Women Are Still Judging Women. It Has To Stop.

Sign in to save article

When news broke that Sex and the City, the iconic and progressive 1998-2004 show that put HBO on the map, was rebooting as And Just Like That… in December 2021, women everywhere lifted their Cosmopolitans and toasted in celebration.

The show, which inspired females around the world to be independent, to foster friendships, to pursue careers, and to have fun, also set standards for fashion and beauty that are still alive today, 10 years later. The only problem is that looks were a focus of the original show, and while the women have since aged in real life, the audience somehow expected them to appear exactly the same.

It’s a ridiculous notion. We all age, and in the case of the cast, the women are now well into their 50s and ready to embrace that decade. In fact, the reboot was always meant to be centered on the women’s lives as they navigate their just-past-midlife years and evolve as women. While they still dress fashionably, their priorities have changed, and this was never more evident than in the debut episode that showed the women dealing with teenage daughters and sons, changes in careers, loss of close friendships, and even death.

But, where was the audience focused, and what did they latch onto? Carrie’s, Miranda’s, and Charlotte’s looks. Their aging. The fact that they didn’t look the same as they did many years before.. The ageism was palpable, and even the stars, who are well-versed in scrutiny and keyboard hatefulness, were shocked by the level of attention paid not to their acting, not to their storylines, but to their crow’s feet and graying hair.

“Especially on social media. Everyone has something to say,” said Sarah Jessica Parker, who plays Carrie Bradshaw. “‘She has too many wrinkles, she doesn’t have enough wrinkles.’ It almost feels as if people don’t want us to be perfectly okay with where we are, as if they almost enjoy us being pained by who we are today, whether we choose to age naturally and not look perfect, or whether you do something if that makes you feel better. I know what I look like. I have no choice. What am I going to do about it? Stop aging? Disappear?”

Why are women so hard on other women? Why must we criticize, judge, and find fault with one another’s choices about our own bodies and faces?

It seems that no matter what choices the actors made for themselves, whether to let themselves age naturally or to have cosmetic procedures to retain their youth, they were criticized. It speaks to a much larger societal message that tells women, Whatever you do, we will be scrutinizing and judging you. We’ll call you old if we see some gray hairs and wrinkles, and we’ll call you vain if we see you coloring your hair or getting Botox. 

As Parker pointed out, it seems this judgment only applies to women. “There’s so much misogynist chatter in response to us that would Never. Happen. About. A. Man,” she told Vogue in November 2021. “‘Gray hair gray hair gray hair. Does she have gray hair?’ I’m sitting with Andy Cohen, and he has a full head of gray hair, and he’s exquisite. Why is it okay for him? I don’t know what to tell you people!"

Kristin Davis, who plays Charlotte on the hit series, said she was shocked by the level of intensity every hateful comment carried. She has been criticized for plumping her lips and questioned repeatedly about plastic surgery, and she can no longer tolerate comments on social media. She avoids it, refusing to read what she knows will infuriate her, saying, “I don’t want to feel angry all the time.”

Perhaps the saddest aspect of this situation is that the majority of negative comments are coming from – are you ready? – other women. Why? Why are women so hard on other women? Why must we criticize, judge, and find fault with one another’s choices about our own bodies and faces?

Do women worry about aging because of the comments they will get from other women? Do they have procedures to reverse aging because they want to look better for other women? And what does this say about us?

Do women worry about aging because of the comments they will get from other women? Do they have procedures to reverse aging because they want to look better for other women? And what does this say about us?

What Parker, Davis, and Cynthia Nixon want us to know is that they are happy with how they look and who they are. And, if they aren’t, they will change what they see fit to change. Whatever they choose to do is just fine because they — and only they — must live with their decisions. If they don’t like what they see in the mirror, it’s okay for them to change it. If they’re perfectly happy with their reflection, it’s okay for them to do absolutely nothing.

Knowing that should feel liberating to all of us women. We owe no one an explanation for how we choose to look. And we have no right to judge other women for how they choose to look.

So, let’s make a pact. Whether we see a stranger on the street, meet a new person at a party, or see an old friend after a long absence, let’s focus on the person, not on her looks. Let’s work to change ourselves so that maybe, just maybe, we can eventually change the way society judges women. 

Let’s fix this, one strong, non-judgmental woman at a time.

Tags: trends

Sign in to save article
Share

Written By

Rebecca Deurlein

Rebecca is a freelance writer, author of the book Teenagers 101 (Harper Collins), and a former Girl Scout. Her home is Houston, TX. See Full Bio

CircleAround will make financial distributions to benefit current Girl Scouts: the next generation of trailblazers who will CircleAround after us. So CircleAround for inspiration, and CircleAround the leaders of tomorrow. CircleAround is owned by One GS Media, a subsidiary of Girl Scouts of the USA.

Love this article?

Sign up for the newsletter to get the best of CircleAround delivered right to your inbox.

Welcome
to our circle.

CircleAround will make financial distributions to benefit the next generation of trailblazers who will CircleAround after us.

So CircleAround for inspiration, and the leaders of tomorrow.

About Us