Gray Hair: Sexy on Men, Old on Women?

gray hair

I want to know why gray hair on men is considered distinguished, even sexy, but on women it’s aging. “Letting herself go” is the term used when one decides to quit fighting reality by embracing their gray hair. At least for women. Men, on the other hand, are said to “rock” their gray hair.

Popular and Dashing Gray-Haired Men

George Clooney comes to mind as a popular movie star that recently (within the past few years) has let gray hair take over. He was always good-looking (to me) in that tall, dark, and handsome way. But lately, everyone seems to be swooning over his new, gray look.

Anderson Cooper, another household name, turned gray prematurely (like me) but has been recognized, even celebrated for his “natural” look for years. Decades even. So much so that he has earned the nickname of the silver fox.

Anderson Cooper

Gray Haired Women Over the Hill?

Closer to (my) home, Lisa Laflamme, on the other hand, was recently released (in her words blind-sided) from her long-time news anchor position with CTV. Why? Rumour has it because she made the decision to let her gray hair grow out after the pandemic. Fans were outraged but Bell Media denied the (obvious) allegations:

the termination of Lisa LaFlamme’s contract had nothing to do with age, gender or grey hair,”

Bell Media

No one is buying it. Even Wendy’s Canadian franchises stepped up to show their support by replacing their mascot’s iconic red pigtails with gray ones and taking to Twitter in Lisa’s defense:

This month Andie MacDowell was celebrated for embracing her gray hair during Paris Fashion Week. She too decided to let her gray hair come in during the pandemic. Perhaps Hollywood and Paris have it right.

gray hair

It sounds to me like MacDowell speaks the truth:

“As we age, we deserve dignity and pride. We deserve to feel glorious! I’ve always said there’s no expiration date on beauty.”

Andie MacDowell


Why the difference in perception? Talk about sexist, archaic, and blatantly obvious. Why are women like MacDowell and Laflamme forced to advocate for the right to age gracefully? Men have done it for ages.

In general, it seems that women reporters are “put out to pasture” so to speak as soon as they start looking tired, old, heavy, etc compared to the younger, fresh-faced, airbrushed girls that are new on the scene. Men, on the other hand, seem to get more air time (and respect) as they advance in age. We see it all the time.

I’d like to see statistics on the number of over forty-year-old TV reporters, women vs men.

6 thoughts on “Gray Hair: Sexy on Men, Old on Women?

  1. I am in my mid 60’s and retired over10 years ago. When I retired I decided to embrace my grey hair. Had my hair dresser cut it very short 2 or 3 times in a row, and have loved how the grey frames my face. Since COVID I have let my hair grow long. Just had 2 1/2 inches taken off the bottom last week, but it is still way below my shoulders, all one length! Some say mature women shouldn’t have long hair as well. I’ll embrace my grey and enjoy my long hair too. My hairdresser doesn’t see every 6 weeks like in days of old, but we can strike up a conversation once every year or two.

  2. I got some gray hair when I was in my 60s. I never worried about turning gray since I think it’s a mark of distinction for both men and women. With learning about magnesium for my health problems, I also learned the a low magnesium is linked to gray hair. I’m 73 now and still only have a sprinkling of gray hair.

  3. I do feel this is wrongly more the case for females still, especially in recent times where both genders have a stereotype of unrealistic body image ideals which are virtually impossible to conform to in many cases. Some races suffer from a lack of media depiction and it can be that this absence or unrealistic presence puts pressure on people more due to widespread exposure on social media. I am definitely going to rock my grey hair if I am lucky enough not to lose it …

    1. I think one of the positive things that came out of the pandemic was to embrace our natural selves. Those that relied heavily on regular hair, nail, facial appointments etc realized how frivoulous those things are.

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