Oh, Cameron Diaz. When she isn’t making well-intentioned but somewhat awkward comments about pubic hair, she’s making well-intentioned but somewhat awkward comments about women.
Cameron recently sat down with Oprah Winfrey to talk about the politics of aging, and how unfair it is that women feel pressure to do everything within their power to remain youthful until they’re 90. Oprah started by saying, “Our culture’s obsessed with not growing into who you were really meant to be,” to which Cameron responded,
This is true. It’s crazy. And women don’t allow other women to age gracefully, and we don’t give ourselves permission to age gracefully. Everybody’s judging. And for me, I feel like… it’s almost as if we have failed if we don’t remain 25 for the rest of our lives. We are failures. It’s a personal failure, our fault, that at 40 years old, I don’t still look like I’m 25. Oh, I’m sorry, I apologize. I wasn’t able to defy nature.
Obviously, the main point of this quote is totally solid and relatable, and it’s really great that someone is using her notoriety to call bullshit on the sexist standards women are forced to adhere to. I don’t want to nitpick through Cameron’s words so much that other people in the future will hesitate to speak up about important issues, and I’m sure it’s very easy to word something the wrong way when you’re doing an interview with freaking Oprah… but I have a big problem with part of this quote. Why are women the scapegoat here?
Yes, women put down each other’s appearances. Constantly. That’s a real, legitimate problem– but it’s the direct result of a toxic, patriarchal culture that forces us to be in competition with each other. When you don’t make that part abundantly clear, you’re just suggesting that women are inherently catty, cruel, and combative, and you’re contributing to internalized misogyny.
I’ve seen so many strong, smart ladies resort to blaming their fellow women for problems that are much bigger than us. It’s exhausting. We know for a fact that Cameron Diaz isn’t some oblivious moron– she’s currently promoting her book that’s all about increasing girls’ self-esteem and body acceptance– so it’s especially disappointing to hear a comment like this one coming from someone who should know better. Cameron’s incredibly positive messages are cheapened when it looks like she’s blaming the victims of oppressive beauty standards, rather than the overarching culture that forces them on us.
Again, the most important takeaway from this interview is that Cameron is doing awesome work with The Body Book, and I hope she doesn’t stop any time soon. I just also hope that, in the future, she’ll avoid pointing fingers at the wrong people.
Via Glamour / Photo: Getty images