Hysterical laughter, stunned silence, and enthused fangirling were among the various reactions when Ryan Gosling’s first photo as Ken in the upcoming Barbie movie was released — but the most notable reaction is being overlooked, in typical fashion for its subject matter.
Gosling, 41, was cast to play Barbie’s iconic boyfriend alongside Margot Robbie, 31, as the legendary doll herself. While we love Gosling due to his frequent role as the irresistible love interest (Noah Calhoun and Jacob Palmer, we’re looking at you) and his undeniable good looks and charisma, we can’t help but wonder if a 41-year-old actress would be cast — or even considered — to play the role of Barbie.
It’s well-known that movie stars and models who are women are cast aside once they reach a certain age that’s deemed “too old” by the entertainment industry. As if Hollywood’s sexism isn’t enough to deal with, women are hit with a double-whammy due to its incessant ageism, too. While men like Gosling are chosen to play characters closer to their 20s despite being multiple decades older in actuality, women like Nicole Kidman are absurdly chosen to play the mother of actors who are just a decade younger than them — cough, cough, Aquaman.
By casting Gosling as Ken, Hollywood has set a precedent that says a 41-year-old actor is considered the peak of doll perfection. If that’s the case, the industry better be prepared to retire its historic ageist treatment of actresses and offer the same types of roles to women of the same age. You can’t look us in the eye and say Jessica Alba, Jenna Dewan, and Kim Kardashian — who are all 41 years old — aren’t as stunning (or even more so, let’s be honest) than Gosling in their allegedly “old” age.
After seeing Gosling’s photo as Ken, in which he’s sporting bleach-blond hair, orange washboard abs, an unbuttoned denim vest, and what definitely looks like a fair amount of icy highlighter and blush to amplify his “youth”, we don’t ever want to see women in their 40s described or portrayed as old ever again. It’s time for women to stop being treated as ancient in comparison to their male counterparts — in fact, it’s been time since the dawn of time for just that.
Before you go, click here to see all the celebrity women who have spoken out about ageism.
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