As Bebe Rexha proves, there is no age when women stop being sexy


There are many reasons why what happened to Bebe is problematic (Picture: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for NARAS)

On Tuesday, Bebe Rexha made headlines as she revealed that a male music executive claimed she was ‘too old to be sexy’.

She announced this on an Instagram post and in a brilliant clap back, included a photo of herself in black lingerie that was most definitely sexy.

There are many reasons why what happened to Bebe is problematic and as a woman who has just turned 30, I can relate.

Firstly, it suggests that a woman’s worth is somehow tied to how old she is or what she looks like.

This has long been an issue not only in the music and film industries, where women are regularly passed up for roles or told to change their image because they are deemed past their (physical) prime – but it’s also prevalent among the rest of us and across all age groups.

Madonna talked about ageism in a Vogue interview earlier this year and said ‘…I’m being punished for turning 60’.

Meanwhile, in 2015, award-winning actress Maggie Gyllenhaal spoke up about the time producers told her she was ‘too old’ to play a romantic role against a 55-year-old male actor, in an interview with The Wrap.

She was 37 at the time.

Let’s be clear about something: there is no age when women stop being sexy.

https://www.instagram.com/p/B1EYi9KlvEL/

Unfortunately, we’re surrounded by a culture that promotes this very belief and it’s part of our everyday lives. According to an Australian study by psychologist Dr Lauren Rosewarne, less than four per cent of women on advertising billboards are depicted as being older than 30.

We’re also regularly told how we can ‘improve’ our appearance with ‘anti-ageing’ creams and serums or plastic surgery that will help us lift this or tuck that.

According to a report from 2018, conducted by the Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, the use of words like ‘anti-ageing’ negatively affect how we feel about ageing as a whole.

In fact, it was revealed that nearly half of women and 25 per cent of men felt pressured to make sure they didn’t look old.

This obsession with a woman’s age does not stop at her choice of clothing (which, apparently, has to be age-appropriate) – it also extends to our relationship status. We are told that we need to hurry up and find a man before it’s too late (30 is usually the cut-off point) or to lie about our age on dating apps because if we don’t, we’ll get less matches.

This ridiculous notion that women have an expiration date has been been filtered down throughout history, from a time when women were reliant on men to survive because we were prohibited from earning our own money, and had to marry young for fear of becoming poor spinsters.

Thankfully, we’ve moved on from this misogynistic ideal, but fragments of it still remain today. More specifically, that women are not of value to society if they don’t uphold a certain ideal – and if we refuse to comply, we should move aside.

Like Bebe, I’m fed up with this women-bashing in all areas of life, especially as it only exacerbates existing problems among young girls and women who feel insecure about their bodies or are afraid to be judged by others.

Women do not ever need to apologise for who they are and what they look like, and that includes the photos they post on Instagram and the image they choose to portray, whether publicly or privately.

As far as I’m concerned, if Bebe wants to share a photo of herself at 90, wearing nothing but a thong and nipple tassles (let’s not forget that women’s nipples are also a source of shame) then that’s her prerogative.

So long as she loves her body and herself, that’s all that matters.

Let’s do as Bebe recommended and stop running away from our age, and instead, celebrate it.

Please, do not reduce us to a number.

MORE: Bebe Rexha shuts down sexist music producer who called her ‘too old’ in best way possible

MORE: Please stop pretending women need to find the love of their lives before they turn 30

MORE: Love Island’s queen Maura is showing women can love sex and not want to sleep with you





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