Sunday, January 31, 2010

Why I Love Helen Mirren

When I look at actress Helen Mirren at 63, everything about her resonates with why I love older women. There is an air of “self possession” or confidence about her; of owning all that she is. There is also a gracefulness and a strength of character that you don’t see in her photographs of almost 40 years ago. And it makes me think about why aging can be so liberating if you go with it. You hit your 40s and you begin to realize that what makes you desirable has very little to do with the size of your nose, the color of your labia or how much cellulite you have. If you hit your stride, you feel yourself coming alive for what feels like the first time, and wondering if the men in your life can handle it.

You see that’s the thing. The Inquisition was born of men who couldn’t handle it. Branding a woman “in her stride” a witch – however you define the term these days – hundreds of thousands were burned alive or drowned. Today, thanks to the courage and smarts of many of our ancestors, we don’t have to worry about that. But we do have to work on not apologizing for ourselves: for our strengths as older women; for our deep knowing of all things sexual. And we can do that without emasculating men in the process.


Joan Price said...

I love Helen Mirren, too. I've seen some young, sexy photos of her, and I find her much more beautiful and, yes, sexy -- now.

Joan Price

Author of Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty

Join us -- we're talking about ageless sexuality at

Jesse Mendes said...

I can barely take my eyes off her when she graces the stage. She *defines* elegance.

brendapo said...

I agree that when woman is 'in her stride', that she gives off a glow. There is nothing more empowering and beautiful than believing in yourself and what you are doing in your life. I think the media puts the focus on the hollywood beauty so much that there are so many 'beautiful' women harming themselves with needless surgeries. And I am talking about women of all ages. It is wonderful to read your posts celebrating the beauty, wisdom and grace of flowing and growing with age. Thank you so much.

Anonymous said...

I love that you have Helen Mirren and Meryl Streep as role models. They both ooze confidence and a distinct sexiness that can only come with experience and age. Kind regards and keep it up, Suzy Barker, Just Midlife (

Jesse Mendes said...

Dear Suzie and Brenda

Thank you, both, for sharing your thoughts -- it is heartwarming to know there are women out there who share my perspective and see the need for a change in attitudes. You give me energy, and inspiration. Jesse