Pop-Culture | Posted by Sarah C on 09/12/2012

Sunday Night Sexism on NBC

Faith Hill on Sunday Night Football

I’ve been waiting all year for Sunday Night Football. Well, actually, I’ve been waiting all year for the first two minutes of Sunday Night Football. As a diehard Faith Hill fan, I’ve been waiting patiently to see her in the new opening all summer. Since I missed the game on Sunday I watched it on YouTube the next morning and noticed that the new opening is slightly different than the ones in the past five years. Faith Hill is still wearing something stylish and sexy and singing almost the same words, but the song’s been amped up and sounds much more Rock and Roll than the previous catchy country-pop sound of previous years.

Looking at the YouTube comments, I expected to see people lament the change in beat as well as the incredible amount of product placement. Yet the theme in the majority of the comments had to do, of all things, with Hill’s age.

Hill, who turns 45 at the end of the month, looks fantastic for her age. She is in amazing shape and is a beautiful woman– a sentiment many commenters did point out, stating things like “45 and still SMOKIN. Lovein it.” But I couldn’t help but notice the many comments that ridiculed Faith for her looks just based on the fact that she was 45. “Newsflash, Faith– you’re 45, not 25! Every year looks more desperate in an attempt to not look ‘over the Hill’ (so to speak). NEXT,” wrote one commenter. In an attempt to defend Hill, another YouTube user commented, “If she looks 30 as a 45 year old, why not show it?” But even in that user’s attempt to defend Hill, age is still an issue. Specifically, the user acknowledges this concept that inherently increasing age equals ugliness for women. Faith doesn’t look good: she looks 30.

Why such an obsession with age? What determines what the modern 45-year-old looks like? And why does it matter? If age is truly just a number, then why is Hill’s attractiveness supposed to be correlated to her years? In a society where people are living longer, age has become a tool for rating a woman’s attractiveness more critically. Yet this age bias seems to be mostly true for women, but significantly less so for men.

Age IS just a number for male celebrities, and is often looked past in evaluating a celebrity’s looks. How often does one say “He looks good for his age” in regards to a male celebrity of comparable age to Hill? A man is still considered sexy up until he is in his mid 60s if not longer, while a woman can rarely be considered sexy after 40. Think about Jared Leto, who is 40 and quickly approaching 41. There aren’t any comments on his videos regarding his age, despite thousands of comments on his looks. His age doesn’t matter; he hasn’t reached the point of no return that women reach at the same age. This isn’t an anomaly either. Many of People Magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive winners have been in their 40s or 50s (most notably Sean Connery at 59 in 1988), with the majority of winners being over the age of 35.

It isn’t weird for men to be attractive at older ages, and no one ridicules them for it, but at 45 Faith Hill is under scrutiny because God blessed her with one hell of a set of legs and she decided she still feels comfortable enough to show them off? It doesn’t make sense. In a truly progressive society, women would be able to live free from the stigma associated with age.

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  • Illuminutty @ at 3:14 am, September 17th, 2012

    I agree with everything you say, but I have to point out that you’d improve your credibility factor by not attaching a misleading headline to your post. You could/should argue that NBC is fighting sexism, really, by continuing to value Hill as a performer and spokesperson. Why don’t you point the finger at Youtube which is renowned for its adolescent commentary?

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