Can we start speculating as to what sort of devil’s pact Helen Mirren made however many years ago that has allowed her to become and remain the perfect human? Because she is that. At 70, she alternates between period dramas and shoot-em-up action movies without batting an eye. She’s an absolutely stunning beauty with a beyond banging body, but she also is very candid about being past the point in her life where she cares to give a f*ck about obsessing over her looks. She also gives interviews like no one else, which she demonstrated this weekend with The Daily Mail. Mirren is a spokesperson for L’Oréal Paris, and the way she can undercut near-cheesy product endorsements (example: “Yesterday, I whacked on L’Oréal Paris Excellence Age Perfect Hair Colour in Light Beige Blonde [shade 9.31] for 25 minutes, then washed it off - job done”) and follow them up with frank talk about just about any subject imaginable, is remarkable. Take, for example, this number one piece of advice she’s gleaned from her life so far:
At 70 years old, if I could give my younger self one piece of advice, it would be to use the words “f*** off” much more frequently.That’s some sound fucking advice right there. We should all be listening to Helen Mirren more.
But the subject Helen Mirren seems to keep coming back to is the sexism she sees in the world. Which of course makes sense, since she’s spent her entire multi-decade career putting up with interviewers, audiences, and critics who can’t seem to accept her as a serious actress who also happens to have great breasts.
Though this isn’t just about the sexism she’s encountered personally. She also wants everyone— especially young women— to be aware of the more subtle, ingrained inequalities we may not even notice. Her #1 peeve right now? When men won’t keep their damn arms to themselves.
It annoys me when I see men with an arm slung round their girlfriend’s shoulders. It’s like ownership. Of course, when you’re young, you want the guy to take your hand and look after you.She also says why she thinks so many women let men be that aggressive with them.
But when I see girls being leaned on, I want to say, “Tell him to get his damned arm off your shoulder.
Women are still toddlers in this modern world, trying to find their position in the age of sexual liberation, birth control, education and financial independence. We’re still finding our path. And yes, we’re making a lot of mistakes along the way.
Hoo boy. That’s a lot to unpack. So the incendiary version of this headline is “Helen Mirren Thinks Men Being Affectionate With Women Is a Form of Ownership & Women Are Sexual Toddlers,” and yes, that’s a pretty simple takeaway. But is her (very generalized) statement wrong? Of course many, MANY couple are just showing affection, but haven’t you ever had a conversation with a couple where the guy wouldn’t let go of his girlfriend, or the two of them didn’t stop holding hands, and you could tell there was an underlying insecurity there? Is that what Mirren is talking about? I definitely don’t think that’s every case, but I do think she has a point in that we’re often unaware of how our body language comes across. And sometimes it comes across as an aggressive laying claim, a planting of a flag.
The real point here, though, seems to be that it doesn’t matter whether we agree with Mirren or not. She doesn’t care. If people react poorly to these statements and lash out at Helen Mirren, do we think she’ll come back with the usual contrite celebrity apology we’ve become so used to? Doubtful. She’s too busy showering us with rainbows of life advice and zero fucks. Like this beautiful gem:
Growing old is not for pussies - you’ve got to have courage. But then, you’ve got to have courage in life anyway.