Previously on the “Mature” Content Stockpile, I’ve posted a number of links on ‘fashion and the older woman.’ Here’s another: Twiggy shows the fashion world the true beauty of older women from Barbara Scully in the 28 January 2015 Irish Examiner. Scully features actress and iconic 60s glamourpuss Twiggy, the new face of L’Oreal. The most interesting item in the article is the mention of France and how the French regard women over 40: “France, where older women have always been appreciated for their innate beauty, regardless of their age and whatever ravages it may have wrought on their faces.”
Curiously, Diana Holmes (2006) makes note of what I’ll call the ‘French Difference.’ In her book Romance and readership in twentieth-century France: love stories, Holmes indicates that in Harlequin-France produced romance novels the heroines are often in their forties, that is, the French Harlequin romance heroines are of a more mature age than American or UK romance heroines.
Further evidence of the ‘French Difference’ comes from Carpenter, Nathanson and Kim (2006) and their article Sex after 40? Gender, and sexual partnering in midlife. The trio observe that cross-cultural studies on ageing and sexism suggest older women in France lose less sexual desirability than their counterparts in the USA and Great Britain.
Finally, we come to Rose Weitz (2010) Changing the scripts: Mid-life women’s sexuality in contemporary U.S. film. Sexuality and Culture (14), 17-32, which investigates the ways that the middle-aged female body is often displayed on the film screen for laughs, rather than as an object of desire — except of course in France. Weitz observed that French women of a certain age (at least in cinema) are allowed to be shown having, and enjoying, sex.
To this I say, Vive la France!
Carpenter, L., Nathanson, C. A., & Kim, Y.J. (2006). Sex after 40? Gender, and sexual partnering in midlife. Journal of Aging Studies (20), 93-106.
Holmes, D (2006) Romance and readership in Twentieth-Century France: Love stories. (Oxford: Oxford University Press)
Weitz. R., (2010). Changing the scripts: Mid-life women’s sexuality in contemporary U.S. film. Sexuality and Culture (14), 17-32.