Gwyneth Paltrow : Poster Girl #1
So Gwyneth came out last week and announced she was ‘entering the menopause’. I liked this for two reasons; firstly because for once a glamorous public female figure dared to acknowledge her withering fertility which, because so rare, honestly felt a bit groundbreaking; and secondly because she described ‘entering’ it which made it sound much more assertive than ‘suffering’ from it, and also rather like she was crossing some sort of threshold into a hallowed and (because it’s Gwyneth) exciting shiny place.
The short video clip of said announcement also piqued my interest for other reasons. In this Good Morning America clip, watch the stifled sniggers, the audible snort and then bemused silence of the male anchors sitting across from showbiz reporter Diane Macedo at the merest suggestion of a feature on ‘the change’. (God forbid an actual serious discussion)
And then if you really want to know how people generally feel about discussing the perimenopause, scroll down to the comments at the bottom of the clip…
So, cred to Gwyneth for coming out in the face of the what must feel like the Hollywood Resistance – all the other famous ladies who resolutely cling to their taut bodied, dewy faced youth, without so much as a whiff of public acknowledgement of their hormone induced insomnia, facial fuzz management or embarrassing memory loss. I am thinking of the likes of the Victoria Beckhams, the Kate Bekinsales, and the Jennifer Lopez’ of this world, and who can blame them. In a culture that prizes youth and beauty above all else, why would they?
And whilst our Gwyn kept her announcement for the most part bright and breezy, good for her that she did actually mention ‘sweat’ and reference her ‘furious rage’ (unconvincingly whilst grinning through her perfect enamel veneers) which although still a highly sanitised version of my own and most other 46 year old women’s reality, is at least a less perfect and therefore refreshing vision of Hollywood femininity than we are used to.
Although if I am honest, my feeling is that a little elaboration on either of those two points would have enamoured us even more to her. Had she given an example say, of what a drag it is having to get up at 3 am in the middle of a hot flush to towel down her dripping cleavage and arse crack, even more kudos to her, but still, respect to Gwyneth for at least starting the baby steps of celebrity discourse on the perimenopause albeit in her own glossy Goopy way.
Mariella Frostrup : Poster Girl #2
Whilst last month Gwyneth P merely dipped her manicured toe into some glossy public awareness raising about the perimenopause, this week back over on our side of the pond, in her documentary ‘The Truth About the Menopause’ Mariella Frostrup dropped the M bomb on the unsuspecting British public’s TV screens
For that she gets the dubious honour of being our second Poster Girl ever.
Here are ten reasons why bearded ladies heart Mariella.
- She has been dishing out sound, pragmatic, empathetic and unsanctimonious advice for over a decade to troubled souls in her role as the Observer’s agony aunt; readily admitting that her mailbag teaches her as much about her own shortcomings and past mistakes as it does about her readers.
- She was born in Norway which surely explains her nonchalant cool.
- Is a member of the #BBCWomen group, an impressive gaggle of journalists, broadcasters and producers who stand together in the name of equal pay. On the resignation of the BBC China editor Carrie Grace, Mariella went head to head with John Humphreys on the Today programme, asking with direct early morning gusto ‘John, why should you earn more?’
- She has impeccable timing. No I am not talking about her interviewing or presenting skills…she was born on 12 November, the very same day that one of my other favourite females arrived in the world, my daughter!
- She has a fabulous hair do. Not sure if it’s natural, but do not care. It’s chic, it’s artfully bobbed, Hitchcockian even, and we love it.
- Described as ‘deep, slow and confident’ her most powerful weapon is, along with her brain, surely her mesmerising voice which was claimed to be ‘the perfect female voice’, by linguists from Sheffield University.
- She is bezzie mates with George Clooney. This is surely the funnest fact of them all. It conjures all sorts of warm fuzzy Clooney/Frostrup tableaux: George & Mariella, legs dangling in Lake Como chewing the fat over Syria and the latest Booker winner, that kind of thing.
- She feels like one of us. Unafraid to speak her mind, think out loud, even admit her own double standards and failings on air/in print, she comes across as the kind of sophisticated older sister version of ourselves that we want to be when we eventually grow up.
- She got the best lines ever in an educational video about sex, ‘Do you think felllatio is character in the Merchant of Venice? Think cunnilingus fly three times a day to Ireland? Think dildo was a character in The Hobbit?….then you definitely need to watch this video…’ Pure. Youtube. GoldLast week she began what felt like the first serious conversation in this country on the menopause. And for that, Mariella, we salute you.
Laura Kussenberg and Katya Adler : Poster Girls #3
We find ourselves in very dark and confusing political times, so Thank the Lord we have 2 formidable females to help us navigate the maelstrom – Ladies and Gentlemen I give you the BBC’s first Political Editor, Laura Kussenberg and European Editor, the multitasking, multilingual Katya Adler.
Not one but two amazing Poster Girls who have managed to keep their heads when all around are losing theirs.
They have relentlessly delivered first class reporting from the eye of the political storm; emerging as the sane and sensible voices above all the Brexit hyperbole.
If that’s not enough, we reckon they could beat Robert Peston in an arm wrestle. Probably while drinking neat gin. Lots of it.
Atta girls, you are goddesses in journalist form. We salute you.
Poster Girls Cox, Laverne and Ball #4, 5 & 6
Our airwaves became herwaves last month at drive-time and breakfast times on Radio 2 and 6 Radio, and perhaps like us, you probably hadn’t realised how badly you had needed to hear a female voice to nurse us through the grey dawns and dusks of January…until we tuned in two weeks ago and Lo! The ladies had arriveth.
Why we love them
Even more delightful than their natural wits, eclectic musical tastes, and easy charm, what us bearded ladies also love about them (and we mean this as a compliment ladies) is that Sara Cox, Lauren Laverne and Zoe Ball are no spring chickens. At 44, 40 and 48 respectively, their times have come at precisely the moment when us women of an uncertain age usually start disappearing from prime time tellies and radios.
Why does this matter?
- First and foremost because these lot deserve the mic: they sound like women just like us but with better record collections and repartee. Tuning in feels like a night/morning in with an old friend – with a bonus banging soundtrack
- We shouldn’t underestimate the impact of their presence on our kid daughters. Remember, ‘If she can’t see it, she can’t be it’ which probably explains why as our lady teenage ear drums were given a daily bashing by Simon Bates, Gary Davies and Dave Lee ‘Quack Quack Oops’ Travis, being a ‘DJ’ never seemed like a valid, or frankly credible career option for us and our female ilk. Mercifully, that will not be the case for the generation of young lasses tuning in now.
We will not be adjusting our dials anytime soon girls. Thank you for being there.