I’ve always admired Julianne Moore. She always sounds thoughtful, she’s a great actress, and she has an awesome side career as a children’s book author. She’s also not afraid to talk about feminism. Hence, I was not too surprised when I saw a quote from her latest magazine profile where she thoughtfully discusses the different ways interviewers approach male and female subjects.
Speaking to Dujour Magazine recently, Moore quickly grew tired of being asked questions about her children and her thoughts on aging, and said as much. To her credit, the writer made that a part of the story:
In person, Moore comes across as both warm and no-nonsense—her responses to several of my questions betray a very low-key frustration with the kinds of questions she’s always asked, but she’s genial nevertheless. “Do we have to talk about parenthood?” she wonders, after I push her to elaborate. “I don’t mind, but I do think it’s an extremely profound experience, something that’s difficult to encapsulate in a single interview.” Later, she worries that queries about parenting and getting older might be inherently sexist, regardless of intent. “Men aren’t asked about age,” she points out. “Men aren’t asked about their children. Not that these things aren’t important, but I do feel like it becomes reductive,” she says, returning to the same (not particularly common) word that she used earlier in our conversation, “when a woman’s life becomes, ‘Talk to me about your kids and how you feel about plastic surgery.’ ”
This is a really good answer. Rather than 1.) biting the writer’s head off, or 2.) giving some sunny pull quote about how motherhood is the best thing that’s ever happened to her, she explained why those questions irk her in a friendly and concise fashion. This is especially impressive, considering the number of times she’s probably been asked the exact same things. I mean, people start asking actresses if they’d ever get plastic surgery when they’re still in their twenties. Moore is now 52. I don’t even want to know how many times this has happened to her.
But then, maybe to show she wasn’t mad, she went ahead and said something amazingly profound about people’s fear of aging anyway:
“Our fear of aging is really a fear of dying; aging is a physical manifestation of decay, and I think that is what’s so upsetting to most people.”
And there you have it: our society’s shallow obsession with youth is really just our fear of death, concealed by so many ponytails and crop tops. Julianne Moore, you are one smart cookie.