The Double Standard in Hollywood: Fat, Old Actors and Beautiful, Shapely Actresses

It has dawned on me for some time that there is a level of duplicity in Hollywood in regards to how it perceives women, as compared to their male counterparts.

After a film actress hits a certain age, she stops getting romantic leads, while an older actor is still regarded as virile,sexy and desirable, even if he is old enough to have babysat Methuselah. These excellent actresses are suddenly being offered parts as matrons, maiden aunts, sexless wives or hacksaw murderesses.

Sean Connery, though is 76 years old and nobody would think it was ridiculous to cast him opposite a considerably younger love interest. Robert Redford is 70 and still thought of as the ultimate leading man.

Also, male actors are never REQUIRED to necessarily be physically handsome to be a star or deemed worthy of having a lucrative career in their industry.

Remember Telly Savales? Not a good looking man. Yet, in his films and in his television role as “Kojak,” he was practically a babe magnet. I read an article some time ago in which the writer criticized Meryl Streep for not being “sexy enough” and failing to ignite any lust within his loins. Uh ..and Christopher Walken, Woody Allen, Steve Buscemi, Joe Pesci, Adrien Brody and Billy Bob Thornton are supposed ring MY bell?? I’ve seen better looking guys working construction.

Don’t get me started on the double standard regarding the way Hollywood deals with fat actresses as opposed to fat actors.

Women like Roseanne Barr, Kathy Bates, Camryn Manheim and, in her heydey, Elizabeth Taylor are routinely slammed for being heavy and derided about not having any sex appeal due to their fatness.

Actresses are continually assessed by what their body type is. Ever read an article about any actress that didn’t include at least one sentence about her bodily proportions, many times giving her exact dress size? I have never read any article that states the jacket and inseam size of the male actor being interviewed.

It’s totally different for fat men.

Dennis Franz, who looks every bit like the manager at the Walgreens not far from where I live, was labeled as a “sex symbol” when he starred in “NYPD Blue.” We even got a glimpse of his naked behind, but nobody ever labeled him “lard butt” or demanded that he peel off some pounds from his sizable kiester.

The late John Candy always played opposite beautiful women several pounds thinner than him and nobody thought this was unusual. He was seen as a cuddly “teddy bear” type. He displayed his huge, flabby belly in many a movie and yet few questioned his ability to be attractive to women, in spite of his girth.

Brain Dennehy, James Galdofini, Jack Black, George Wendt ,John Goodman-all fat men, all consistently working actors who can have love scenes written in without any problem.

If they had a romantic scene between say- Kathy Bates and George Clooney, there would be no end to the ridicule.

I figure that, somewhere in the upper echelon of the Hollywood power structure is a bunch of homely, fat old men who put on the screen the illusions they have about themselves.

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