Unless you’ve been living offline for the past week, you know that Sandra Bullock was just handed the precious People magazine crown of ultimate achievement: The World’s Most Beautiful Woman. You also know about the media firestorm that followed: What? She’s f*ckin FIFTY, People! Well, we shouldn’t be surprised. It’s common knowledge that tripping over the half century mark signifies the end of f*ckable life as we know it. Just ask Amy Schumer what she thinks—or better yet, watch this hilarious sketch in which she and pals Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Julia Louis-Dreyfus explain the frightful post-fifty female phenomenon.
The fact is, while everything in your body is heading south, you’re surely not at your most beautiful, right? Seriously now. When you’re sweating buckets and in desperate need of a face plump on top and Spanx on the bottom, you can’t possibly compete with the Starlet Next Door and her naturally pouty lips and perky rack. Or can you?
1. BEAUTY HAS NO EXPIRY DATE What does age have to do with it? Beauty is beauty, and time is irrelevant. In fact, it enhances it. We all have our own kind of beauty—inside and out. And then there are those women who somehow magically make heads turn wherever they go. They are naturally stunning, despite, regardless of, even because of, their age. Sandra Bullock is beautiful. Full stop.
2. THE TIDE IS TURNING The Schumer sketch pokes fun at the fact that women turn into Mrs. Claus at a certain age, and there’s great truth to any great joke. Still, we’re buoyed by evidence that the world is learning to toast what women have to offer long past the age of majority. Amazing as it may seem, we got a taste of how the more ripe among us are stepping up and out at the recent Academy Awards. Show me one person who could pull their eyes off Jennifer Lopez and her bodacious bod, and I’ll raise you an Oscar for Julianna Moore.
3. BEAUTY AND GRACE TAKE AGE Being able to make smart choices for yourself and your family and keep your composure while doing it takes what we call grace—and grace is often borne of experience. Watching Sandra Bullock kick serial cheater hubby Jesse James to the curb without any fanfare—quietly with her high-heeled pump on her way to the top—was nothing short of beautiful.
4. SHE’S SO MUCH MORE THAN A PRETTY FACE Being born beautiful by today’s standards is purely a matter of luck. What you’re willing and able to do with what you won in the genetic lottery is another story—and that takes time. Onscreen, this woman has range, and believability. She can play serious, funny, action, romance, whatever it takes, and over the course of her 50 years, she has. We were impacted by so many of her successful films: Speed, While You Were Sleeping, The Blind Side, Gravity—just to name a few.
5. THE DOUBLE STANDARD IS OUTDATED ALREADY While Bullock may be the oldest Most Beautiful female recipient, let’s examine People’s picks for Sexiest Man Alive. By the looks of that plethora of silver foxes—cue Harrison Ford, Nick Nolte, Richard Gere—People’s team of beauty judges has always considered attractiveness timeless, at least when it comes to dudes. And shock of shocks, Twitter never exploded in controversy when they got the nod because everyone knows guys get hotter with age. The outdated view: Beauty only fades at middle age if it’s got breasts. So let’s stop referring to Sandra as Most Beautiful even at 50, shall we?
6. IT’S HARD TO BE A SWEETHEART When you’re in the public eye for long enough, eventually, somewhere down the road, you’re going to get crapped on. You’ll do something stupid, or say something mean, or get caught in a scandal you can’t escape. Not so with this gal. Somehow, she’s managed to live at the top of her game as Miss Congeniality for decades. That’s a huge accomplishment, People. Dammit, that’s Beautiful. So what do you think? Is it time to stop saying ‘she looks good for her age’ and just say Holy Crap, she’s beautiful?