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Gray Hair: Sexy on Men, Old on Women?

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

Conclusions

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.