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Image / Editorial

In Praise Of 42


By Bill O'Sullivan
14th Jul 2014
In Praise Of 42

Esquire announced that 42 year-old women are now sexually desirable and no one’s happy

?In our occasional ranking of the ages, we found that this year’s most alluring is not what you’d expect. It’s not 27 (honored in 1999) or 39 (2008) or 86 (1937 and 1983). No, this year it’s 42. Because it’s not what it used to be.? And so opens Esquire’s homage to women of 42. Written by Tom Junod, recipient of not one, but two National Magazine Awards in his time, the article goes on to say:

?Let’s face it: There used to be something tragic about even the most beautiful forty-two-year-old woman. With half her life still ahead of her, she was deemed to be at the end of something?namely, everything society valued in her, other than her success as a mother.?

Tom Junod you are a keeper.

The article that deigns to draw attention to the poor, needy women in their forties, goes on to illustrate how they are no longer a bunch of sados who alternate between being ?predatory? or ‘desperate?, but who are now funnier and sexier than ever before, enticing ?with a promise of lust with laughs.? Not only does Tom uncover this diamond in the rough that was hiding in plain sight – the 42 year-old woman – but he goes on to unpack the secret to why she is so valuable – pilates, yoga, and, you guessed it, feminism! Tom believes that where previously feminism would’ve been accused of preventing women from seeming attractive or desirable, it has now equipped them with the go get?em attitude that propels them into the gym and yoga studios. Feminism has taught women to fight for their looks and youthfulness. We must’ve been looking at the wrong feminism all these years.

The article genuinely seeks to champion women in their forties by explaining why 2014 is the year of the 42 year-old woman, but manages to do little more than unveil the level of stigmatization Esquire applies to women and age. Charitable Tom, earnestly believes himself to be progressive and non-ageist, to the point that the casually sexist observations that pepper the article acquire a whole new level of seriousness thanks to Esquire‘s general and dangerous obliviousness to it.

So three cheers for Esquire! And take note American Society of Magazine Editors, we may have a three-time winner on our hands here.

Roisin Agnew @Roxeenna