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Does the 2017 Pirelli Calendar’s focus on older women this year help women be more visible over 50?

Article by Ceri Wheeldon

pirelli calendar 2017

The Pirelli Calendar is renowned for featuring  the most current beautiful young women , so the fact that this year they have taken a totally different direction – with the calendar based on who the photographer, Peter Lindbergh ,  considered to be the best actresses in the world – including Julianne Moore, Helen Mirren, Kate Winslet, Charlotte Rampling, Uma Thurman, Robin Wright and Nicole Kidman. He wanted this calendar to be more ‘real’, more emotional.

I think he has succeeded – the black and white images of all the actresses are simple and stunning.

A positive step forward in the challenging the perception of mature beauty- or so I thought.

It seems that rather than applaud this brave marketing step, Pirelli are now being criticised for setting unrealistic expectations, as ‘real’ women of similar ages couldn’t possibly look as good as the actresses in the calendar. Lots of comments online about the amount of ‘work’ each has had done , how many thousands of shots did it take to get the final images chosen etc, etc.   It’s as though brands cannot win. We criticise them for being youth obsessed, and  then when somebody steps above the parapet and does include older women alongside younger women including Jessica Chastain and Alicia Vikander, we criticise then for choosing women who are too attractive whose looks are unattainable for the masses.

We may never have been as beautiful as these women at any age in our lives, but we all have the option to take care of ourselves and be our best possible selves .  Personally I think it’s great to see the youth obsessed  perception of beauty challenged by such an iconic brand. Placing older actresses alongside younger ones for the calendar, to me way saying that true beauty is ageless.   If Pirelli can take this step then hopefully others will follow.

Let’ hope the tide is turning.


Image: Screenshot of the Pirelli calendar launch


Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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