Bradley Whitford: It’s unfair that men are celebrated for aging while women aren’t

I really enjoy Bradley Whitford. I keep waiting for something that makes me feel bad about that but so far I’ve been safe. He’s outspoken in his political views, but he’s usually on the right side of history. He loves animals and constantly posts photos of his rescue dogs and cat. After his unexpected divorce from Jane Kaczmarek, he found love again with Amy Landecker. They all seem to have found a nice blended balance with their families. Plus, his very public (fake) feud with Josh Molina makes theirs one of the great bromances out there today.

Bradley is currently getting great reviews starring as Ebenezer Scrooge in a touring production of A Christmas Carol. He’s also earned a spot in People’s Sexiest Man Alive issue for the very first time at the age of 62, something that’s not lost on him. Bradley noted that men are “lucky as hell” because they are “celebrated for aging.” But he acknowledged that only men get that treatment and that it’s “unfair” and “crazy.” Yes, Bradley, it is.

Bradley Whitford has been around long enough, in life and in Hollywood, to know that men and women are not treated the same when it comes to aging.

“Honestly, men are lucky as hell,” Whitford, 62, tells PEOPLE in the latest issue. “We get celebrated for aging. It’s unfair and it’s crazy. I remember my mom, who had absolutely nothing to do with show business, would talk about how unfair that is, that men become distinguished and women become invisible. I have siblings and my sisters talk about that a lot. It’s unfair. I have been celebrated for aging, which is bizarre.”

The Emmy winner and Not Going Quietly executive producer, currently starring in a touring production of A Christmas Carol, is a featured player in our annual Sexiest Man Alive issue this year, an event which brought out the actor’s healthy sense of humor during his PEOPLE photo shoot and interview and included many jokes made at his own expense, leaving the crew in stitches.

“This is basically Sexiest Man, Barely Alive,” Whitford quips about his participation, adding that being in our “Dad Bod” act means that he only “kind of cares a little bit” about his physique. “You want to be healthy. You don’t want to be photographed in a magazine.”

[From People]

I hate to make the pun, but this is the age-old story, isn’t it? Men age and get called silver foxes. Women age and are called withered. Men’s physiques go soft and we give it cute terms like Dad Bods and make them desirable. Women are accused of letting themselves go or just flat out called fat. And it’s not just men perpetuating this, I know women who criticize the hell out of their friends for no longer looking 20 (behind their backs, of course. Because they’re ladies, dontchaknow). Or, as Bradley’s mom suggested, women become invisible. Many of us have seen Amy Schumer’s Last F**kable Day Skit. It’s very funny, but cuts far too close to home. And even though I adore Bradley, a man we fell in love with 22 years ago on The West Wing has finally aged into being a SMA. That wouldn’t happen for a woman.

Regardless of the double standard, Bradley’s inclusion is well-deserved. He’s funny, clever and dashing so he absolutely holds his own in the SMA issue. He seems to be relishing in the moment as well, which he should. In the tweet at the top, after trashing Josh Molina, Bradley said he feels bad for his kids because if his dad “was in an issue like this, it would have been extremely painful.” See, I’m doing my kids a favor by staying off all the sexy lists. That’s just the selfless kind of mom I am.




Photo credit: Avalon Red, Twitter and Instagram

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15 Responses to “Bradley Whitford: It’s unfair that men are celebrated for aging while women aren’t”

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  1. oliphant500 says:


    fell in love with him many years ago on the West wing and so happy he’s never disappointed. This has brightened my day :)

    his comment is so true, all that rubbish about how ‘men age better than women’ no, they’re just allowed to age and women aren’t.

  2. TIFFANY says:

    Geena Davis and later Jamie Lee Curtis are just two that I can think of that have discussed this before.

    Remember when Jamie Lee announced she was no longer dying her hair and she did a untouched photo shoot and people thought that she was confessing to murder and proved the point.

    Yeah. Pepperidge Farm remembers.

    • oliphant500 says:

      could not love Geena Davis anymore for her activism on women issues.

      also I just watched the long kiss good night and she is SO GOOD.

  3. Susie Whitt says:

    He was amazing as “the bad guy” on Revenge of the Nerds II!!

  4. detritus says:

    He’s a sneaky lovely man.
    Like he doesn’t make big waves, but everything I’ve seen him say is just, kind and right?

  5. Sally says:

    Ok, I’ve never seen that sketch before and it is PERFECT! Very funny but also very depressing. And agreed on Bradley looking good for a guy who easily could be my father!

  6. Becks1 says:

    One of our friends is a producer on A Christmas Carol! We really wanted to see it but couldn’t make the dates and travel work.

    Of course he’s right about how men age vs women – men are allowed to, women aren’t. I can guarantee you my brothers have never once thought about whether they need botox or should they go to a botox party or anything else. (I know some men get botox etc, but i don’t feel like its part of a normal conversation as they age like it is for women.)

    I’m tracking my gray hairs and thinking about whether they make me look older than I am, my brothers are just like meh, whatever.

    • Lyds says:

      Mid-thirties and I am currently snipping my few-but-growing-in-numbers white hairs at the root so that they don’t grow back all pube-like (from pulling them out). I know the day will come when there are too many for me to snip and it’s time to go to the salon…Oddly for me, there are no grays; it’s stark black or white. Sadly, a part of me wishes I could just get a full head of white now so I can play with it while my face still looks young, like those teens who dye their hair gray. How cool would a white to blue ombré look?

      I get the distinguished/invisible dichotomy but just full disclosure that men in their 60s are pretty much invisible to me right now. I would never notice them if not for the fact that they seem to still believe they command center stage in most social situations. Yes in Hollywood the invisibility is very real but I feel in the real world, that’s the case for both sexes; it’s just that sense of entitlement older men have that forces you to notice them. Also doesn’t apply to all men; I bet many of them would say they feel invisible after a certain age too.

  7. Eurydice says:

    It’s leftover from the times women couldn’t support themselves unless they were married, so it didn’t matter what a man looked like – money made him attractive, a few gray hairs meant he was settled and mature. Women had to be young, healthy and fertile – menopause meant they were dried up and useless. It’s hard to overcome millennia of this history. Women have had the vote in the US since 1920 (in France it’s only been since 1944), but it wasn’t that long ago that women couldn’t take out a loan or buy a house or car without having a man cosign. And it’s only very recently that women have had more control in entertainment and advertising – we’ll be seeing more changes in what is considered beauty in women.

    • Surly Gale says:

      in 1984 with steady reliable income and small son I wanted to purchase a home for us after his dad passed but the bank said for 16 years I paid someone else’s mortgage..consistently..never missed a rent payment.

      It bums me out every time I think of how much further ahead financially I could have been if only…so I do my best not to think about it, but sometimes it still stings.

  8. Lightpurple says:

    He’s a great person to follow on Twitter.

  9. Smalltown Girl says:

    I have had a mad crush on Bradley Whitford since I was 17 and first watch the West Wing and that crush has never wavered.

  10. Traveler says:

    I have deep respect for this man. That photo of him and his dog in the “cone of silence” is hysterical.

  11. moo says:

    Loved him in Handmaid’s Tale and Brooklyn 99!