The next time someone gives Thandie Newton a backhanded compliment like, “You look good for your age,” she wants them to consider how much women are expected to balance.
“For women over 30, there’s the addition of children and the stress of holding down a job, and most people don’t have help,” the Westworld actress, 45, tells Refinery29. “They grit the teeth with their mother-in-law, support their husband, and deal with misogyny. That’s a lot of stuff.”
The mom of two has a new idea for what people should be saying.
“It’s not, ‘You look good for your age.’ It’s, ‘You look good for a renaissance woman holding down all those things and still managing to have a glow about you.’ ”
She believes that what looks like “aging” on a woman is really just the accumulation of stress, and if people recognized the pressure women are under they would be more understanding.
“It’s not about the age, it’s about the pressures and stresses of being a woman,” Newton says. “Once we realize our stressors, we’re going to seek to change those things and force society to recognize that being a mother is one of the most challenging jobs in the world. If it was paid, we’d be respected more.”
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“We should take a step back and see why people are amazed that an older woman looks good. It’s because they know how much we do. It’s not ‘for your age.’ It’s for being a frickin’ goddess despite all of that.”
Newton says her character on the futuristic Westworld, Maeve Millay, is very relatable to women today.
“To see her discovering the truth and getting underneath the lies is a metaphor for where we are right now,” Newton says. “Getting under the lies, claiming the truth for ourselves and not waiting to be given it. That’s a lot of what goes on when you’re used to being in a system, a hierarchy, and you trust those at the top. Suddenly when we’re aware of all those lies, we search for the truth in other ways — and that’s what’s happening now. Suddenly, there will be an explosion of women with their experiences, and ‘looking good for your age’ will be done and gone. It’s exciting.”