Christie Brinkley, a model, recently posted a photo of herself in a bikini on vacation in which she looked really good. Thoroughly unremarkable, except for the fact that Brinkley is 61, and still is rocking a body most 20 year olds are likely to be envious of.
So there you go. 61 year old woman with fantastic genetics, lot of money, the best personal training, and maybe other advantages has a pretty hot bod. So what?
Well, the internet is angry about it. Lots of people telling her things like "No woman over 35 should wear a bikini" or "I hate that bitch" or "Women her age should NOT be taking sexy photos of themselves" or insisting that the fact that her ribcage is visible is gross. Some even tossed in assertions that she had obviously achieved this with the use of cosmetic surgery. Which, maybe she has, I certainly don't know. But so what if she has? Doing so certainly doesn't make all this hatred and misogyny acceptable.
It all makes me sad. Buried in all of this is an assumption that her worth is tied up in her looks and that women who aren't young are meant to fade away, to accept their lack of relevance, to give up the stage to younger folks. Moreover that it is somehow offensive for an older woman to continue to be happy with her body, or to show it off if she wants to. Ageism like that applies to everyone, but far, far more so to women.
So let us say that I am glad that Brinkley is sending the message that you can be hot at any age, but we should further add to that. You don't have to look like her to be attractive. You don't have to be young or hot to be worthwhile. A little more focus on accepting her for what she is, and accepting us for what we are, without attempting to compare either to arbitrary and useless standards, would really do everyone a lot of good.