The day after the “Friends” Reunion aired on television I was listening to my local radio hosts discuss the show. Or more like they were discussing how much everyone had aged. Like these celebrities aren’t in their 50s now. It pissed me off.
The consensus after listening to all the people who called in to say their piece was that everyone had aged (a ton!) except for Jennifer Aniston. Well yeah, since the last episode aired in May of 2004 which was seventeen years ago, I feel that the logical explanation is they’ve all gotten a few years older. Who hasn’t?!
Listen, I’m a huge Jennifer Aniston fan, but her aging well doesn’t make her better than all of her co-stars, which literally seems to be what everyone thinks.
To put it into perspective: since I cried my eyeballs out as they all walked out of their New York City apartment for the last time, the one-year-old I had in my lap has graduated high school. I had two more kids after that who are now teenagers. I’ve been divorced, bought a few homes, started working again, and now I’m going through menopause, and guess what? I’ve aged too!
I’m not sure why celebrities looking older comes as a surprise to so many people. We are an intelligent species and we should be aware that syndicated shows like “Friends,” “Sex and the City,” and “Seinfeld” are reruns. As in, they were filmed decades ago and the people who play the characters are actual human beings undergoing the actual human aging process.
It’s also very clear that the women in these shows are the ones who get the spotlight cast on them for (god forbid) getting gray hair, wrinkles, and having face and body parts heading south.
In the meantime, the men show up in all their silver glory without an ounce of Botox and no one says a damned thing. In fact, we often comment on how handsome and refined they look with their salt-and-pepper flecked hair.
Sarah Jessica Parker recently came under scrutiny for her gray hair and wrinkles while she was having brunch with friend, Andy Cohen. Parker said she was sitting there next to the silver fox and he looked amazing and of course, no one said anything about him aging.
Online commenters criticized Parker, who fought back, saying, “I know what I look like. I have no choice. What am I going to do about it? Stop aging? Disappear?”
The same thing has happened to the female cast of “Friends.” Courteney Cox has undergone criticism for doing too much to her face. Cox told New Beauty Magazine, “Hollywood makes it hard; this business makes it harder. I grew up thinking appearance was the most important thing. That as long as I looked OK, I would be OK, which got me into trouble.”
Cox adds, “I was trying so hard to keep up, and that actually made things worse.”
This is proof that the industry and all its pressures makes these celebrities feel like they have to be ageless in order to matter. And those of us sitting on the sidelines who feel the need to chime in about how much they have aged, only adds to the problem so let’s shut our mouths.
Think about how you would feel if a picture of you taken two decades ago went viral. Then, one of you taken yesterday made its way around the internet too, and everyone felt the need to comment about how “old” you look in comparison.
No crap, you are going to age. You are a person with skin and bones and that’s what happens to our bodies. Why are people surprised by this?
Stop putting so much emphasis on how these celebrities age. Sure, they might have a level of access to (and budget for) anti-aging treatments and tweakments that the average person doesn’t, but even the most advanced procedures aren’t a magical fountain of endless youth. For the love of all things holy, find something more interesting to talk about than what they look like. It’s shallow, meaningless, and doesn’t make you an interesting person. Instead of dissecting them and commenting on their skin, hair and bodies, find something else to do with your time.
These women already feel such intense pressure to look a certain way. Some will argue that they got into the business knowing that their looks would always be criticized, but those of us who expect them not to show signs of aging, and feel comfortable hurling abuse at them, are out of line and making things worse.
It doesn’t need to be like that. Women age. Get over it.
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