parent I would want to be for her, and these are the things that came to mind.

It would be wonderful if we never had to address the reality of value placed on a woman solely because of how she looks. But that isn’t the world we live in. There are numerous things we can do to work on changing that reality, but in the meantime, we need to be ready to talk to our daughters about their bodies. Because they will have questions.

mama y yo

 

with me every step of the way

 

A Refreshing Dip in the Pool

Who else is tired of shopping for bathing suits that are modeled by 5’10 women who wear a size two? All of you? That’s what I thought.

Enter Modcloth, a website known for it’s bevy of adorable dresses with vintage flair. Turns out they also sell bathing suits, and they oh-so-casually use models who are, well, more People than they are Models.

What I mean is that shopping for bathing suits on Modcloth doesn’t generally leave one with the feeling of “that’s cute, but how would it look on me?” They do use the term ‘plus size’ which I know is contentious for some, but on Modcloth this is plus size and this is plus size. It isn’t a one-plus-size-fits-all situation. The other models represent a variety of body types as well, such as this girl, or this girl, or this girl. Oh and this girl!

Lastly, I love how their main swim banner features two very different types of women, without comment. It’s just a little nod to ‘hey guess what – we all wear swimsuits!’

Where there’s room for improvement: The two-piece section would lead one to believe that women over a certain size do not wear bikinis. Also, they feature a woman of color in their swim banner, but all of the models in the actual collection are white. This makes me want to tell Modcloth that they can go ahead and be fully awesome, not just halfway awesome.

It’s still nice to see a clothing retailer headed in the right direction where models and swimsuits are concerned. So in summary, Modcloth deserves our feedback, support and encouragement.

Do I have to say it? Is the pun required? …Go ahead ladies, dive in!

bathing suit

Real Beauty in Advertising

By now most of you are probably aware of the Dove “Real Beauty Sketches” videos that have been making their internet rounds. This is the video that I first saw. It’s a segment from the full version.

While the majority of reactions that I’ve seen involve words like “moving” and “so important” or “tears” and “thank you”, as with everything on the world wide web, there are naysayers as well.

Here’s my initial disclaimer: Yes, Obviously, this is an ad. It’s an ad that aims for the end result of you buying Dove products. And YES, Dove is owned by Unilever, the company that also owns hyper-sexist, patently absurd Axe body spray. Here’s what I have to say about those two things:

  • Almost everything we see and experience these days is some form of marketing, with the end goal being ‘buy this product, see this movie, read this book after you buy this fancy e-reader, etc. etc. etc.’ If you have a problem with marketing, you should probably move to Mongolia. Seriously. That documentary that followed babies for a year made it look like a really peaceful, uninfluenced place to live.
  • Dove Unilever Axe… If you really want to get up in arms about who owns what, then prepare to give up A Lot of your favorite things because guess what. There are about ten companies that own damn near everything, and when it comes to the people who control the money in those companies, that number gets even smaller.
  • Now let’s look at the number of women who have influence over what kind of media we see (including film, tv, radio, newspapers, books, magazines, communications jobs, video games, and the internet). For the 21st century, the numbers are still quite abysmal. The Women’s Media Center report, The Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2013, points out the finding that “At its current pace, it will take until 2085 for women to reach parity with men in leadership roles in government/politics, business, entrepreneurship and nonprofits.”

What does all of this mean? It means that every step counts. It means that there is nothing wrong with getting excited about a company choosing this:

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Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 10.33.26 AM Screen Shot 2013-04-18 at 10.34.06 AM

Over this:

Kate-Upton-Guess-Ad-Campaign-Photo-Shoot-2011-Photos-6
Of all the naysaying, there is a key issue that is very elegantly addressed on this tumblr, and that (unsurprisingly) is the issue of race. I am in complete agreement that the Dove ‘real beauty’ ads consistently do not reflect the true diversity of the population. This video in particular features women of color for about 10 seconds in a video that is over 6 minutes long. The man drawing the women appears to be Hispanic, but he is not the target of the ad, he merely plays a role in it. I was hoping to see more from the women of color in the full version of the video, and I was disappointed to see that it was in fact more women who were white, most of whom were blonde.

I then read a comment on FB from my friend Anne who said she was on board with the video until her daughter, who is nearly seven, asked what she was watching. At that point Anne realized, “…as I explained it to her, it became clear to me that the video’s very narrow definition of what beauty looks like, as well as the idea of its supreme importance to a woman’s life, are actually antithetical to what I try so hard to pass on to her.”

Again, I agree. The idea of beauty’s ‘supreme importance’ must be turned on its head before women will be taken seriously as complex individuals with a great deal to offer the world beyond their looks. The unfortunate reality is that there is currently an intense amount of emphasis placed on a woman’s beauty, and this emphasis is Everywhere. Any instance of encouraging women to feel beautiful in their own skin should be built upon to challenge the current ideals even further. Celebrate and promote instances where you think media is doing it right, and call out the instances that aren’t. Go ahead and contact Dove and say “Your real beauty sketches ad had great intent behind it, but it’s a shame you didn’t see fit to be truer to your own message and feature a more diverse group of women. I’ll consider buying your products when I see genuine diversity in your ads.” Or something to that effect.

Anne then referenced a friend who questioned what the Dove ad means for women who “actually look like the photo on the left”…and honestly my first thought was, ‘but do you? Do you look like one of the photos on the left, or is that only your impression of yourself?’ I have to stand behind this campaign’s challenge to women to Be Aware of how you see yourself versus how others see you. This blog was started based on the frightening statistic that 97% of women, on average, have thirteen or more negative thoughts about themselves every day. Even more disturbing to me has been the number of women I know who hear that statistic and are entirely unfazed, because that sounds normal to them. It has become a personal ambition of mine to reverse that statistic, until 97% of women have an average of thirteen positive thoughts about themselves every day. In this endeavor, I’ll take all the help I can get.

Issues of gender and race are huge, complex, and deep-rooted. It is always important to question and challenge what we’re exposed to in this era of mass information, and to exercise our media literacy. When it comes to representations of women in the media that aim to be positive, I believe we need to acknowledge them and push for them to go even further. As I see it, the ultimate goal is to free women of the preoccupation with how we look. If in fact only 4% of the world’s women think they’re beautiful, and it’s certainly true that the vast majority of the world’s media is telling them that beautiful is what they should strive to be, that preoccupation is inevitable.

I’m compelled to quote the Contentious Ad Campaign here, because I think it’s a crucial point: Imagine a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety. If we don’t even Begin to look deeper, to build confidence, to expand notions of a woman’s worth, we will never get to the point where girls and women value themselves beyond their beauty.

My final word is this – if nothing else, I am fucking thrilled that we are having these conversations. Any and all opinions are welcome here.

Now go forth, and be your amazing self.
Note: For above and beyond the messages of Dove, Beauty Redefined has a list of “doable strategies” to redefine and reclaim notions of beauty and health, encouraging all of us to push the boundaries and “promote real fitness, confidence, happiness and love for yourself and others.”

Like a Fine Wine, Hidden in the Cellar

Though poetically referred to as ‘only getting better with age,’ when it comes to Hollywood, older women are, for the most part, not celebrated. Per usual, the internets are awash with articles and opinions on the subject. You may have heard about the woman who recently sued IMDB for revealing her true age (spoiler alert: she lost), or perhaps back in 2009 you caught this Guardian article about Hollywood “abandoning its prejudice against older women” because Meryl and Sigourney each made a rom-com.

Don’t misunderstand me – any and every complex and genuine representation of female characters on-screen is a step forward, especially when it comes to Women of a Certain Age. There are countless examples of Hollywood’s fear of the older woman, whether it results in a great performance in a great film (32-year-old Elizabeth Taylor in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf), or a terrible performance in a terrible movie (29-year-old Angelina playing 28-year-old Colin Farrell’s MOTHER in Alexander).

For the purposes of this post, “older” will be defined as “50 or older.” I have to shout out Maggie for recently scolding all her dumdum friends on FB who whine about “getting old” when they’re turning 30. (side eye) As she asserted, “unless you’re getting a check from AARP, shush!”

So I set out aiming to feature my Top Ten favorite performances from older women in film since the beginning of this century, in order to consider the representation of older women in film in the Modern Era. Right now I have five, and sadly they’re all white women. The issue of older women of color on-screen is something we’ll delve into in a moment. For now, we can easily name the top ten women over fifty who work on-screen regularly in halfway decent roles. Here, watch:

Meryl Streep
Susan Sarandon
Helen Mirren
Judi Dench
Maggie Smith
Angelica Huston
Lily Tomlin
Diane Keaton
Emma Thompson
Sigourney Weaver

There is no research I have to support the above list, these are just the actresses that I believe we most often see on-screen when there’s a featured role calling for an older woman. There have been some exceptions in recent years (Jackie Weaver, Melissa Leo) but I imagine it’s usually a matter of choosing from the above list. I’d wager the B list (in terms of how often we see them, not their talent) includes Kathy Bates, Olympia Dukakis, Jane Fonda (how much do we love that she came out of retirement to do rom-coms??), Vanessa Redgrave, Whoopi Goldberg and Alfrie Woodard (finally some women of color!)

For women who aren’t white, there is still work to be had, but it appears to be mostly relegated to television and lesser-known films. The actresses we most often see here include Alfre Woodard and Whoopi Goldberg (of the above B list), as well as CCH Pounder (61), Loretta Devine (64) and Angela Basset (55). If you’re revving up to brandish The Help in my face, the principal actresses in that film, Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, are 48 and 43, respectively.

A Confession: I haven’t yet seen For Colored Girls, which is based on an amazing play, and features a slew of talented older women in what are sure to be complex roles (if it’s true to the stage script). Finally seeing this film would quite likely alter my Favorite Performances list.

It would be Great to hear about some working actresses over 50 who are neither white nor black. A google search for “Asian actresses over 50” produced this list, which consists exclusively of white and black actresses.
Lucy L

Let’s set all the bad news aside for a moment and highlight some great female performances. (I might actually be up to ten now!) In no particular order, here are some of my favorite characters portrayed by women over 50 since the year 2000 (clearly this list is restricted by what I have seen, feel free to post recommendations for things I’ve missed):

Meryl Streep as Donna in Mamma Mia

Film Title: Mamma Mia!                                 photo credit: http://sf.funcheap.com/

That’s right, of all her great films, I’m going with Mamma Mia. Before you dismiss it as a fluff piece, allow me to elaborate. Donna is a (reluctant!) love interest, competent proprietor, and fervent lover of life. She dances down the cobblestone streets of her Greek paradise, has delightful adventures with her friends, and sings her heart out like a frakking Rock Star.

This role flies in the face of every convention that is held for What an Older Woman Should Be. Ms. Streep was 59 when this film was released, meaning she was probably 57 or 58 during filming. Props must also be given to Julie Walters and Christine Baranski, who basically play the greatest besties ever. S, can this be our lives when we’re 58?? Slash 49??

Judi Dench as M in Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, and Skyfall

quantum_of_solace42                                 photo credit: www.aceshowbiz.com

Bad. Ass. If you enjoy 007 films, see these movies. If you don’t, you’re missing out on pretty much the coolest woman over 50 ever. Except for my mom. M is *almost* as cool as my mom.

Frances McDormand as Miss Pettigrew in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

FrancesMcD                                photo credit: http://www.7dvt.com

This film wasn’t a huge hit and so I often think of it as a hidden gem. Based on a novel published in 1938, the story addresses issues of class, gender, and finding your place in the world, and it’s focused primarily on the lives of two women – Miss Pettigrew, and Delysia LaFosse (played by Amy Adams in the film).

Released in 2006, Ms. McDormand would’ve been 50 or 51 when shooting the film. Her performance is an absolute joy to watch.

Alfre Woodard as Ruby Jean Reynolds in True Blood
RubyJeanReynolds
photo credit: http://www.coachella.com/

We’ve only been treated to Ruby Jean Reynolds in a handful of True Blood episodes, but she is a scene-stealer every time. As the schizophrenic, Jesus-loving, homophobic mother of everyone’s favorite bruja chef, Lafayette, Alfre Woodard is flawless. Even though she’s often quite hostile to him, I wish Lafayette would visit her more often.

Annette Bening as Nic in The Kids are Alright
annette-bening-the-kids-are-all-right-039-photo credit: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/ – Courtesy of Focus Features

Annette Bening has delivered some incredible performances in her lengthy career. American Beauty and Being Julia come to mind first and foremost. As Nic in The Kids Are Alright, Bening is extremely authentic. She was 52 when this film was released in 2010, and though the story itself had some flaws, Ms. Bening’s performance is, in my opinion, what makes the film worth seeing.

Maggie Smith as The Dowager Countess in Downtown Abbey

maggie-smith-article                             photo credit: Nick Briggs http://www.usweekly.com

“What is a week-end?”
Genius. Maggie Smith won my heart back in the 80’s with her portrayal of Cousin Charlotte in A Room with a View. The woman turns prim and proper on its head, always layering a heavy dose of wit, vulnerability, humanity, or all of the above.

Jackie Weaver as Dolores in Silver Linings Playbook

jackie weaver                     photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/greenman2008/

I just finished the book that inspired this film, and it only increased the appreciation I have for what Jackie Weaver did with this character. What could easily have become a caricature of a fussy, worried mother became a loving and layered human being in the hands of Ms. Weaver.

There were good photos of her on her own, but I had to use this one because I love how teeny she looks.

And now for something completely different…

Megan Mullally as Tammy Swanson (Tammy Two) on Parks and Recreation

tammy2                                    photo credit @ianiscold http://www.tumblr.com

There are so many things wrong with this woman, and she never fails to entertain. She and her real-life paramour Nick Offerman are unstoppable comic geniuses as Ron Swanson and his (second) ex-wife named Tammy.
I REALLY want Emma Thompson to be on this list, but she’s only 54, meaning the pool of her movies that I can choose from is limited to the last several years. Can I use Elinor in Brave? Sure, it was an animated film, but she was still great, and they logically chose to cast a 53 (or perhaps 52) year old woman as the mother of the teenage protagonist, so that counts for something, right?
Emma-Thompson_l                     photo credit: http://pixar.wikia.com/Emma_Thompson

Whew! That’s nine, and I’m afraid I’m tapped out. Please let me know what must-see performances from women over 50 I’ve missed in the last 13 years. They’ll go to the top of my list!

It’s worth noting that every single actress mentioned above started her career in her twenties or thirties. According to these statistics, I have about six years to break into film and television, or it’s time to put me in the cellar with the other fine wines.