The Comments On Kelly Brook Being ‘Past It’ Are Not Ok

It shows we still live in a deeply sexist and ageist society where women are disposable.


by Anna Silverman |
Updated on

Kelly Brook is 40, which, by society’s standards, sadly means she’s considered too old to be female and in the public eye anymore. In a recent interview, she said: ‘People say I’m past my best'.

Speaking to FEMAIL, the Heart Breakfast presenter explained: 'They see me as this 40-year-old fat girl and they’re like no! I get it, it’s funny. But people grow up, people get bigger, people change, it happens.'

She went on: 'Men are like "you’re past your best", or "you were sexy once", but whatever, you’re always going to get that. When you grow up with someone you don’t want them to get older, it’s weird. And I get it, people remember me as this pin up girl.’

It epitomises the impossible standards that beautiful women in the public sphere have to meet.

The thing is, Kelly, a TV celebrity who is currently co-presenting Heart Breakfast, shouldn’t have to ‘get it’ and accept that we still live in a deeply sexist and ageist society. Her industry is predicated on ageism and sexism: it’s an ageism that doesn’t apply equally to men and it’s a sexism that doesn’t apply to women of every age.

There’s a disposability about women in industries where you’re in front of a camera: they come in young and get chucked out when they get too old. Women live in a double bind, where we are expected to stay young forever, yet at the same time we’re criticised for having work done to achieve this goal.

What makes this even more unfair is that, as a teenager, Kelly was criticised for being a young bimbo when she mispronounced some words as a presenter on the Big Breakfast in 1999. She was slammed for ‘not being up to the job’ and being ‘too immature.’ Now she’s older, more experienced and knows the job, yet she’s considered past it and ready for society to hide her away.

It epitomises the impossible standards that beautiful women in the public sphere have to meet. We might congratulate ourselves that we’ve made great headway with women’s rights with movements like MeToo, but this shows how far we still have to go.

The fact she’s also been called fat because she doesn’t have the same body shape as when she was a young model adds a third prong to the attacks she’s receiving: weight-shaming on top of sexist and ageist remarks.

This all goes to show how women’s bodies are subject to constant critical scrutiny and have a sell-by date. When will this ever change?

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