Ms. brand


Male cosmetic surgeons and doctors advising women on how to “age gracefully”?


It’s such an absurd notion that I usually snort with derision and move on.

But there was something so deeply awful, clinical and uncomprehending about this double-page spread in Sydney’s Sunday Telegraph, “Ageing With Grace”, that I read it not once, but twice, to take it all in.


It was one of those times when you pause and ask yourself: Just how did we get here? And how can we make it stop?

“Miranda Wood asks the experts how six well-known faces are fighting time”. That’s what the intro to the article says.  The two “experts” who give their opinion – surgeon Dr. Mark Kohout and physician Dr. Jeremy Cumpston – spin a buck by telling women how to stay ageless. They call it “aesthetic medicine”, as if growing old is condition that can be cured.

And they have just the expensive medical treatment for you at one of their fine and reputable clinics. 

There in the newspaper were the lovely faces of six of Australia’s most-admired women, dissected as if they were just slabs of meat – the contour of their faces, their bone structure, the “looseness” and “discolouration” of their skin – all was up for appraisal.

One model was congratulated for managing to retain her full baby-faced cheeks, “no doubt her beauty will endure over time”. Another for now having flatter cheeks and gaining a “sophisticated look”. Every feature was relentlessly scrutinised: “her breasts were not as high as they once were”; “her eyelids are still nice and high”.

And in what was a compliment (I’m supposing) on the observation of lines on a forehead was this… “she’s human after all”. 

Well how glad I am for that comment, because, until then, one could have been forgiven for thinking that Jennifer Hawkins, Miranda Kerr, Nicole Kidman, Kylie Minogue, Elle McPherson and Asher Keddie were livestock at a cattle-yard sale, or prize hens at a local agricultural show.

No examination here of their remarkable achievements as successful artists, mothers, family members, businesswomen or philanthropists  – just faces examined for flaws according to what these two doctors call “the angle of beauty”.

What a crude and ugly way to judge a woman. (The ideal is 81 degrees between the centre of the chin and the outer edge of the cheekbones, for those of you contemplating the knife.)

Here’s my angle on ageing with grace. Fuck off! 

I never want to hear your opinions on “jaw-dropping grace and class and beauty”, ever again. Because you wouldn’t know it if it bit you on the balls.

This is the woman I admire most in the world… Of course it’s the incomparable Jo Brand.

Jo Brand

Now what would these two aesthetic surgeons have to say about the symmetry of beauty here?

Because what I see is a beauty that is utterly timeless (get your slide rules out, fellas, I dare you). Jo is the woman I’d quite like to be.

She describes herself as “no oil painting” but is sought after to sit next to our Kylie on celebrity TV couches to add to the glamour of the occasion. (Oh, for just a smidge of Jo’s self-confidence. I weep for it sometimes. I truly do.)

images-2I was lucky enough to knock about with Jo for a bit back in the mid-80s when we were both starting out on the stand up comedy circuit in London.

She’d been working as a psychiatric nurse and her decision to pursue comedy was paying off. Back then she was all mad hair, red lippy, Doc Marten boots (she still wears ‘em) and had stood her ground when the men in the audience yelled “Get off you fat cow, you lezzer… Or we’ll kill you!”

I was backstage and in awe of a woman who had taken it all in her stride. Not only was Jo funny as all get out, when she laughed it was from her bovver boots up. She was pure loveliness and kindness and… Well… I just loved her to bits.

Jo Brand’s philanthropic causes are both legendary and secret. Tales of her immense generosity are spoken of in awe. No wonder she’s been named one of Britain’s national treasures.

And on hearing that news she said: “I would rather maintain a decent taint of… national disgrace.”

The superb television series “Getting On”, which Jo co-wrote and starred in, is set in the geriatric ward of an NHS hospital. It’s heartbreaking, uplifting, profound and is one of my favourite TV shows of all time.

Jo won a BAFTA for her role as nurse Kim Wilde (pictured above). “We wanted to capture the sheer quiet desperation of it all,” she said.

Faced with death, appearances are worthless. Jo shows us this – without a shred of personal vanity- in her portrayal of a weary nurse caught up in a bastard system that now calls patients “customers”.

How sad that there’s a sheer quiet desperation for so many women when they look into the mirror as they age. I know of it. On my worst days, I’m one.

Then I remember that the “angle” of beauty is never regular or symmetrical. It’s wonky, askew and cannot be measured or quantified with a surgeon’s calipers, a scale or a high-tech skin analysis. Confidence, humour, compassion, empathy… no so-called aesthetic medical “expert” has come up with a way to implant that yet.

Until they do, I’ll keep laughing … in between shouting obscenities.

I’ve a feeling Jo would be cheering me on.




It’s My Body, For Better or Worse

Body Perfection a New Religion

Hillary’s Naked, Brave Face!

Oprah and Kerri-Anne. A Fable

Earth to Jane Fonda


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  • Reply June 30, 2013


    Didn’t see the Tele piece but I hazard a guess there wouldn’t be a piece like that about men.
    Btw, Jo Brand is fucking awesome!

  • Reply June 30, 2013


    I LOVE Jo Brand. She is so cool. I really think faces get interesting as women age. I’m tall, big and i like to think my padding will ensure I age well! I do struggle with hating my nose and wanting a new one but then I think I wouldn’t be me. It is me.

  • Reply June 30, 2013


    Excellent piece, thank you Wendy! I think aging with grace and class involves the exact opposite of what these “experts” recommend – if only the media and the entertainment industry understood that!

  • Reply June 30, 2013


    Didn’t see the Telegraph piece – lucky me! Thank you Wendy, for restoring a bit of sanity to the topic of women and ageing – there’s a dearth of sensible pieces on this topic…

  • Reply June 30, 2013


    I saw the telegraph piece but, pat on the back for me, I didn’t read it. Fuck that!. More blatant objectifying of women.

  • Reply June 30, 2013


    Thanks Wendy, I plan to continue to age au natural. As a baby boomer I guess I will be one of a pretty big mob so I figure I probably won’t look too out of place .

  • Reply June 30, 2013


    I often miss QI on telly but NEVER when Jo Brand is on! A more beautiful, honest and hysterical woman you won’t find. I’m with you Wendy!

  • Reply June 30, 2013

    Emily C

    Thanks Wendy. You are my hero. Have always loved and admired you from back in the BIg GIg days, to you on radio, and of course on this site. I had been having a brooding couple of days after seeing a photo of myself with some friends and horrified at my weight, massive compared to my friends. So glad to read your article, it snapped me out of the physical obsession worrying what others thought of the way I look. I have so much more to offer. it is so hard as we are judged so harshly in the community if we dont look look a certain way and conform. First step is not to be as harsh on ourselves. Bravo to you for challenging what was in the paper today. You have become a feminist champion. . P.S. I love Jo Brand too. PP.SS. I Admired Julia Gilliard for her intelligence, strength and resilience under intense pressure. It is interesting to watch the difference of the current prime minister’s froth and bubble with no substance back in favour. History will shine through for Julia with what she achieved, not just what the papers made up.

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    I also admire Jo Brand’s wit, and her raw take on the medical system.
    I still deal with students – mainly in the 17-22 year old category. The amount of time and effort they put into grooming and obsessing about truly minute things they see as flaws in their appearance is terrifying.
    One has a two hour morning grooming process before going to uni. Two hours! Every day! For a uni class she could turn up to wearing jeans,a torn T shirt, joggers and mismatching socks and no one would give a damn.
    I suggest extra sleep, volunteering at Vinnies or reading this years Booker prize novel might be a better way to spend 14 hours a week of her life. But she is convinced she is being judged by others and found wanting if she steps outside with full exfoliation, full make up, fresh daily shampoo and blow dry and a cute “on trend” outfit she wastes her money on.
    They go off to uni groomed to within an inch of their life assuming it means they will fit in, be accepted, confer popularity or make them interesting. One had a face cream called Equite or similar – hmm – so THATS where you get equality – in a bottle that cost $70 from a French manufacturer! Clearly I had been looking in the wrong places in laws, policies and procedures. At least she laughed! Humour can cut through and expose ridiculousness.
    Encouraging them to see beauty outside the cookie cutter version is a constant challenge.

    • Reply July 1, 2013

      Wendy Harmer

      Hi Coco. Think you will love this. Very, very soon, we are launching a Hoopla sister site for young women called “Birdee” – written by them and for them. Something beyond the usual stuff and nonsense and exactly in the age group of your students. Look out for it.

      • Reply July 2, 2013


        Hallelujah Wendy – Birdee sounds wonderful. I need all the help I can get. . After years of this increasing trend, I realise they feel unworthy of love or acceptance as they are, yet all are lovely in different ways. I tell them how they may not feel it or see it, but when they are 50 or 60 they will see photos of themselves now, and have this realisation that they had so many wonderful qualities, and made themselves so unhappy for too long, concentrating on supposed physical flaws.
        Sometimes they get it. If a girl has a passion or interest in something external, its the best tool I have to get them to get past this. Without that , I am pushing it uphill with a stick.
        External projects that appeal to their personality, that allow them to experience the unselfconscious flow of being absorbed into to something that makes a difference is a massive help.

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    Due to health problems I have had to find my own value system that is at odds with what society and the media would see as success. I do not have money, property, career, family or Brad Pitt looks or sixpack. According to my father, I am a failure.
    I see myself as a success. In spite of horrific upbringing I have compassion for others and believe in a fair, sharing society. I am kind and try to help others when I can. I do my bit online to spread the message of social justice and a green sustainable future.
    I get so annoyed at how easy it is for the media to influence people, whether it is politically or image wise as this article indicates. Teaching children critical thinking is crucial to overcoming this problem. Help them find their true deeper values rather than be spoon fed shallow values that are playing into a malevolent agenda by those who have some snake oil for sale.

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    Agree koalaburger.

    It’s obviously driven by commercial interests. Only way to make money out of us. Costs quite a bit to keep up with the fashions, get manicures and buy exfoliators. Would add up over a year. Don’t know how young people budget for it all. Could buy a backpack and travel the world instead.

    Crazy when you think of it.

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    My favourites are the women’s magazines that are half full of cake recipes and then half full of weight loss adds. Get you coming and going.

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    I saw this article as well, and admit I skimmed straight over it. The only comment / observation I made to my wife at the time was that it was ridiculous that all of these women being ‘critiqued’ for aging gracefully, were all young and attractive anyway.

    Three of them are models for god’s sake. What’s more, my understanding (at least from my wife) is that most, if not all of them have had some kind of cosmetic procedure anyway. The final observation we both made was “who give’s a shit anyway” . . . . a complete waste of two pages of a major newspaper. But they obviously believe that someone’s reading it.

    And whilst many of you might call me a liar . . . given the choice, I’d take a dinner date with Jo Brand over any of the ladies listed above. She’s a hoot.

  • Reply July 1, 2013

    LInda Watson

    Thanks Wendy. Great piece. Love the comments on here too. I have loved getting older and less attractive by societies standards. I feel far more attractive by my own standards. Frees you up to break other taboos as well.

  • Reply July 1, 2013

    Nel Matheson

    Had a great laugh with Jo Brand! Thanks for putting Monday morning into perspective, Wendy!!
    Now I can start my week with a smile on my aging face, and as Jo so succinctly puts it, fuck it, that’ll do.
    Still smiling.

  • Reply July 1, 2013

    Stella Burnell

    What a joke this article is. The “ageing” women all appear to be about 30 -40.

  • Reply July 1, 2013

    sue ingleton

    Beloved Jo-memorable lines Can I share?
    ‘They always say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach-I always thought it was through his hanky pocket with a breadknife.’
    Another time she was the female offering on the appalling QI.After what seemed hours of penis jokes and male laughter she says; ‘Well this seems to be going well- shall I pop out and make a pot of tea?’ I could’ve kissed the screen!
    Yes, my jowls are hanging low but Jo makes them lift without surgery!
    Thanks Wend,love ya xx

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    I remember seeing Jo Brand on TV in the UK back in the early 90’s and loved her quiet but extremely quick wit. She hasn’t graced tv here as much as I would like, but then, Wendy, I’d love to see more of you! This insipid piece of ‘journalism’ in the Tele, is yet another reason to avoid the MSM.

  • Reply July 1, 2013

    Susan Bowring-Miller

    Thanks Wendy. Fantastic reply if the ‘boys’ ever read it. I’m happy with all my droops and wrinkles……..why the hell would I want to be 63 looking 45. No thanks, I am who I am – and I also love Jo Brand. xx

    • Reply July 4, 2013

      Mr J.W. van Egmond

      THE TROUBLE IS THESE DOCTORS HAVE BEEN FED RELIGION. Simply believing that they are better and like Gods make women look more acceptable to their lust glands.
      They must have had a complex which made them feel that there grand mothers looked like witches something to be afraid of.
      Never accepting that they should know better than most that females from birth are more advanced than males out live us never needing their approach of what we should look like or where their place is. As a leader and the guardian of our offspring.

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    LOVE Jo Brand. Great piece Wendy, thanks.

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    I love you Wendy Harmer & I often quote Jo Brand’s stand up

  • […] Doctors and Cosmetic Surgeons are advising women on how to “age gracefully” or in other words, how to “age in a way that causes the least distress to mens sensitive eyes). […]

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    Don’t read the Daily Telegraph so didn’t see this, thank goodness. Love Jo (and Wendy) and agree with the ‘fuck off’ sentiment.

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    Just for fun ladies, try googling both of the good doctors. Neither of them is that hot that they shouldn’t be using the services they are promoting.

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    Wendy – you are the voice of sanity in this insane world! You, Jo Brand, the other people who posted their thought-provoking comments and anyone else who agrees with telling these money-making cynics to FUCK OFF!

  • Reply July 1, 2013

    Ann McLeod

    Hooray for Jo! And a stab in the gut from the Daily Tele. Put that article up next to the menu turning our Julia into a slab of meat as well and what have you got? A world I wish my little daughter didn’t have to grow up in, and a ruler to measure her self worth by that sickens me. Argh!!!

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    Totally agree. Why is “old” equated with bad, and “young” with good? I’ll be 63 in August and happier than I’ve ever been – I look in the mirror and I see it in my face – joy, courage, wisdom, ability to love, – all improving and all making me look better and better. And talk of courage, I’ll never forget one night in Melbourne – mid 80s – I was with Wendy and a group of friends at a stand up venue – Wendy did an impromptu act, confronting and defying the idiot jeers of drunken louts – I thought then, and I still think: There goes one courageous woman!

  • Reply July 1, 2013

    Moira T

    Wow, Wendy…..fantastic article! It’s so refreshing reading Hoopla in the mornings rather than the crap in most papers. Thanks to you and the team.
    Jo Brand is beautiful and hilarious. Most of the so called ‘beauty’ clones we see in magazines are so obviously not- well, I see them mostly as shallow copycats of each other-boring sameness.
    I’m proud of my lines, lumps and imperfections. I’m 55 and wouldn’t expect to be any other way having lived all my years of experience.

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    Way to go Wendy!

  • Reply July 1, 2013

    Michele Borghesi

    SNAP! Wendy.
    I am SO sick and tired and SICKAND TIRED of it all.
    I ADORE MS Brand also. She is one helluva woman. And yes, “Getting On” is brilliant TV, dripping with pathos and poignancy, brilliantly written and performed, yet still hilarious..
    Oh for us all to be as brave and fearsome as Jo!

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    Wendy, you’re a national treasure! Love you

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    Yeah Wendy – I agree wholeheartedly. And I am sick of being shown botoxed faces and blown up lips as signs of “older women”. I would rather look naturally old than frozen and expressionless!

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    @ KB ” According to my father, I am a failure” charming, the only thing you probably failed in was being born to a supportive and nurturing parent. I wouldn’t waste my time with him. Hang in there.

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    Blood oath, Wendy. Jo Brand is a true talent. Miranda Kerr ageing gracefully? She’s 12! You ARE a national treasure.

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    Meanwhile, there’s a competition running to design a costume for our Miss Universe entrant. “Sigh”… But I’m guessing she’ll only be judged on what she says, right?

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    Sometimes, I feel really despondent about where the world is heading and how we treat each other, then I think of people such as you Wendy, Corrine, Tracey etc who have the guts to take on the mean spirited, tacky and dumbed down media. Long live the Hoopla! PS I suggest you send your article and reader’s responses to the Daily Terror and ask then to stop pinching their ‘news’ story ideas from Women’s Day.

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    Agree Wendy and others above ~ “Getting On” is brilliant~ a mix of sad, funny, biting and clever~ on the trials and treasures of empathetic and angry women workers, sustaining themselves and their values, in a system where they are largely invisible.

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    Great article Wendy, WAY TO GO!!!

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    Hooray for The Hoopla! Helps makes an aging woman like myself feel pretty good. I’m not swayed by the cosmetic crap, but they sure are relentless in shoving it in our faces. Thanks Wendy.

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    The thing that gets me is the implicit disbelief and surprise in the Telegraph article that women can actual look attractive past the age of 40. Do we say “he looks amazing for his age” when we talk about Brad Pit (50) or George Clooney (52) or Colin Firth (53). No. “Phawwwww!” is all that is necessary.

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    These men would hardly know where to start, let alone know anything about class and grace. Class and Grace? In a sentence with Ageing? And then I saw the nominated wax figures and I knew it was a Beginning of Financial Year joke. Let them at least show Madonna, who does look like a fairground stripper(to quote Elton John), or Barbara Hershey who was a great beauty or Priscilla Presley, likewise, who fell for the money-making stories surgeons such as these two chaps, tell. Facial surgery has nothing classy or gracious about it. Meh!.
    Class and grace, for me, are people like you, Wendy, and the hilarious Jo Brand and me, though you can’t see the work I may have had done, and all us other people who have the sense to know the difference between inner beauty and the rest of it. Why don’t they spend that cash on a goat for a village or a well for that village, etc.

  • Reply July 1, 2013

    Annie Also

    Thank you Wendy. Wonderful piece.
    Love Jo Brand. Amazing woman in every sense. Loved “Getting On” (having worked in a similar institution myself)..close to the bone and funny and sad, poignant and surprising.
    No substitute for pure, unadulterated talent and heart.

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    Wendy – thank you so much for another scintillating and profound piece. I work offshore, on an all male facility, and am turning 60 next year. My looks have plagued me all my life causing huge inadequacies etc, however, the older I get and with many thoughts of “going under the knife”, I have managed to remain focussed believing my personality is what is important not my looks. Working with many men also keeps it ‘real’ for me as most of them don’t give a damn once the initial meeting takes place. If a new female turns up there is, naturally, interest, but again personality wins the day, and combine courtesy, respect, humour, and kindness into the mix there isn’t much that leaves me too dissillusioned with myself.
    Also, I too love Jo Brand, seeing women of her age and fantastic personality provides me with strength to stay true and strong, not be swayed by the media hype. Also to remember many of the photos taken of many of the female celebrities are photo shopped to death! Acceptance is the key.

  • Reply July 1, 2013

    Pauline A

    I agree wholeheartedly that appearance is not the be all of anyone’s worth. Unfortunately we are all initially judged on our appearance for whatever reason. Society dictates that we shouldn’t get old therefore this ‘beauty industry’ flourishes and rakes in millions every year.

    I am starting to get ignored in shops that cater for the younger generation and it is really annoying. I’ve pretty much given up with bricks and mortar stores and now shop on line.

    Jo Brand is one funny woman. I love her in the hospital series.

  • Reply July 1, 2013

    Christine Gates

    I love Hoopla – thanks Wendy for telling this media crap heap where to get off – I am so over it all and it is so destructive when women really think this is where life is – ‘aesthetic medicine’ is about money grabbing surgeons and unhappy women who will only continue to be unhappy because they simply don’t get it. So sad because the joys of over 50’s life is so amazing for many of us in our wonderfully ‘natural state’

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    I may get shot down (or torn a new one) for saying this, but when it comes to this kind of article, women really need to think more like men.

    Now, just bear with me for one sec. With the exception of the metro-sexual minority, most of the blokes I know think just like me:

    I buy all of my clothes from the same store and I typically do that once a year

    I have only one product in the shower and I use that to wash my hair, face and body

    I only wear shoes that make me feel comfortable (even if my wife says I look like Jerry Seinfeld)

    I don’t read fashion mags, gossip mags or the social sections of the paper. It’s all CRAP

    I have never once thought about my ‘carb’ intake . . . in fact, I’m not entirely sure what that means

    I cut my own hair (with clippers) so I never have to brush it, style it or use any kind of hair care products

    I would never consider any un-necessary ‘procedures’ of any kind . . . hell, I don’t even go to the dentist

    I realised a long time ago, that a great personality and a good sense of humour will always outlast good looks . . . . lucky for me I have all three !!!

    And finally on a more serious note, I surround myself with people I love & support, and people that love & support me . . . everyone else can rack off

  • Reply July 1, 2013

    Wendy Harmer

    hahhah… whatever suits you Mick ( but you really should go to the dentist) Wxx

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    A friend said in the middle of a conversation on aging, “My skin is like this because I spent a lot of time in the sun.” I realised that I do the same thing. I make excuses for my lines and blotches. We both felt compelled to explain why we had let our faces grow old.

  • Reply July 1, 2013

    The Huntress

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I actually like my face more as I get older. I actually finally feel like I’m growing into myself.

    Oh, I do hope I feel the same way in ten years LOL

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    WooHoo Wendy!

    I was sitting down to lunch in the staff room with female colleagues of mine one day (they were aged between 30 and 55 – I was 46 at the time). I had my head buried in a book and was only half listening. But them the conversation turned to haircuts and how much they paid (apparently none of hem batted an eyelid about dropping $100+) FOR A HAIRCUT!

    I have very long curly salt and pepper hair, and go for up to 18 months without a haircut. I like it like this.

    But then they all started to diss women who ‘let themselves go’. It was all like “oh well, I get my colour touched up at least every six weeks, can’t have that pesky grey coming through now can we? Oh, it just makes people look SO old. How wants that sort of hair? If you really cared about your partner, you’d make a effort)

    The sad thing is that this was not said in malice at me, they were simply discussing amongst themselves how sad it is that women of a certain age, well, don’t age that well.

    The even sadder thing was for a horrifying moment I thought I would burst into tears. I have always had very low self esteem (physically) and to hear that I was apparently not giving a shit about my appearance really stung.

    I ignored the whole conversation but went home just a bit deflated. I asked the long suffering husband what he would think if I dyed my hair. He roared laughing and said I was old enough to make up my own mind, and as much as he would hate it if I truly wanted to cut of dye my hair it was fine. As long as it was to make myself happy, not the rest of society.

    (I do love him for that these moments -as opposed to the moments where apparently he can program computers but can’t program THE WASHING MACHINE!)

    Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and despair. I am getting a chook neck. My ears are getting bigger. I am the fattest and most unfit I have ever been. I have Lupus and can’t wear make up even if I wanted to.

    But then I hear of articles like this (BTW Wendy, thanks for reading that excrement so that I don’t have to. Talk about taking one for the team!) and I think fuck it.

    It is what it is.

    I am getting older. To quote a Mika song “Your wrinkled eyes reflect the joy with which you smile.” That makes it real for me. My daughter said that she loves my laugh lines, for that very reason. Words of wisdom from a 12 year old, who is more confident in herself than I ever was.

    I don’t need surgical intervention, or to spend over $200 to dye my hair (then the inevitable touch ups).

    So guess what cosmetic surgery dudes “I AM THE ONE GROWING OLD GRACEFULLY”

    PS At orchestra the other day, one of the other women said to me “Never cut or colour your hair to fell you have to conform to what is expected. You are rocking the grey look. Suit yourself, no one else” It’s a sad indictment of society that it actually felt so strange to have another woman of the same age validate (?), accept (?). To actually say, you’ve not ‘let yourself go’ and judge.

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    Never bother with the likes of the Sydney Morning Herald; I come to the Hoopla for articles worth reading and this one is definitely worth reading. Thank you Wendy for speaking for the rest of us. LoveloveLOVE Jo Brand and want to be her when I grow up!

  • Reply July 1, 2013

    Iris Lavell

    Yay! Sock it to ’em Wendy! I love this brilliant analysis and also love that show – Getting On with the gorgeous Jo Brand. I think it would have to be one of my favourites of all time too. Thank you for saying what so many of us would have like to say – but oh so much more elegantly.

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    Amen sista!

  • Reply July 1, 2013

    Linda Eggington

    Wendy, what are you doing reading the Sunday Telegraph? You know that never leads to a good place.

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    Annie Lennox – “Keep young and beautiful if you want to be loved.”

  • Reply July 1, 2013

    Kim Louise

    i was so mad, i sent the telegraph an email. women have enough media shit to deal with and then this crap rears it’s 81 degrees of ugliness. how pathetic to have women believe their value lies only in their beauty! how angry am i that i believed this shit at age 25 when i was young and truly beautiful in all the things i’d become over time, but i spent so much of that time cursing my fat belly, small boobs, funny nose and frizzy hair, if i could take my 25 yr old self and tell her stop listening to bullshit i would. and these men, are they perfect? fuck no . . .

  • Reply July 1, 2013


    Oh Jo Brand is so funny and speaks the truth, and so do you Wendy.

  • […] reading: Loved Wendy Harmer’s piece on The Hoopla in response to an “ageing gracefully” newspaper feature that referenced five Aussie […]

  • Reply July 2, 2013


    Hi Wendy, remember when you were on Australian Story and you said something like, “some women might look at poverty in the developing world, and then spend thousands on plastic surgery and think the two have no connection – but they do, don’t they?” I’d always been a fan of yours but you went up in my estimation when I watched that. Anyone thinking of going under the knife, give the money instead to a worthwhile cause and you will feel beautiful on the inside…

  • Reply July 2, 2013


    How right you all are! I also wasted so much of my young life worrying about all my physical faults, which when I recall them were nothing at all. Now my granddaughters do the same thing, and do you think I am able to convince them that they are beautiful? (which they truly are). Of course not. Strangely enough my own daughter (their mother) has never appeared to have this problem – she very rarely wears any makeup, never goes to a hairdresser, never dresses in “fashionable” clothes, and looks and acts amazing for her age, over 50. Maybe that’s partly due to the fact that by the time she was old enough to notice such things, I had settled down to being satisfied with what and who I was, besides not having the money to spend on myself anyway! Nowadays I am told by people I don’t know well that I don’t look anywhere mear my age either – 73. So maybe that’s one of the secrets of staying young – don’t worry about how you look, apart from maybe keeping yourself reasonably clean, and looking after your teeth! And smile and laugh a lot!

    PS – love Jo Brand lots! Wish we saw more of her here.

  • Reply July 2, 2013


    Best things I’ve read in ages. Love it.

  • Reply July 2, 2013


    +1 to Wendy, and everyone here including the males! Silly me thought “ageing gracefully” referred to those who didn’t have plastic surgery. And dear Miranda Kerr is still just out of nappies. How on earth did she get included in an article on ageing females? Very messed up media. Slow news day. 21st century problem, drs looking for more $,or whatever other cliche can be thrown around is very apt. Noticed the photos were of them all dolled up on the red carpet. Who wouldn’t look good with a battery of people, free clothes and jewellery to wear, and money to support it all.

    Several kilos lighter, killer hair, looked pretty good at 25, but didn’t know it. Now decades later, comfortable in my skin, several kilos heavier, dress in my own style that suites me regardless of the prevailing fashion, and get regular compliments, occasionally from strangers. It’s about a real, not fake smile, a real, not fake face, and being comfortable as yourself.

    Give me Helen Mirren, Hilary Clinton, even the Queen and the Queen Mother in her time, and that is more what ageing gracefully is about.

  • Reply July 2, 2013


    Jo Brand’s “Getting On” is on ABC 1 at 11.15pm ~ the final episode. Meanwhile, I do appreciate the skill of plastic surgeons who fix things. I once stepped on a tin can slicing a large amount of skin off the bottom of my big toe, when I was about 12.. It was no fun having my Dad gp sticking a needle into the wound as he winced and screamed at my mother. Thankfully I was referred to a plastic surgeon who performed a skin graft, taking a bit of skin from the top of my foot and sticking it on the gaping wound. He used to do surgical charity overseas too.
    I never really understood aesthetic versions of insecurity~ but I get that flaws in the glass feeling these days but would never opt for anything which hurt like waxing, liposuction or the knife. I really do see beauty in the wrinkles and roundness of other women. Always have, always will. Controlling my own self loathing has moved up several notches with unexpected rejection. It must be something about me? This is a rational question but care on what the correct answer might be. It is a very disempowering state~ self-loathing ,often mediated by what you take notice of outside yourself. Oh, to practice that mindfulness of pfft~ I see it, but I take no notice.

    • Reply July 2, 2013


      Ro…..”controlling my own self-loathing has moved up several notches with unexpected rejection. It must be something about me?”. Been there done that, Ro., feels bloody awfuland sucks the life and spirit out, and it’s not usually about us, it’s mostly about them. Self- loathing is a worthless waste of time, and not earned. You are a great addition to the Hoopla Ro. We don’t always agree on things, but , for what it’s worth, I for one value your input and insight here. A few more self pats on the back are in order for you Ro.

  • Reply July 2, 2013

    Iain Macpherson

    Good opinion piece, Wendy.

    I like to plug into Jo Brand’s view of many things too. She is ALWAYS a good/excellent panelist on chat shows where she is so often capable of stealing the limelight from Hollywood & BBC/ITV stars.

  • Reply July 3, 2013

    Cheryle Beattie

    Loved this article Wendy.
    Love Jo Brands style humour and bloody humanity.
    We are all too hard on ourselves.

  • Reply July 3, 2013

    Carole Lyden

    I must have missed this Wendy, hence my late comment. This article reminds me of the insidious depth of intrusion and power men have exerted over all aspects of a woman’s being since time immemorial. Women only need to see it.

  • Reply July 3, 2013


    My secretary has let me down again (me).
    Jo Brand’s “Getting On” is on this Friday night at 11.15pm, ABC 1.
    Thanks Gloria for your encouraging words.

  • Reply July 3, 2013


    Go Wendy. Fuck off indeed. What a total crock of shit this is and good for you for calling these morons out. I saw the article on Sunday and it made me really angry. Not one bloke in the pictures of course. Older women need to call this stuff out, as do younger women, they will be moving into the older sector soon enough. It’s only ever women they comment on because we seem to listen to and believe the media. What??? Why the hell would we do that. The media is responsible for ousting our first female PM, they picked on her hair, everything she wore, the shape of her body and the long list goes on. Now whether you liked her or not, they never, I repeat never, did that to any male PM. They do this because women let them do it. They do this because we read these bullshit articles then rush out and spend a small fortune of anti-ageing products that do no good at al anyhow. WE need to stop doing this. It seriously is our own fault. Wendy, how much is the anti-ageing market worth in Australia in terms of women’s products. I bet a large fortune, that’s how much.

  • Reply July 5, 2013


    I’m confused, I thought the phrase “aging with grace” was a euphemism for not going under the knife. I guess they are trying to redefine the phrase. Shame on the Sydney paper for running a great big ad in the form of a article at all, let alone one with such appalling content! Then again, that’s one of the reasons I don’t read papers like that – they have no shame.

  • […] women’s bodies. UK comic Jo Brand won a BAFTA for her portrayal of a nurse in a geriatric unit in Getting On – possibly the most “unglamorous” TV series ever […]

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