“I’m not the only 36-year-old woman who doesn’t have children,” Cameron Diaz says in USA Today. “In all aspects of my life, most of my friends don’t have kids. It’s not uncommon.” Sorry Cameron, you do have kids now, or did you forget that you’re playing a mother in your two new films?
Cameron Diaz, with Sofia Vassilieva, plays a mother for the first time on screen.
By now, you’ve definitely heard about Cameron Diaz’s latest film, “My Sister’s Keeper,” which opened this weekend to mediocre reviews
. You’ve also probably heard that the 36-year-old Diaz is — wait for it — playing a mom.
Yes, the same Diaz who gelled her hair with Ben Stiller’s spunk in “There’s Something About Mary”, or who played a kick-ass blonde heroine in “Charlie’s Angels” and voiced Princess Fiona in the “Shrek” franchise. The skinny, blonde, party-girl Diaz who has dated the likes of Jared Leto, Matt Dillon, and Justin Timberlake. And now she’s a movie mommy.
Because of course, in Hollywood, being 36 is almost like being dead. One of “Hollywood’s most delectable pop tarts” has aged out of the realm of youthful beauty (despite the fact that she’s still young) and therefore out of
"I'm not 25 anymore," Diaz told USA Today. Sure, but does that mean she's no longer sexy?
the realm of delectability for directors casting sexier, more sensuous roles. Audiences have moved on from Diaz as the pop starlet of her earlier days (much like Farrah Fawcett’s biggest moments were her days tossing her hair suggestively) and onto the new brightest young barely legal things. After you’re no longer hot but still want to be employed as an actress, what’s left? According to USA Today
, Diaz wasn’t even looking specifically for maternal roles but, big surprise, she was handed one now that she’s over-the-hill in Hollywoodland. Not incidentally, she’ll play a mother in another film, “The Box,”
set for release this October.
In Hollywood, much like the rest of white American culture, mothers aren’t sexy unless they’re divorced or humiliating themselves sexually. Bonus points for the director of a film whose female lead is a woman-of-a-certain age who humiliates herself with a much younger man because her marriage is on the rocks.
Culturally, motherhood robs a woman of her sexuality and throws her into the caregiver role. Woman of childbearing age see their sex appeal wither as the expectations of bearing children become the prime cultural concern. Diaz has stated that interviewers often ask her when she’ll settle down and start raising a family, as if her place as a Hollywood star has served as a mere placeholder for the real work of her life. Women are seen as either sexy or motherly. That’s it. Woe to she who fails to conform to this binary, even though women do it all the time.
For Diaz, the shift from comedic roles to one of motherhood is underscored further by her Hollywood identity as a blonde bombshell, a category whose shelf-life is notoriously short. She’s had moments in dramatic films, such as “Vanilla Sky” and “Being John Malkovich” but, overall, she’s not known for her “serious” roles. Critics applaud her efforts in “My Sister’s Keeper” because she’s “careworn” and “not wearing any make-up.” By the time she’s forty, Diaz will be playing a grandmother on her death bed, comforted by the cutest blonde twenty-year old that is probably a lot like Diaz’s former self.
Check out the movie trailer for “My Sister’s Keeper” below.