Pop Culture, Self-Image

Quote of the Day

And not in a good way…

Gravity and wrinkles that come with aging are fine with me, it means nothing compared to the new wisdom inside my head and heart. It’s the best time of my life. I don’t think I’ve ever been happier. If my breasts fall down to the floor and everything starts to sag and becomes hideous and gross, I won’t worry. I’ll just stop appearing in front of the camera. — Drew Barrymore, via Jezebel

Oh, Drew. You were doing so well up until that last sentence and a half.

52 thoughts on “Quote of the Day”

  1. I always like Drew Barrymore until she speaks. And then, I remember. The HORRORS. (It’s her past attempt at a British accent, I have nightmares, seriously.)

  2. I’d cut her some slack. She’s young and it’s natural to fear what aging can do.

    I think not seeking photo ops is saner than geriatric breast augmentation, though. Chances are that if Drew stick to her guns, she will learn to dress in a way that makes the most of what she’s got.

  3. I was reading along wondering what was bad about this and then my jaw dropped and hit the floor when i got to the last part. So close, Drew, so close.

  4. Drew’s not my favorite person. I think she comes off sounding New Agey and insipid a lot of the time. But even I would give her the benefit of the doubt here. After all, she didn’t say she’d choose to stop appearing in front of the camera. And I think in general, she’s shown much more self-possession than the average actress in that arena. She’s probably at her thinnest now, but she regularly appeared in movies at non-standard Hollywood weights.

    She was also castigated for it. Remember when she appeared on Saturday Night Live with an unsupportive bra and breasts that could’ve been perkier?

    I honestly don’t think she’s too bothered about conforming to a certain image. But the fact of the matter is that were she to become “hideous and gross” she might not have a choice about appearing in front of the camera- Hollywood being Hollywood.

    And she’s saying she’d be okay with that.

  5. I’ve always been a little uplifted to see Drew Barrymore in film because she’s got a round face like mine, something hitherto unknown in the world of OMG Beee-u-tee-fulz Starlets, at least as far as I’m aware.

    Then again, I think if she were round everywhere else I am round, she’d start the self-hate and the crazy dieting and the gods knows what else. And that makes me sad.

    I’m so happy for my magical little pencil. It’s a cheap piece of plastic with space on one end for replaceable erasers and in another end for lead. But thanks to it, worlds can exist where the romantic heroine is fat (and short, too!) and nobody really mentions it or cares. HUZZAHS.

    Seriously though, why is Hollyweird so down on getting old? It happens to everyone. Old people rock. They know the BEST stories and they’re not afraid to tell them. My Nana is so awesome. I hope I’m that cool when I’m old. Then again, I guess really only girls get old in Hollywood… guys don’t seem to age in film, they just snag women who appear progressively younger than they are.

  6. I’d cut her some slack. She’s young and it’s natural to fear what aging can do.

    Eh, she isn’t that young–she’s almost 34. Of course she’s by no means old, but she seems immature and oddly childlike to me, even though she’s a savvy, successful businesswoman who’s lived through addiction and seen the seedy underbelly of Hollywood.

    I’m surprised by the quotation since she hasn’t seemed too afraid of appearing undesirable in movies like Never Been Kissed and Riding in Cars with Boys.

  7. Sometimes I think that women say things like:

    “If my breasts fall down to the floor and everything starts to sag and becomes hideous and gross, I won’t worry. I’ll just stop appearing in front of the camera.”

    … so that they can beat the others who will criticize them for their body positivity. Better to attack myself than to have someone else do it…

    It is so sad that such successful woman would feel the need to do such a thing.

  8. I have to say, if I were a starlet I’d stop appearing on camera once I got old, too — I’d’ve heard what gets said about the looks of anyone over 40 who doesn’t look like Helen Mirren. In fact I’d beat the rush and just get off camera immediately, since I’d’ve heard what gets said about the looks of anyone under 40, too. Drew Barrymore doesn’t strike me as the thinkiest of celebs, but I can see how Hollywood’s unrealistic and antifeminist (and ageist!) beauty ideals could drive someone off camera regardless of how they personally felt about the beauty of an aging body.

    Then again I can’t see, say, Emma Thompson saying this.

  9. Of course Emma Thompson would never say this, FJ. She’d come right out and say it’s bollocks the way women who weigh more than ten pounds and have the teensiest bit of breast sag are suddenly considered ‘hideous and gross.’

    And that’s why I have a deep, abiding love and respect for Emma Thompson but not nearly so much for Drew Barrymore.

  10. I had the exact same reaction as April.
    But it doesn’t surprise me. At the rate Hollywood is going, they’re going to have to start casting 9 year-olds.

  11. Twistie, I’m with you and Emma Thompson, for reals.

    I don’t quibble with the not appearing in front of the camera – I seriously object to the “I’ll be hideous and gross and won’t inflict that on people” as if she’s doing a kindness by keeping her horrible body out of the public eye. *headdesk*

  12. After all, she didn’t say she’d choose to stop appearing in front of the camera.

    Well, but she did. I really think reading this any other way is stretching it.

    And Twistie and The Rotund got it. It’s not just “I’ll stop appearing on camera,” it’s “I’ll stop appearing on camera when I get HIDEOUS AND GROSS BECAUSE I AM OLD.” She’s not just saying, “Fuck it, if Hollywood doesn’t want me when I get old, then I don’t want them.” She’s saying, “Yes, oldness is disgusting, but instead of getting plastic surgery, I’ll just retire.”

    Sure, that’s a notch better than saying, “Hey, plastic surgery is grand.” But only a notch.

  13. Eh, Drew pretty much has a lifetime benefit-of-the-doubt pass from me for Ever After, so I can see where she could be saying something moderately better: that she would rather not be on screen (not necessarily by choice) than fight the aging process in order to keep getting roles. But that’s a bit of a stretch, so wevs.

  14. I should also point out that this makes me sad, not angry. And I actually have an inexplicable affection for Drew Barrymore, so it’s not like I want people going after her with pitchforks.

    Oh, and thank you, Lois Waller, for pointing out that she’s not that old (says the woman who’s turning 34 in 2 days). I think it’s just another reminder of how fucked up Hollywood is, that women over 25 are thought to be on a downhill slide. I can totally understand how she’d be feeling old relative to the young women getting the roles she used to get, when it’s been a long time since she got those. But seriously? 34-year-olds are neither all that gravity-stricken nor all that wise. She should probably shut up about both.

  15. At the rate Hollywood is going, they’re going to have to start casting 9 year-olds.

    Be careful what you ask for. They already have them writing.


    Although sometimes the way men act, I can’t help but think that their getting suggestions from a 9-year-old might well be appropriate.
    And 9 also does seem to be the mental age of some Hollywood development execs, the majority of whom are men.
    Which I do believe could be one of the heavily contributing factors to this whole nasty problem. I don’t believe Drew would have made a comment like that (assuming also, of course, that she was quoted correctly) in a more supportive environment.*

    *Hey. I can dream.

    Or, what Jay said.

  16. perhaps she was simply overwhelmed by all of the secrets that were in her hair at the golden globes.

  17. Commander Wattles: “…all of the secrets that were in her hair at the golden globes” = cracking up!

    So nicely put.

  18. She’s not that old but she’s not a baby, either, you know? Like, this isn’t some never-been-interviewed-before 19-year-old who’s fresh from the farm. I think she’s old enough to actually think about her words when she talks about aging.

    In a way, I think her comment is almost predictable, though, because she HAS grown up in Hollywood and been so thoroughly indoctrinated with the Hollywood Beauty Standard. Even in her movies where she is awkward and weird, the joke is that she is not REALLY ugly, she’s just shy/geeky/whatever.

  19. @the rotund, totally agreed re: predictable, etc. here is a quotation from an AP article about the golden globes:

    “Eva Mendes, Drew Barrymore and Lauren Hutton made for a glamazon trifecta, huddled together smoking outside next to the pool, which was lit up by dozens of circular trays sporting candles.
    ‘It’s a privilege to be here, and it should never be forgotten what a privilege it is,’ boasted Barrymore, when asked about the opulent setting, given the sorry state of the economy.”

    Somehow this just kind of says it all.

    p.s. I’m not shitting on smokers, I smoked for ten years and i miss them like a dead friend. Just saying, it’s easy to picture her puffing away saying “omg, you guys, we’re so privileged, when i get totally ugly i’m going to retire, give me another cig.”

  20. I lost respect for Drew when she claimed that starting to eat meat again helped her lose weight during the whole Atkins craze.

    So pretty much any vain predictions about future self-loathing aren’t all that surprising to me.

  21. Drew is old by Hollywood standards, but she is still a young woman. I still hear a lot of fear in her statement. I think she probably doesn’t spend much time around elders; there is a certain comfort in seeing that wrinkling and sagging are NORMAL and not lethal.

    If I were her, I too would fear the effects of aging since it means everything in her line of work. There are lots of actresses who recede from Hollywood for their quality of life; hopefully Drew will have the resources to do that when the time comes for her. Think of Debra Winger just saying “no” to the madness and choosing to go TOWARDS a better life.

  22. Yeah, Celeste, I hear you, but Debra Winger didn’t go towards a better life while talking about how disgusting she was. At least I don’t remember her doing that. *laugh*

    I do think you might be right that Drew Barrymore doesn’t spend much time with older people. But, again, that just makes her remark predictable – it’s still pretty freakin’ heinous.

  23. Reminds me of that Daily Mail review of ‘Bride Wars’ which opined that 20-something Kate Hudson’s “features had coarsened with age.”

    As they say at Jezebel – FOR THE FUCK OF SHIT!!

  24. I’ll cut Drew a little slack here, solely because it’s tough to think outside the box when you live in a lunatic asylum, which is what Hollywood is. An incredibly closed, incestuous one at that. Independent thinking is not welcomed, and she has shown faint glimmers of it at times, as she does here.

    Couched in the rilly rilly sad framework, though.


  25. I wasn’t friends with the last sentence and a half either, when I read it on Jez. I thought “How lovely and wise Drew is becoming” and then I thought “Oh, never mind.” *sigh.

  26. “I’ll just stop appearing in front of the camera.”

    The world would be so much poorer if other actresses had made that pledge. I can’t imagine a world where Candice Bergen or Meryl Streep quit at the first sign of a crow’s foot. I wouldn’t want to watch movies without the older women in the craft, the ones who make the movies watchable with their experience, grace and chutzpah. How bland everything would be with only 20-30 something women playing forgettable romantic comedy leads with their interchangeable sameness. Give me an actress with saggy tits and a lifetime of experience at her craft any day.

  27. That sound you just heard? Was Angela Bassett having a screaming shit fit, because she doesn’t get sent a fraction of the good scripts that Barrymore gets, and didn’t even get that many of them when she was Barrymore’s age despite being able to act rings around her. (And Barrymore is cute and charming and everything, but puh-lease.). And bullshit like this is why I never fucking get to see Angela Bassett in a good movie, goddamnit.

  28. Yeah, right there with you. Starts out good: ends up with the same old same old. Literally. Why are people so afraid and unable to face old age, when it is a part of life – all life, every living thing, must one day die. Including the universe itself. So why celebrities think they’re soooo high and mighty they stand above the universe itself, I don’t know.

    There’s a Dutch writer and biologist, Midas Dekkers, who recently wrote a book about how vigorous frequent exercise doesn’t have to be as healthy as people think. Instead, he writes that just moving around normally every day is enough. That already had the Dutch media in a shock (“omg?!? Exercise is not the key to absolute health!? HOW CAN THIS BE!? This man is lying!”)

    A few years ago he also wrote a book about how people are unable to face the transient, perishing nature of life: how all things that once come to life, will one day die. That that’s how nature works. In the media, he explaind that he genuinely looks forward to growing old, getting wrinkles and saggy flesh and skin, being able to sit around and nag about the damn kids on the lawn, no longer having to worry about all the things young people worry about. He wrote about how people wanted to avoid the phases of growing up and growing old, and treated death as if it were a curse, rather than a part of nature.

    I think Midas Dekkers is pretty awesome.

    Although I am lucky enough to not have anyone close to me die – and so, maybe my view on this is idealistic – but I do see death as a necessary part of life. Without death, life is endless, and it means nothing. Without a deadline, nothing would happen, nothing would be done. Without mortality, the worth of a life – a human life, or any other life – becomes meaningless. It never ends, so there is nothing to lose, and therefor, is much more easily lost. Being born, growing up, growing old, and dying. That’s what life is.

    Pretending you are immortal, wanting to be young forever; moreover, as far as Drew Barrymore goes and many many other people with her: growing old and dying is a bad, ugly thing that must be avoided at all costs.

    Sorry, Drew and everyone else who rolls with that way of thinking. That’s not what life is. That’s not what living is. Living is not about endlessly trying to sustain your youth. It is about making the best and greatest out of every living moment you have available to you.

    And ‘the best’ can mean anything, really. It’s your life, after all. Right now, my ‘best’ is to sit at my computer way past midnight typing an insightful comment on Shapely Prose. Living life in the moment doesn’t mean you have to go out and do all sorts of crazy stuff. It means you live your life in every moment, as it is; not trying to preserve or get back to how it once was.

    You’re never going to be 16 again, Drew. Face it: you’re going to get wrinkly and saggy.

    But it’s not horrendous or ugly. It’s a part of nature.

    That celebrities think that a natural occurance is ugly and horrible says more about them than about nature, don’t you think?

  29. Meghan, I read the quote again and I completely see your spin on it. I can see how that could be what she meant. However, I’m not inclined to believe that she didn’t mean it exactly as I, and others obviously, first read it.

    It’s the part about sagging breasts being hideous and gross that makes me think my first instincts were right.

    Who knows? Only Drew knows what Drew meant.

  30. I’m sad that Drew Barrymore doesn’t have more self-awareness about this shit. I find her a charming screen presence most of the time, and I do admire her for overcoming addiction, especially considering her family heritage of same.

    But Jeez {Thelma and} Louise, give me an Emma Thompson or a Meryl Streep or an S. Epatha Merkerson or a Frances McDormand or a Kathy Bates–vibrant, fantastic actors who know they’re more than animated Barbie dolls, even when the menz with the checkbooks forget.

    And I’m with you, meowser, on the Angela Bassett love. The husband and I were watching TV and a trailer for the Biggie Smalls movie came on and the husband said “I KNOW YOU ARE GOING TO SEE THAT PIECE OF CRAP BECAUSE ANGELA BASSETT’S IN IT” and I said “It’s not my fault she’s never in anything good!”

    He decided that the EPA should crack down on Hollywood for wasting one of America’s most precious natural resources–the wellspring of awesomeness that is Angela Bassett.

  31. I’m with your husband, JupiterPluvius. I mean, Bette Davis acted in her share of shit movies because she was under contract and she had to, but at least she got a handful of memorable roles. Where is Bassett’s All About Eve already?

  32. As my grandmother said (before she passed away, sadly): “Getting old sucks, but it sure beats the hell out of the alternative.”

  33. I actually really like Drew barrymore.

    And i’m holding out for the hope that, one day, when they don’t get as many calls for ingenue roles, Drew and Cameron and Eva and Evan Rachel will pool their money. With that money, they’ll start making movies about real life, performed by actors committed to the craft. I hope that these movies will depict women’s lives and experiences with heart and risk.

    If Salma Hayek could make “Frida,” then, dammit, Drew and her contemporaries can be game-changers, too.

    It’s fine with me if Drew steps away from the lens, as long as she gets behind it and doesn’t let the insecure man-trolls call all th damn shots.

  34. Yep Drew…..sure….eating meat made you 20 lbs thinner overnight…maybe a little coke thrown in for good measure too?

    From what I understand, many of the actresses stay thin that way. As a tool for not eating, as if its a prescribed med for the hideousness of not being a size 2 or less. I

    live here in vapid LA and in the more “elite” circles, the prevalent culture is that women must be very thin to be considered remotely socially acceptable. I’m 41 and a size 10/12. I’m trying to really work on accepting myself as I am in a sea of “perfect” bodies. Some days it really sucks. But I’m working on it.

    Sorry, I digress. What Drew said really sucks. Am I surprised? Not one bit. At least she was honest. Other people think the same thing but wouldn’t dare say it.

  35. After reading the post about intuitive eating, I felt I needed to respond. I’m going to respond here, though, so that somebody, well, reads it. I know, selfish.

    Before I do, let me preface by saying that I am an ardent supporter of body acceptance activism. I myself have occasionally been a casualty of the way the American culture—by this I mean Big Business and the media specifically, but also unwitting shills for the two—imposes anachronistic standards of beauty and relativistic health dicta on us: the voting and spending public. We obviously have a very perverted view of how “good” people are “supposed” to look (as if they could be identified by one look anyway), and this deeply ingrained prejudice is often aimed at those of us who don’t fall into that very narrow margin of beauty (thus goodness), including people who are “overweight.” I say this because, although I’m about to enumerate certain objections I have with this post, I am still a friend to the movement and I am hoping this is a safe place to exchange ideas non-combatively.

    Fat activism is, in my view, a paramount and timely movement. Food had been politicized for centuries, not only in the US, but all over the world. It’s often been used as a tool of oppression, much like it is today, as well as a means to obtain vast wealth. The inevitable truth that we need food to survive has been completely overshadowed by the fact that what we are privy to eat is a sign of our social status. Furthermore, overweight has had negative value attached to it for centuries—first as a side-effect of wealth, and later, and more currently, as an adjunct to poverty. In trying to reshape the negative perceptions about fat, we have to first re-educate ourselves and our compatriots about its history and it role in the development of the term “overweight.” Basically, we all need to be a part of the conversation.

    I mention this because we have (as a culture, but also as a social force) to connect the discrimination of overweight people with the relentless and pernicious discrimination of the poor. I’m sure you talk about this elsewhere in your blog, but intuitive eating would not be as easy a philosophy for people who do not have options. The institutionalized oppression of the poor, which is held forth by capitalism, affects food choices as well. When all you are able to choose from is questionable packaged foods with the same, brackish shredded shoe taste, intuitive eating is a luxury of little consequence—more pressing is their body’s need for life-sustaining nutrients. We can’t say, “Love your body, whatever it looks like,” before they’ve even had a choice in the matter.

    But I like how you say in this post that you eat food. You eat what you want when you’re hungry, and through intuitive eating, you will learn to consume what is required by your body for survival without depriving yourself of the so called indulgences (i.e., hot dogs). I agree that our worth is not derived from the number of calories we consume daily, but I disagree that eating is an entirely morally neutral act. Yes, the abstract act of eating—like putting on your shoes—should not have a moral value attached to it. But we cannot ignore that, as you pointed out, we eat food. Food, from what I can discern, is not morally neutral. We can not extract the moral concerns presented by the suffering of animals, the injury to the environment caused by agribusiness, the irresponsibility of said corporations, or the suppression of small farmers—intensely important problems that affect us all—from the food we eat; these elements are a part of every bite we take. Intuitive eating should, in my opinion, be just as much about loving your body enough to allow it to guide you as responsible and compassionate consumerism. In my estimation, these cannot be mutually exclusive considerations.

    Nor can we ignore how the term “healthy” has been used to further oppression. It is obviously a medically nebulous word, but much effort has been made to standardize the definition for convenience while ignoring that the standards of health cannot apply evenly to all people. This will only justify the sweeping medical apathy toward the various incarnations of health. Although most doctors and nutritionists will tell you that skinny does not mean healthy, they still see overweight as a dangerous affliction and underweight as a temporary state. The truth is healthy people comprise many levels of health and food is not our enemy (nor is fat), and the term overweight means just about anything nowadays.

    I don’t agree that the word “healthy” needs to be vilified. The word is the word. Is the word. We, the people, attach value to it. The right we (should) all have to choose what and how we eat, should also extend to those of us who deliberately abstain from certain food for health and ethical reasons. I don’t take umbrage at someone’s choice, for instance, to exclude certain foods from their diets in the interest of their health, the problem I have is when those choices are imposed on the rest of us and when the concept of health is equated with bizarre notions like fanatical exercising and harmfully abstemious diets. Perhaps I’m of a different mind on this subject (or I’ve misunderstood you—very possible), but body acceptance means all body types.

    I’ve perseverated for a few days now on how to draft a response to this post (I’m not sure if this makes me a troll). The question I’ve asked myself, and perhaps the most important and relevant issue under consideration in a fledgling movement, is how it can be evolved and perfected through meaningful and friendly dialogue. Are we, as supporters of body acceptance activism, creating a neutral space where ideas can be shared without fear of immediate, apoplectic derision? Or worse, apathetic dismissal. We all have relevant experiences to offer to the discussion, and I’m excited to see how this and other forms of activism can be brought together.

  36. But Jeez {Thelma and} Louise, give me an Emma Thompson or a Meryl Streep or an S. Epatha Merkerson or a Frances McDormand or a Kathy Bates–vibrant, fantastic actors who know they’re more than animated Barbie dolls, even when the menz with the checkbooks forget.

    You forgot Mary McDonnell (56-year-old female lead of Battlestar Galactica, no plastic surgery). But yes, word.

  37. Chris, I let your comment through because I don’t think you’re a troll, but I almost didn’t, for two reasons:

    1. This is not the appropriate thread for this comment. Please post your comments to the appropriate threads. Even if it’s an old post, a link will show up in the “recent comments” section of the sidebar.

    2. We have discussed many of the ideas you bring up, quite extensively. Please read the archives and acquaint yourself more with the blog before spending so much time writing a response to everything at once. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel!

  38. Sweet Machine,

    Ok (and sorry). In the future, I’ll stick to the appropriate threads.

    I’m glad to hear the the discussion is happening, and I look forward to reading what you’ve, and especially your readers, have had to say.

  39. I’m glad to hear the the discussion is happening,

    Well, there are over 900 posts on this blog and over 1000 people at our community site, so you can be pretty sure that there are a lot of discussions happening around here.

  40. Remember the old days, when people read first and then talked?

    I probably made them up, didn’t I.

  41. Fillyjonk, yes, you probably made them up.

    Chris, thanks for your thoughtfulness and non-combativeness. My short answer to your questions (other than “read the rest of the blog”) is that quite honestly, for me, encouraging people to stop viewing food/eating in “good” and “bad” terms takes precedence over the kind of food ethics you’re talking about. You’re absolutely right that it’s a bit simplistic to say, “Eating is a morally neutral act” when there are loads of factors that make a given meal more or less harmful to farmers, animals, the environment, etc. But in terms of my activism, that’s not a battle I’m actively engaged in — my priority is helping people realize that they are not actually bad people for wanting to eat when they’re hungry, or for wanting to eat a particular food that’s been marked as bad because of its calorie/fat content.

    If you read around the blog, you’ll see lots of discussions in comments about approaches to eating that take into account anti-capitalism, animal rights, and environmental concerns. Those conversations are always welcome here, as long as they don’t involve judgment or criticism of people who eat differently by choice or by necessity.

    (Your points about poverty and the word “healthy” are indeed well covered in other blog posts here.)

  42. More appropriately, to see the discussion is happening. I was only recently made aware of this blog (any blog actually) that was on body acceptance activism. Where I live, there are very few people who’ve ever heard of fat acceptance, and even fewer whom the notion of which doesn’t deeply disturb (ya know, fat = bad, etc.).

  43. Kate,

    I had was talking to a passionate Chicano activist once who told me that gay rights weren’t his first priority; although he supported gay rights, he wanted to improve the station of oppressed brown Americans first. My response: What about gay Chicanos?

    Believe me when I say I understand. I’m a Jewish, vegan gay man who is constantly trying to look for way the activism inherent in the three can interesect. There are days when my first priority is promulgate the idea of ethical animal treatment, with no consideration of the unethical treatment of, for instance, people. But I have to remind myself that all forms of oppression are intimately linked. That is, you have to bring the whole system down at once.

    That’s me, though. It take a lot of time and I go a relatively short distance. To be fair, I took your one post, with no consideration for anything else you’d written and responded to it (and then posted a response on the wrong thread). I need to read more of what you all write here before having a fully-formed opinion on this site. Then I’ll be back, commenting at full force. (o:

  44. “I had was talking to a passionate Chicano activist once who told me that gay rights weren’t his first priority; although he supported gay rights, he wanted to improve the station of oppressed brown Americans first. My response: What about gay Chicanos?”

    It seems to me that if you fight for justice for all non-white people — or all brown people — the lives of gay latinos would be impacted.

  45. Stacia, I live just south of L.A. so I feel your pain.

    Call me cynical, but when celebrities, easily under 40, say they won’t have plastic surgery (and what about Botox?), I think time will tell whether they stick with that decision or not.

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