Wednesday, June 8, 2011

How Cindy Crawford Killed My Mojo: An Utterly Pointless Rant

Well, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it's time again for one of your favorite Adorable Napalm segments: The Rant.

This is not something I do often. In fact, out of 248 posts, this is only the fifth time I've felt compelled to rant and rave. That little fact actually surprised me. I was sure I carried on a lot more than that. Hmmm...

You see, when I get ready for work in the mornings, I like to leave the television on in my bedroom (don't judge me. I like the noise). Unfortunately, I don't have cable on that set, and the digital converter box and ridiculously over-priced antenna only pick up one channel consistently. That channel, dear friends, shows only infomercials for the better part of the morning. Oh, joy.

But that's not why I'm ranting. Oh, no. Nor am I complaining that they show the same five informercials in rotation, or that the station sometimes shows the same one twice in a row. No, sirreebob. I can deal with all that. What I cannot deal with is the idea that Cindy Crawford is old.

Yeah, I'll give you a second to recover from that. You just take a moment while I reset the needle that came screeching off of that record. Better now? Good. Let's continue.

Cindy Crawford is the spokesperson for Meaningful Beauty, an anti-aging skin care system created by Dr. Jean-Louis Sebagh. This infomercial airs about twice a week, give or take, and it's been grating on my nerves since its first transmission.

Before I fully dive into this rant, let me explain a few details:
  1. This is not a review of Meaningful Beauty. I have never tried any of the products, so I have no idea if they work or not, nor, if I'm being totally honest, do I really care.
  2. I am not against anti-aging skin products of any type. Quite the opposite, actually. I am an advocate of responsible skin care, and use anti-aging products on a daily basis.
  3. I understand that the point of the informercial is to make you feel like you have to buy the product or you'll look old and your life will suck.
  4. Cindy Crawford is not old. At the taping of the infomercial, she was 43 years of age.
Now that that's cleared up, we may begin.

Where in the bloody blue blazes do these people get off calling Cindy Crawford old?!?! Okay, so maybe 49 year-old host Valerie Bertinelli doesn't come right out and use the word "old" (which would be hypocritical), but it's more than implied by the awed gasps and looks of sheer wonderment when her age is revealed. Dear God, they act like the woman is the freaking cryptkeeper.

Forty-three is not old. It's barely middle-aged.

I know, this is an infomercial to sell anti-aging products. It's in the best interest of marketing to make it sound like their genetically-blessed supermodel spokesperson should be on Social Security. Really, it reminds me of some advice a friend gave me once: Lie up. Never lie that you're younger than you actually are. Lie that you're older. That way, people think you look amazing for your age. Obviously, the company can't lie about Cindy Crawford's age because it's way too easy to find out the truth (thanks, Internets). What they can do is ooh and aah over someone looking so young at such an advanced age.

How demoralizing is that?! This is beyond manipulative. It's downright evil. Cindy Crawford is so genetically-blessed, she's practically mutant. If she needs this stuff at forty-three, how is a forty-four year old average Jane supposed to compete?

But this rant is not just about this infomercial. That's just a symptom of the bigger problem that is our culture's obsession with youth. American Idol now allows 15 year-olds to enter, and cuts off at age twenty-eight. The most recent winner was only seventeen. The Metropolitan Opera competition lowered its max age to thirty. As a singer, I cringe at these numbers. A woman's voice doesn't mature until she's well into her thirties, which makes cutting off an opera competition at thirty seem utterly ludicrous to me. As for AI...well, I could say a lot, but I won't. What I will say is that it came at no surprise to me that one of the finalists oversang to the point that she blew out her voice and had to have a doctor come onstage and explain her vocal fatigue to the audience. I'm not saying you can't be phenomenal at so young an age, but the training and technique that only comes with years of study just isn't there, and you need that to pull off that level and intensity of rehearsal and performance. With acting...well, you can never be too young, right?

But it's not just the performing arts, and that's what has me freaking out. According to CareerBuilder (via MSN), the average length of unemployment for job seekers age 16-24 in 2009 was 19.9 weeks. Ages 25-54 had to pound the pavement for 25.3 weeks, while those 55 and older were out of work a staggering 29.5 weeks. The gist of their advice: look younger.

Folks, words fail me.

I really wanted to end this on a positive note. I wanted to rise up and defiantly proclaim that I will not let society dictate my place in this world based on my age or how I look; that I will be true to myself, and my experience and wisdom will triumph over adversity, but I can't.

I will say that as long as Lady Clairol makes hair dye, I will remain a gray-less redhead--not because it makes me look younger, but because I like it; that I use my anti-aging products not because I don't want to look my age, but because I want to have clear, pretty skin well into my golden years. However, I have to admit I think it's a kick when someone is surprised by my actual age. I adore getting carded. I also have to give into the craze a little bit because I'm an actor, and it's part of the biz.

I have no ending for this. I suspect that's partially because it is the way it is and there's nothing I can do about it. That, right there, makes me crazy. All I can do at this point is stop typing.


  1. It's amazing to me, but I can only figure those pushing these ideals are A. advertisers pushing products, or B. young people themselves. I don't pretend to speak for men, but I can say as a woman that while my physical assets don't look like they did at 20, you couldn't PAY ME enough to go back to that age. It's not until your 30's that a woman starts to really get a sense of who she is and what she wants. You get to be so much more confident in yourself it's unreal. I've always heard the whole 'life begins at 30' but I didn't believe it until I got there ;)

  2. you are so, so right. part of the reason folks our parents' age aren't getting hired is that folks our age work cheaper. sad, eh?

    that being said, the longer i live, the more i realize a couple of things.
    1) i knew NOTHING ten years ago.
    2) i was apparently at my most marketable ten years ago.
    3) ergo, people who know NOTHING are at their most marketable.



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