Tom Junod of Esquire thinks modern-day 42-year-old women are the bomb, through some combination of sexiness, frankness about sexiness, gravitas, self-confidence, yoga, Pilates, feminism, and summer dresses. "A few generations ago, a woman turning 42 was expected to voluntarily accept the shackles of biology and convention," he writes. "Now it seems there is no one in our society quite so determined to be free." He ticks off names such as Cameron Diaz, Sofia Vergara, Jennifer Garner, and Amy Poehler to make his point. And he similarly asks us to imagine a remake of the 1967 movie The Graduate, when a young Dustin Hoffman is disgusted with himself for having an affair with the 42-year-old Mrs. Robinson. The movie wouldn't be quite the same today, he writes. "It is hard to feel sorry for a young man who goes to bed with the woman everybody else in the theater wants to go to bed with."
In short, 42 ain't what it used to be. The essay, however, is getting just as much buzz for the reaction, often in the form of ridicule, from female writers. Some examples:
- Tracy Moore, Jezebel: "The only thing more ludicrous than Tom Junod's feelings about 42-year-olds are the misguided assumptions that lurk beneath them…like a 42-year-old woman clawing at the icy surface above her, desperate to escape the tomb of her old age and fading beauty, trapped in part because she acknowledges that icy cold water could significantly invigorate her appearance."
- Sarah Miller, the Hairpin: She professed relief upon reading the piece: "Tom Junod still wanted to have sex with me, and more importantly, laugh over hamburgers afterward, as he admired me in a stunning shift. Because according to Junod, I’m still hot—not like 42-year-old women used to be, back when they were super gross, like Anne Bancroft in The Graduate. And according to Junod what makes me hot isn’t just being hot, it’s that, unlike other women who just haven’t had all this time, I also finally figured out how to be sort of interesting."
- Dr. Logan Levkoff, Huffington Post: She points out that Junod is in his 50s. "Gee, a man being interested in a younger woman—wow—that sounds like a novel idea."
Click to read Junod's full post